Located inside a historic house in Old Town Keller, Southern Breeze Market Café has a wide front porch, rustic hardwood floors, and a view of the kitchen from the foyer. Charming? Definitely.
For the most part, the café will appeal to ladies who lunch. The elegantly simple dining room is divided into two sections, each with about 10 tables, and is quaintly decorated with lots of floral accents and wood, really driving home the “Southern” aspect.
But there’s also a little edge to Southern Breeze. Grandma’s silver and china have been replaced with disposable paper and plastic products, and the menu, while anchored by old-timey favorites, is still adventurous enough to keep younger people interested.
On a recent visit, the café’s sole waitress took orders on her iPhone, and since the chef was cooking each meal to order, the shortest wait for food was about 30 minutes.
But the wait paid off, starting with the sweet potato biscuits with honey butter and country ham. The biscuits were soft and silken, and the baked ham was sugary and aromatic. The honey butter came in a small container on the side and was sweet but not too sweet, buttery but not greasy. In short, the dish was addictive.
The shrimp and grits were stellar. Large chunks of shrimp swam around in creamy but textured grits. The only problem was the amount of chopped red bell pepper, whose unmistakable flavor tended to overpower the otherwise subtle dish. The bits themselves also added a little too much crunch in what should have been a smooth and creamy delight. However, the peppers gave this version of the Southern staple a welcome kick.
The blackberry chicken salad was scrumptious. The flavors of thick, juicy slices of chicken breast, fresh blackberries, spiced pecans, and goat cheese, all tossed in blackberry vinaigrette, were balanced and made for a light and refreshing but filling meal. The crisp greens mingled with the savory and crunchy pecans, and the cheese and blackberries added depth to this ostensibly simple entrée.
The grilled cheese with brie and apple chutney on focaccia bread turned out to be less thrilling than it sounded. The main problem: not enough chutney. Filled with huge chunks of spiced apple, the preserve was delicious, and more of it could have done wonders to offset the gargantuan quality –– and quantity –– of the brie. Whenever the cheese and chutney were together, they tangoed magnificently, presenting complex bites full of creamy and crisp, sweet and savory.
Each entrée comes with a side, including tangy apple slaw, cheese straws, Caprese tortellini salad skewer, sweet potato biscuits, and a disappointing fruit-and-cheese skewer: just four strawberries and a cube of mozzarella. However, the fruit skewer’s dipping sauce –– a sweet yogurt-based wonder with citrus undertones –– was fantastic.
Watch out for the apple slaw. With zero apple pieces or flavor, it was so sour that two bites were more than enough.
Southern Breeze specializes in desserts, prepared by the owners’ other establishment, the nearby Sugar & Frosting. The chocolate chess pie was light and mouthwatering, with a crisp top layer and smooth, sweet filling.
Nothing on the menu is more than $9, and with such charming prices –– and food –– Southern Breeze Market Café is definitely a destination restaurant, no matter the year on your driver’s license or who you usually lunch with.
Southern Breeze Market Café
138 Olive St, Keller. 817-337-5177. 11am-4pm Tue-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Chicken blackberry salad ….. $7.89
Shrimp and grits casserole .. $8.29
Sweet potato biscuits w/honey butter and ham …… $6.99