Relish Café initially might remind you of a Cracker Barrel—a Southern country café sans the massive corporate chain feel and the homey rocking chairs out on the front porch. But upon closer inspection, Relish establishes itself firmly as a neighborhood haunt--a place, where if you frequent enough, everybody might holler out your name.
Locally-produced goodies, including Yah’s condiments and Videri chocolates, are set out front in the market area to peruse while you wait for a table. And you very well might find yourself studying jars of Yah’s pineapple salsa given the wait on a Friday night.
The folksy, Dixie-friendly feel is reiterated as you sip on water from a glass mason jar and study through Relish’s menu (displayed in the charming Tempus Sans font no less) The familiar Southern staples are accounted for and would likely approval from the dixie darling herself, Paula Deen: fried green tomatoes, skillet macaroni and cheese, pimento cheese, comeback sauce, and burgers topped with pork barbecue.
Fried avocados with comeback sauce prove to be serviceable: fried crispy on the outside with a gooey, creamy texture on the inside dunked in the creamy, tangy comeback sauce.
Portions in the vegetable plate are hearty, but the flavors in the assortment of local, seasonal vegetables fall flat.
Pimento cheese and a beef patty coalesce in Relish’s Old Southern burger and it’s a messy feat to undertake. The pimento cheese comes slathered on top of the patty that’s tucked underneath a fried green tomato.
Beyond Relish’s congenial approach to fare and service, Relish’s biggest appeal is its affordability, with most dishes falling under the ten dollar mark. Relish won’t break the bank on a night out, which may be especially alluring for a family in search of a local restaurant that serves good-quality food in a friendly and comfortable environment.
What Relish’s menu lacks in ingenuity or innovation, it offsets in its steadfast charm and broad appeal. Relish knows its place as an establishment that serves honest-to-goodness Southern-inspired fare. And in a time of unwieldy, trendy restaurant concepts, a local neighborhood restaurant that’s good, affordable and dependable is certainly something to relish.