I will be the first to admit that I’m something of a food snob. I have no time for chain restaurants; keep your Applebees, you foodie Philistines, I laugh at your lackluster burgers and pasta dishes. I like to imagine myself as some sort of unholy combination of a culinary Indiana Jones and Guy Fieri (sans the sunglasses on the back of my head), constantly on the hunt for the perfect relatively unknown eatery.
To be fair, Fedora Café in Lawrenceville has been around since 1999 and has its fair share of fans; I’ve never been in it when it’s not hard to get a seat. But I’m willing to bet that most College students have passed what might possibly be the world’s cutest café on their way to Princeton without giving it a second look. I just can’t allow that to go on any longer; this place is the Ark of the Covenant of lunch places, serving sandwiches, salads and desserts that are appropriately face-meltingly awesome.
First off, I’m not exaggerating when I say Fedora is the cutest place in the world. (I mean, I guess I am, but I think it’s true, so whatever.) It’s cozy without being too cramped, none of the chairs match, and there’s a mural on one of the walls (all of which are painted a different color). There are giant dragonflies hanging from the ceiling and the light bulbs are hidden inside oversized tea cups. To call the décor “quirky” might be an understatement.
Of course, décor means nothing if the food isn’t up to par. I’ve eaten at Fedora multiple times, for both lunch and dinner, and have yet to have a meal that didn’t cause me to relapse into some sort of Shark Week feeding frenzy. Their sandwiches are available for both lunch and dinner; I would highly recommend both their grilled portobello and their layered smoked salmon sandwiches, both of which are piled so high that it’s hard to bite into (which, as Scooby Doo taught me, is exactly the way a sandwich should be). All sandwiches cost around $7.50 and are served with tortilla chips.
They also have an amazing half sandwich and salad deal, which costs around the same. I usually choose this option, mostly because I like variety and also enjoy eating an absurd amount of food at once. It should be noted that the salad that comes with this deal is gigantic, roughly the same size as their normal salad portions. If you’re lucky enough to go when they offer their apple and butternut squash salad, don’t think. Just order it. You’re welcome in advance.
When I went to Fedora last week, however, I decided to give their dinner menu a shot. I ordered the build-your-own “personal” pizza for $10, choosing pesto, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, artichoke hearts and portobello mushrooms as my toppings. I’ve put “personal” in quotes because this pizza was huge; I’m not one to leave food on my plate, and even I had to take home leftovers. My only complaint would be that it had far too many sun-dried tomatoes on it; but, to be fair, I’m fairly distrustful of tomatoes (is it a fruit? A vegetable? It’s so shady about its identity), so that might just have been a personal issue.
If you only take one piece of advice from this review, remember this: DO NOT SKIP DESSERT. Fedora has a huge assortment of baked goods, all of which are baked on premises. I would most highly recommend the chai brownie; it was probably one of the most interesting chocolate desserts I’ve ever had. I also can’t speak highly enough about their chocolate-covered Ritz peanut butter crackers; I made the mistake of sharing one with my dad, and we had a fairly serious battle over the last bite. (For the record, I got it, but I think he let me win.)