By Meredith Munk Special to The Herald
We decided to try Alexa’s Cafe in old downtown Bothell on our way to a theater matinee on Saturday.
The cafe, located in a 100-year-old building, has been open since 1995. With construction in the area, we had to watch for the detour to Main Street.
It was quiet outside the restaurant, but the moment we opened the door our senses were filled with the sights and sounds of the bustling cafe: the rumble of conversation, the clinks of Mason jar water glasses and the unmistakable whooshing of an espresso machine.
I counted at least 10 employees — hostess, bussers, servers — all in constant motion.
We were seated and quickly provided menus and icy-cold glasses of water. Hot, strong coffee arrived in large, unmatched, brightly colored mugs.
It seemed to me that everyone was having a good time; I saw lots of smiles. The place is very family friendly. Amid the noise there were no crying or screeching children. Kids of all ages sat at tables coloring and eating pancakes.
The special of the day was apple-spiced pancakes with two pieces of maple bacon ($10.75).
The pancake and French toast section of the menu describe choices as “plain” and “with personality.” The variety included basic buttermilk pancakes, short or large stack, banana, blueberry, lemon poppy seed and cinnamon raisin ($5 to $8) and morning glory (whole wheat cakes filled with crushed pineapple, walnut, raisins, cinnamon, shredded carrots and coconut; $9).
Mom ordered the pancake special, and it had a lot of personality: three thick but fluffy, delicious buttermilk pancakes were topped with apple-pie-spiced chunks of apples. The maple bacon was also delicious.
My husband chose the smoked salmon scramble ($10.95): eggs scrambled with hunks of salmon, cream cheese and dill and topped with Parmesan cheese. He described it as having a substantial portion of salmon which was filling without being over the top. He loved it.
Half orders of the almost dozen choices of scrambles are offered, too. Each is served with roasted country potatoes and your choice of toast ($8.95 to $10.95 for full orders).
The peach oatmeal (bowl $5.95, cup $4.25) with chopped peaches on top, brown sugar and milk on the side, was delicious too, real old-fashioned oatmeal. You could also order oatmeal plain, banana, cinnamon raisin, blueberry and strawberry (in season).
With the pancakes, we ordered an over-easy egg and with the oatmeal, a poached egg. Both arrived exactly as ordered ($1.50).
We enjoyed the colorful paintings on the walls, the original brickwork and the large front window looking onto Main Street.
Coffee was plentiful which was good as we thought it took a bit too long for our food to arrive. When our meals were delivered, my husband’s potatoes were barely warm, but everything else was piping hot.
With a packed dining room, I had to believe that there was a backup in the kitchen. But that was our only issue with the entire meal.
Also on the menu are breakfast burritos (one vegetarian), eggs Benedict or crab Benedict, quiche and plates called Mom’s platter, Dad’s platter and Calico Grub.
We really liked the whole dining experience in spite of what seemed like a wait for our food. We were out in less than an hour.
Next time we go, I think we’ll take our time and enjoy the atmosphere over coffee or try something from their lunch or dinner menus.
Alexa’s Cafe and Catering
10115 Main St., Bothell; 425-402-1754; www.alexascafe.com.
Specialty: American cafe.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Vegetarian options: Yes.