It’s in a section of town that steps back in time, with small, single story buildings overrun by the larger houses that have grown up around these structures. Old, in the style of a town center. Still, it’s fashionable these days, repainted and fresh, and in this segue back to the first half of the twentieth century is the City Cafe.

It has an exceptional online reputation for being an inexpensive “meal and three” shop. Lines will form, waiting for seating. According to users of Urban Spoon, it can take as long as 20 minutes to get a meal around lunchtime. So when we arrived about 11:30ish on a Monday just after New Years, I counted myself lucky that only 7 or 8 people were ahead of us.

The deal is this: you basically wait and watch for one of the booths to open up, and when it does, you sit in it. Staff will then come by, clean up and then take your order.

Service is fast and efficient. Prices are dirt cheap. Meal and 3 costs $5.10, and you don’t have to get 3 vegetables.

I wish I could say we had no issues with the food, because so many other components of the experience were appealing. But my daughter had issues with the flavor of her catfish and my wife felt her chicken was a bit too salty. The bigger issue for me was the catfish, which either had an odd spice or was a little old that day. I couldn’t be sure. I had salmon croquettes, and they were good. So, our experience with the entrĂ©es here was hit or miss. Choose carefully. Vegetables were excellent, and made in the southern style.

Verdict: Good sides, hit or miss main dishes. Choose carefully, and you’ll be rewarded.

City Cafe
408 Main Avenue
Northport AL 35476
(205) 758-9171

City Cafe on Urbanspoon