Lawrenceville eateries spice up Main Street

The most unappealing thing about neighboring Lawrenceville is the gated prep school for the rich and “gifted.”

Still, although it is easy to be put off by high school kids with Vera Bradley bags and Izod Polo shirts, don’t pass up the better qualities of Main Street.

On Route 206, a little bit north of Rider University, there is a strip of affordable and tasty eateries geared toward those who are nostalgic for a small-town atmosphere. Whether you have a craving for a hometown vibe, or your palate is refined to city standards, here are a few places on Main Street you should check out.

Maidenhead Bagel

The maroon awning is nothing special and the simple interior d?cor is not noteworthy, but once you have one of Maidenead’s chewy, flavorful bagels, the humble setting will melt into an afterthought. You can choose from a variety of standard and gourmet bagels, but my personal favorite is salt. Have your bagel alone, with a spread, or as a sandwich with any of the fine Boar’s Head meats.

You might be thinking, “what does the brand of lunch meat matter?” But you will notice that this meat doesn’t have a slimy film on it, unlike the kind served in Eickhoff. Maidenhead also has amazing mixed green salads with a variety of toppings, such as the fattening favorite – macaroni salad – which is better here than anywhere. It has a strong vinegar kick, which I prefer over the kind that makes you feel like you are eating an entire jar of bland mayonnaise.

Really, it doesn’t matter what you choose because everything is delicious and the service is prompt and friendly. The only drawbacks are the interior design and the masses of prep school kids during lunchtime rush.

Fedora Caf?

This coffeehouse and bistro offers a full menu of classic dishes with a gourmet twist, as well as any coffee combo you can think of. Located a short walk down from Maidenhead, Fedora Caf? is a funky, eclectic cafe that serves up moderately priced salads, soups, sanwiches, entrees and all-you-can-eat pasta dishes.

The d?cor is far better than any Starbucks I’ve ever been in. Local artists’ works hang on the walls and guests get to dine on shiny, lacquered tables with, in my case, a leopard print sugar packet container. You can opt to sit in a real chair or have a seat at a table with a couch.

On my trip to Fedora, I ate the make-your-own pasta. I picked capers, artichoke hearts and mushrooms on linguini with lemon sauce. There were a variety of toppings, sauces and pasta types to choose from, these just happen to catch my eye that particular day. When the dish was served, I already felt my stomach bloating with gluttony, and I hadn’t even taken a single bite. To say the least, the portion size is huge. I ended up taking three-quarters home with me to eat for lunch over the next few days. Luckily, it was excellent and I didn’t mind eating the same thing for days on end.

The only problem I had with Fedora Caf? was that the service was a bit lax. I had to wait a long time to get a refill on my water because our waitress was talking to another young waitress about their paychecks and if they should quit or not. Granted, it was a Friday night, and they were a little busy, but what does a girl have to do to get a refill?