A light blue exterior with some striped awnings set Stardust Cafe apart from the row of buildings along E Washington Street.
My first impression wasn't great, though. It was just a few minutes before open, but there was bustle inside, and the door was unlocked, so we opened the door. We were quickly shooed out, them explaining they weren't open yet. Well, one easy way to prevent that is to keep your door locked until you're ready for people to open it. That didn't make me feel very welcome.
We waited for about five minutes and tried again. This time we received more of a warm welcome. The tables are kind of a mish-mash of shabby chic - repurposed doors as tables, eclectic gatherings of chairs at tables with a mix between playful light blues, white and wood. A very cool, relaxing, yet upscale vibe to this place. It embodies shabby chic.
Our server was super friendly, running down their list of specials and her own recommendations upon request. One of the best waitresses I have had, ever. Really personable, accommodating, sweet and friendly.
The menu had a small history - the restaurant opened in 2005 and the name is a nod to a woman previously ran the restaurant as well as the owner's mother. While she initially wanted it to be a sleepy family-run coffee shop, with her daughter Sparrow running it and her twin brother "The Crazy Baker" making pastries, it instead became a gathering places for high quality food and ingredients.
Speaking of, the waitress did mention they have their own lettuce grower. How. Cool. In fact, much of their menu is locally sourced meat and produce. The lunch menu had sandwiches and salads. A top seller, the naked burger caught my eye: bun-less, grass fed beef, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, sweet red onions, bread 'n butter pickles and their homemade blue cheese dressing.
Our waters were refilled by an old wine bottle filled with water, so I could refill my small glass as often as I wanted. Score for me.
When our food came out, Brittany was enamored. She repeatedly said her salad was one of the best she's had in years.
My plate was also pretty great. It was essentially a deconstructed burger plate, so I made rounds picking up pieces of each item to combine for the perfect bite. Everything was very fresh, and even though it was a burger, it was kind of light. And, it's beautiful. My only gripe was that I was really looking for that element to bring it all together. The blue cheese dressing was nice, but it was a bit too runny for me. I was hoping for something a bit creamier, a bit thicker.
But really, it's pretty incredible.