More and more I'm drawn to little cafes — places for some simple food that's prepared well and not too pricey. A place I can relax and chat with a friend over a bowl of thick soup or enjoy a solo coffee with a book for a few quiet hours.
La Cherie Bakery and Bistro (522 Main St., Covington, 859-261-8889) is my new find in this restaurant category. Cheri Wagner and Susan Burnett opened La Cherie in May and focus on something they felt was missing on the south side of the Ohio River: simple, healthy, home-cooked food.
La Cherie's makes all their food from scratch, including their French bread and bakery goods like the Orange Date and Cranberry Almond scones ($1.50 each) we took home for an afternoon snack. The interior is simple in décor with several smaller tables with chrome chairs lining the side wall and a larger table in the front window with a crotchet table cloth, both heirlooms from Susan's family.
One of my favorite things about La Cherie is that breakfast never ends. I'm not one of those people who can get up and eat a big meal first thing, but come lunch time I love a hearty breakfast — so when I stopped by with my folks one afternoon I ordered the Quiche Lorraine ($6.95) and a side of Glier's Goetta ($1.95). Mom went with another morning item: the French Toast with baked apple slices ($5.50). My stepdad selected from the lunch fare a Turkey and Swiss Sandwich with a side of pasta salad ($5.95) and Turkey Noodle Soup ($1.95).
For the most part the owners do hit their mark: The only item that seemed off was the quiche. The crust, which is homemade, had a heavy yeast aroma I found unappealing.
The turkey sandwich, on the other hand, reminded me of those day-after-Thanksgiving sandwiches we made on mom's homemade white bread, slathered with mayo and piled high with fresh-roasted turkey breast. The French toast, also made with La Cherie's homemade bread, was wonderful as well and served with a dainty glass pitcher of warmed syrup.
We were the only patrons in La Cherie that day. This can get uncomfortable in some restaurants, as servers tend to micro-manage a table and rush you simply because they don't have anything else to do.
Our server, however, was charming. Each time something fell out my mom's jacket pocket (which seemed to happen three or four times that day) he quietly set the item on the table at her elbow without disturbing us. We never had to search for him for coffee refills, and he and co-owner Cheri, who is also the baker, chatted without making themselves overly intrusive.
La Cherie made us feel like we were visiting with friends rather than paying customers — a style that complements the menu well.
Note: La Cherie will also open for dinner on Saturday nights starting in February.
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