Food: () Generous servings of home-style breakfasts and lunches, locally sourced.
Service: () The cafe’s lone server keeps it fast, friendly and efficient.
Atmosphere: () Tiny room has six tables with miniature flags and country radio.
Location: 323 NW Sixth St. (at Cedar Avenue), Redmond
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
Price range: Breakfast $6.99 to $12.99, lunch $8.99 to $14.99
Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Kids’ menu: On request
Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Eggs and salads may be requested without meat
Alcoholic beverages: Limited full bar
Outdoor seating: Partially covered patio seats about 30
Reservations: 24-hour notice for weekend dinners
For more area restaurant reviews, visit www.bend bulletin.com/restaurants
Redmond’s Cozy Café is indeed cozy. But like the tiny Chihuahua that’s not afraid to challenge a Great Dane, this little restaurant casts a large shadow.
Occupying a tiny house on southbound Sixth Street near the heart of the city, the cafe squeezes six tables, seating 22 guests, into its intimate dining room, with a private six-top in an adjoining space. In warm weather, a partially covered street-side patio doubles the capacity.
It’s a well-kept space that reflects the patriotism of Deschutes County’s second city, where American flags line the main streets on such holidays as Veterans Day. Indeed, miniature flags stand on each table. A country music track plays in the background. A display stand offers free Bibles.
Owner-chef Jim Jacobs took over the restaurant in September 2015 after answering a Craigslist advertisement. The previous owner, he said, had burned out after about six months on the job — “so I bought it from her and have been doing it ever since. It’s a labor of love.”
He does it so well, he often has lines out the door waiting for tables.
No doubt, that’s because the home cookin’ is good, and the portions are very generous.
On my first breakfast visit, rather than buttermilk pancakes or a build-your-own omelet, I stayed with the country theme and ordered a chicken-fried steak ($12.99). I was not disappointed: My order filled a large plate.
The meat, breaded and deep-fried, was covered with a delicious house-made gravy with chunks of sausage and bacon. Two eggs, over easy, came on the side, and a half-plate of hash browns.
Now, I did find the ground chuck to be a bit gristly, and the breading to be thicker than I might have preferred. The potatoes were a little greasy. But the delicious, house-made gravy — “my grandma’s recipe,” Jacobs confessed — more than made up for other deficiencies, and the bottomless cup of Farmer Brothers coffee was strong and perfectly brewed.
I only know I couldn’t eat this way every morning or I’d be wearing a belt two sizes larger than I do.
The everyday lunch menu features burgers, toasted sandwiches and a couple of salads, including a “berry and nut extravaganza” with or without chicken. But the weather was cold when I made my midday visit, and the daily chili cheeseburger special ($10.99) was looking good.
The menu said it came with fries or salad, and I requested a salad, only to be told the salad was gone. As it turned out, the house-cut, skin-on fries were a good choice.
But the main course was the star of this show. Two beef patties were served side-by-side on an open bun from Big Ed’s Artisan Bread. The beef-and-pinto bean chili, with chopped red onions and chunks of tomato, was scooped generously on top. It had just the right amount of bite.
Jacobs gave longtime server Jenny Dodge credit for concocting the day’s chili. “She came with the cafe,” he said. Indeed, her friendly and speedy service is one reason patrons continue to return.
‘Fresh and local’
Jacobs said he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and studied at a culinary school in his 20s, but instead of working in science or food, he wound up owning a Bend mattress store. Still, he said, his dream of someday owning a restaurant was never far from his mind. He was considering a food truck when the Craigslist opportunity presented itself, and “I wound up jumping straight in.”
“Everything I do is fresh and local,” Jacobs said. “I keep the menu really small so everything can be scratch. It’s local produce, Oregon beef, Eberhard’s Dairy.”
He also caters to the local community, offering a 15 percent break to senior citizens on Wednesdays and free chili to veterans on their special holidays.
While the Cozy Café is primarily a breakfast-and-lunch diner, Jacobs offers house-smoked tri-tip and chicken dinners on Friday and Saturday nights with 24-hour reservation notice. And on Dec. 9, he’s taking that a step further.
“We’re offering a benefit dinner to support 31 foster children,” he said. “Bring a gift, valued at $20 or more, for children ages 1 to 16, and we’ll give you dinner, complete with salad, baked potato, bread and dessert.”
— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at email@example.com .