The Small Street B&B Cafe in Pittsboro
My friend Rebekkah and I went to a favorite lunch spot on Friday: Small Street B&B Cafe! In Pittsboro, “The Small” is at the corner of East Street and (conveniently) Small Street – it’s a block from the Chatham County Courthouse (with a newly-restored, shiny copper roof!).
The Small B&B Cafe has a varying farm-to-fork menu. Lemon Ricotta Pancakes is a “regular” on the blackboard. There is a kaleidoscope of homemade syrups to go with: strawberry, raspberry, peach, blueberry … This finery is usually consumed with pure butter and, if you wish, a side of local farm sausage or bacon. Subtle and luscious and rich – but practical too! If I eat just carbs for breakfast I’m famished in 2 hours. The ricotta adds enough protein to get me to lunch gracefully… especially with a few slices of Fiddlehead Farm Sausage!
There is always a soup and a great salad on the menu. Last Friday it was a spinach salad with almonds, cranberries and feta cheese – and a wonderful warm citrus dressing I just loved! There is always an entree and a stew. The daily menu is posted on their Facebook page every morning. A recent entry:
Small B&B Cafe October 17
Good morning! Us again. Big ole farm scramble today now that we’ve made it through the hotcakes sale of yesterday. I would request that Brendan and Leslie make a point of joining us today with their love of huge plates of veggies. Got ya totally covered. Tons of stuff from the market scrambled with Goat Lady Dairy farm cheese and served with smashed potatoes and meat (if you choose). For lunch we’re finishing off the chicken tacos (damn, those are good) and backing it up with fried baloney sandwiches. Local baloney, homemade pickles and mayo served on wood fired baked rolls. Seriously, folks……seriously. Got curried pork soup for lunch along with a Hungariany (is that a word?) tomato/pepper/paprika stew served with sour cream. Salad is mixed greens with a roasted beet/buttermilk dressing and toasted walnuts and still working on the pastry case. Some Mexican chocolate cake left, but not much, so I’ll ponder that one.
A local, farm-made, fried baloney sandwich? I wonder what good baloney tastes like?
The blackboard menu almost always lists egg or chicken and/or tuna salad sandwiches. There is a sliced chicken breast sandwich too – my choice on Friday. This chicken breast was NOT a previously frozen, rubbery, salty, pre-formed mess! This chicken was wandering around the garden last week – clucking happily. I could tell. I chose sourdough bread, and it came with fresh greens and a bumpy honey mustard – a dressing good enough to eat on a spoon!
Yes! Eggs are on the menu too! Omelets. Quiche. Sunny side up. Scrambled. And the eggs are fresh from farm-happy chickens. There is oatmeal and granola. Bagels. Muffins. English muffins… toast and homemade jams. Breakfast with all the trimmings. There IS a 6-foot-wide banner outside proclaiming “Brunch!” – it’s true!
But what Small Street B&B is really famous for – beyond the lemon ricotta pancakes – is dessert. CAKE. Tortes. Pies. Cheesecake. Puddings. Bread puddings. Remember the first time you had tiramisu? Or tasted trifle? Or picked up your spoon and cracked the caramel shell of a creme brulee? Small B&B desserts are that kind of good. Every day there is something new. Unique. Stellar.
There are a few things I think are missing. Not as a slight. Mostly because my weird-foodness. I can’t eat eggs, peppers, shellfish … how boring! At Small I end up eating the chicken sandwich a lot. It is very good. But I crave a big creamy bowl of chicken and dumplings. Navy beans and ham. Black beans and sour cream with a nice hunk of corn bread. Maybe I am just not visiting on the right days. Maybe I should ask: “Could I have a chicken taco with no salsa and no jalapenos – hold the cilantro?” I start sounding like Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces… It’s much easier to just order a chicken sandwich.
The other thing I find odd is “smashed potatoes” – in place of home fries or hash browns. Red new potatoes, boiled, then fried on one side and smashed. I don’t know why I can’t bring myself to love them. Really? Why not?
So… if all this isn’t enough to drive you crazy until you can drive to Pittsboro, there is the setting itself: a former Methodist parsonage and a lovely garden full of whimsical folk art leads the way to the door (yes – “whimsical folk art” is redundant!) There is a book house on the deck rail – bring a book/take a book. There is a small dining room seating about 30 people inside – with sofas, easy chairs, and odd dining chairs from the thrift shop – with more whimsical folk art dotting the walls.
If it’s warm enough to sit on the patio, two cats may wander by. You can eat breakfast and read the paper until 2:00pm and drink coffee and eat homemade jam on toast under a giant patio umbrella … Isn’t this the way life is supposed to be?
There is also the local scene. Great people-watching: local authors and musicians and vintage shop owners, the founder of Piedmont Bio-fuels, the inventor of Slow Money… and just the plain everyday Pittsboro folks. Dedicated. Earnest. Practical. Known to change the world. Quiet. Intelligent. Gracious.
So. As soon as you can. Go eat a late breakfast and savor every bite … of food and of life. The Small Street B&B Cafe is open Wednesday – Saturday 7:30am – 2pm and Sunday 9am – 2pm
I’ll see you there!