Wednesday, January 5, 2011

City Light Cafe

Name: City Light Cafe
Location: 254 Washington St., Binghamton, NY 13901
Phone: (607) 723-7430
Cuisine: Sandwiches/Soup
Price: Less than $10 per person

Always in search of a good lunch place, we headed downtown today to check out City Light Cafe on Washington St., just up the road a bit from The Forum, owned and operated by the First Assembly of God church across the street. I'd heard next to nothing about the place and did not really know what to expect.

Located at the corner of Clinton and Washington, parking for City Light Cafe can be found right across the street. The restaurant itself is a huge, beautiful, well-decorated space with seating to both the left and the right. We were quickly presented with menus and I decided to try out the soup of the day (chicken and rice) as well as something called the Montana Turkey Melt consisting of sliced turkey, bacon, cheese, tomato, and ranch dressing on grilled sourdough. Megan got a regular turkey sandwich on rye. She is forever in search of the perfect turkey sandwich and hoped that City Light Cafe could be a contender.

The soup was excellent, very flavorful and rich and much thicker than the standard chicken broth-based soup. I was also impressed with my sandwich; actually, for what it was, it was just about perfect. The ingredients were all really fresh and tasty. It was certainly nothing to get too excited about, and I think another ingredient like avocado would have taken it to the next level. But I cannot complain--I enjoyed the sandwich and it definitely hit the spot.

Megan really liked hers as well, proclaiming it to be better than the turkey sandwich at the Full Belly Deli in Vestal. This is high praise coming from Megan, as the Full Belly is one of her favorite lunch spots in the area. Again, no frills, but just a very well-made sandwich on fresh bread.

City Light Cafe is certainly not perfect. In our opinion, they could do a LOT more with the space, most of which probably does not get utilized on a daily basis. Whether they have the desire and the resources to do so, of course, is another matter. The menu is really very limited as well. In addition to the two turkey sandwiches we ordered, they offer a Reuben, Rachel, BLT, Tuna Salad, and Grilled Cheese, and that's about it (they do have a couple wrap options including a Philly Cheese Steak as well). So if you're looking for an expansive menu with lots of variety like that at, say, the nearby Old World Delicatessen, you're going to be out of luck here. Also, they're only open from 11-2 Monday through Friday for lunch.

If you like a good, no-frills sandwich place, City Light Cafe will definitely be up your alley. It's a great space for a restaurant and I hope they will expand their menu and hours at some point. As it stands now, City Light Cafe represents yet another low-key gem of a sandwich shop that most people would probably really like if they gave it an opportunity. If you are a regular at Escape State Street or the Old World Deli and haven't tried City Light Cafe, I highly encourage you to check it out!

Grade: B+

City Light Cafe on Urbanspoon


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