The White Dog Cafe Wayne
This post goes to show just how subjective restaurant reviews are. I had wanted to try the new White Dog Cafe in Wayne, but after reading some terrible and mediocre reviews, I was leery. Last weekend, I was looking for a place to take my mother, grandmother and aunt for brunch on the way to a baby shower. The White Dog Cafe was in the right location, so despite the negative attention, we decided to give it a shot anyway.
What a pleasant surprise. Not only were we impressed by the whimsical decor (and none of us are huge fans of dog stuff), we were treated to friendly servers who were knowledgeable about the menu and attentive enough to continually refill our water and coffee without asking.
(Service seemed to be a problem in reviews.)
We were seated in the library where classic books are suspended from the ceiling with invisible wire. On this late winter day, the coming of Spring was palpable, and I can only imagine how gorgeous the garden room will be in a few weeks. The brunch menu is expansive, with plenty of breakfast and lunch items–from small plates to entrees–to chose from. Our table enjoyed classic eggs Benedict, a rich yet light spinach quiche, and smoked salmon carpaccio with diced beets and caper remoulade.
The original White Dog Cafe was founded in 1983 by social activist Judy Wicks in a Victorian brownstone in the University City section of Philadelphia. Wicks has since sold the business to restaurateur Marty Grims, who maintains the West Philly spot and added the Wayne location. In the agreement, Wicks made Grims promise to uphold her sustainable business philosophy: 95% of farm purchases are made from local farms located within 50 miles of the restaurant, organic ingredients come from farms that pasture feed their animals and treat their livestock humanely, seafood comes from sustainable sources, the wine list is all American, they purchase only fair trade coffee, tea and chocolate, and even use only environmentally friendly cleaning products.
So, how seriously do you take restaurant reviews, if you read them at all? Have you ever enjoyed a restaurant that got bad reviews, like I did? Or have you ever hated a place that was raved about? Granted, we ate at the White Dog on a lazy Sunday as opposed to a crowded Saturday night. When we go back for dinner, I might be singing a different tune. But the moral of this story is that you never know what you might like until you try it yourself.