Southern fare such as chicken and waffles, and chili, have been some of the most popular items at the Uptowne Cafe & Bakery, which Texas native Adrian Lipscombe opened earlier this month at 1217 Caledonia St.
With a menu that also includes Midwestern dishes, Lipscombe plans to make her business as much of a farm-to-table cafe as possible, by using locally-grown ingredients.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, she moved to La Crosse last September and set about remodeling the former Ground Up coffee shop for her restaurant, and becoming involved in plans to rebrand the Old Towne North area as Uptowne. She also operates her own architecture and urban planning business, Urbanlocity.
Lipscombe, her husband, Christopher Johnson, and son Aidan had lived in Austin, Texas, for five years before moving to La Crosse. The past three years, they owed a bakery in Austin. Their second son, Avery, was born in January.
Lipscombe’s Urbanlocity work had brought her to La Crosse, and she and her husband had been wanting to raise their family in a smaller community.
The cafe that she runs with her husband’s help has coffee and drink, breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch menus, and began offering a dinner menu last weekend. It has nine employees.
The cafe begins the day with its own baked goods such as doughnuts, morning buns, cinnamon buns, muffins and scones, as well as a breakfast menu with such things as ham and eggs, chicken and waffle, French toast, eggs and a waffle sandwich stuffed with cheese and topped with sausage and eggs.
Some of the doughnut varieties that Lipscombe makes include cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, glazed, maple glazed and Nutella.
Some lunch menu items include chicken and waffle, Texas chili, hamburger made with grass-fed beef, chicken salad, and grilled four-cheese sandwich. Some of the most popular soups have been potato, and roasted corn and poblano.
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Brunch served from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday includes such fare as pastrami and eggs, the waffle sandwich, chicken and waffle, French toast, eggs and country potatoes.
The coffee and drink menu includes a variety of beverages (including Southern sweet tea) as well as juices, Italian soda, hot chocolate, milk and five kinds of smoothies. Beer and wine also is available.
The cafe’s Get your Green On smoothie made with almond milk, almond butter, banana, spinach and kale, and its Mango Tango smoothie made with orange juice, mango, banana, lemon and honey have been especially popular, Lipscombe said.
The cafe makes its own chocolate and caramel syrups for coffee drinks.
The new dinner menu includes such fare as chicken pot pie, chicken and waffle, banana leaf beef tinga, puffy pork carnita tacos, empanadas and collard greens. Desserts include such things as sour cream pound cake, banana pudding and fried pies.
“We’ll change our dinner menu about every three weeks,” Lipscombe said, reflecting what’s in season. For example, she said, “I’m waiting for tomatoes to come into season, so I can make fried green tomatoes.”
She wants to get as many ingredients as possible from area farmers for a few different reasons, including convenience, freshness and wanting to give back to local producers. “And in the culinary world, we need to know where our food comes from,” she added.
While Southern specialties account for part of the cafe’s menus, Lipscombe said, “We also incorporate Midwest foods as that is where we are. And we try to have some things that are unique to here.”
Uptown Cafe & Bakery also offers catering.