This blog is devoted to highlighting restaurants of Memphis, Tennessee.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cafe Eclectic

Service with a Personal Touch

I have to give a "thumbs up" to Cafe Eclectic for excellent customer service. I'm specifically referring to the trouble I had in accessing the café's Wi-Fi service and a "tweet" I sent concerning my opinion of one of their servers. With regards to the "tweet," I mentioned that one of their servers didn't seem too receptive of me whenever I visited the café (although this person seemed very anxious to get my "check" whenever it appeared that I finished my meal/drink). Now for me, this wasn't a big deal and in fact was more of an afterthought. That said, a person might ask me "why did you tweet about it?," to which I would reply that it was "a spur of the moment" thing that I did while checking in on Foursquare. Anyway, once Jack, one of the managers at Cafe Eclectic caught wind of this, he immediately contacted me and asked what he could to remedy this. After I expressed my concerns, he told me that he would have a talk with the server about my issues, and Jack's sincerity reassured me that he appreciated my patronage. I haven't dealt with the server since then, but I feel confident that my future encounters with this server will be much better.
As for my Wi-Fi problem, the owner Catherine Boulden personally attended to my problem and reset the café's router several times in effort to fix the problem, to no avail. Later, after I told Jack about the server, I mentioned my Wi-Fi problem and Catherine's attempts to fix it. Jack said that my problem was with my laptop's Wi-Fi software. He then went into my laptop and deleted and re-installed the "wireless" drivers (or whatever it was), which fixed the problem. I was really impressed with this, because most places that have those kinds of problems never go the lengths that the staff at Cafe Eclectic did to fix them. Just on this alone, I highly recommend the café for the great service that it provides.
As for the food, I highly recommend three menu items. The first item is the Diablo Wrap, a spicy combination of chicken, cream cheese, spinach, grilled onions and garlic seasoned with a spicy sauce. Accompanied with a salad, it is very satisfying and filling, and it is HOT (hence the name "Diablo"). The second menu item that I like is the French Omelet, a three-egg omelet filled with spinach, white cheddar cheese and creme fraiche that is absolutely delicious. I usually order the omelet with two pork sausage patties and it is a delight to eat. My third favorite entrée is the NʼAwlins Dog that is a great deal (I talk more about this in the next part of this review). In addition to the aforementioned items, I also like the Home Made Waffles, the Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Panini and the cheeseburger.
In all, Cafe Eclectic is great coffee shop that offers both excellent food and coffee and the staff goes to great lengths to make the customer's experience a great one. After my recent experiences, I will definitely go there as often as I can and I highly recommend others to dine there as well.

More Wi-Fi Problems

Since writing my initial review, I have dined at Cafe Eclectic several times. During most of those visits, I brought my laptop so I could work on stuff like this blog. In just about every visit, my laptop wasn't able to access the Internet. Even on an early morning visit where I and one other customer were the only diners in the café, the Internet was inaccessible. However, my Android-powered smartphone can seemingly get on the Web. I say "seemingly" because even though the phone indicates access, I can't determine where I am actually getting the Internet from.
On December 17, 2011, I went to Cafe Eclectic for lunch, bringing both my laptop and smartphone. Although both were able to access the café's Wi-Fi router, my laptop couldn't get on the Internet. Even though my phone seemingly didn't have a problem, I can't really know for sure if I'm getting the Internet from the cafe's Wi-Fi or Sprint's 3G services. If I ever forget (or too broke) to pay my cell phone bill, I will go back to Cafe Eclectic to see if a 3G-less smartphone can get online via the café's Wi-Fi.
While trying to gain Internet access on that December day, I had the NʼAwlins Dog with Roasted Taters that is a great combination. Usually when I order the hot dog, I get it with potato chips that don’t always satisfy my hunger. However, in going with the Roasted Taters, a mix of chopped russet and sweet potatoes, I had a perfect ratio of entrée to side item. The combination of the beefy hot dog with its toppings of chopped lettuce, tomato, bacon and remoulade sauce with the potatoes blended nicely and tasted great. For a meal that costs less than six dollars (not including the tip), it's one of the best restaurant deals in Memphis.

SIDE NOTE: The cafe's Wonder Dog is pretty good, too!

While I left Cafe Eclectic with a satisfied appetite, I have concluded that the restaurant's Wi-Fi service is unreliable. Although I appreciated the help I received from the café's staff in trying to solve the problem, the obstacles to gaining Internet access are too much to bother with. If this problem is limited to my laptop, then I hope I can solve the problem on my own or with the help of my many IT friends. However, I hardly ever encounter these problems at other places, including Otherlands Coffee Bar where I often go to when I need reliable Wi-Fi access. Cafe Eclectic is still a great place to dine at, despite the flaws in its Internet service.

UPDATE: Recently, Cafe Eclectic's Wi-Fi service has improved and is more reliable. Don't know how long it will last, but I'm hoping for the best.

Overrated!

The chicken pot pie isn't any better than what most grocery stores sell. In fact, the only difference between Cafe Eclectic and the typical frozen pot pie is the crust. Instead of baking it in a pie shell, Cafe Eclectic uses a bowl topped with a thin layer of crust. For me, the crust is the best part of a pot pie so a single layer of it isn't enough. Putting that aside, the content of Cafe Eclectic's chicken pot pie consists of similar things that are in pies made by companies like Swanson and Banquet. Like them, the cafe's pie has chicken, peas, carrots, corn and green beans in a cream sauce that is indistinguishable from the supermarket variety. I'm not saying it's bad but it isn't worth $8.95, especially if I'm not getting all of the best part.
The only reason that I got the chicken pot pie was that my friends recommended it to me. After having a delicious version of it at Rizzo's Diner and blogging about it, my friends told me that Cafe Eclectic's chicken pot pie was just as good. Well, I have to disagree because Rizzos' pot pie had one thing that Cafe Eclectic's entrée lacked: creativity. Instead of following the typical script, Chef Mike's creation has basmati rice, snap peas, red and green peppers and Andouille sausage along with chicken. I assumed that Cafe Eclectic's pie was going to be in the same vein as Rizzos Diner, but its version is an overpriced supermarket chicken pot pie with less crust. Liked I said, it was good but not worth the money that I paid for it. With the cafe making other wonderful dishes, I assumed that its chicken pot pie was exceptional. Apparently it is not.

Website: cafeeclectic.net

Cafe Eclectic on Urbanspoon

LabelsBreakfast, Coffee Shop, Hot Dogs, Midtown, Pita Wraps



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