Since moving to Northwest Florida, it's been somewhat of a challenge to find decent places to eat out. Although good, there is only so much breaded and fried food I can eat. Other places have good food, but too expensive to eat at on a regular basis. Some places are good but not the most inviting atmosphere. Some places are good but too far away just to run and grab 'a bite' at. And then some places are close by and we really want them to be good, but they just fall short. Or they close early, are only open 3 days a week. What I'm hoping to find is a tasty and reliable place to grab a quick lunch, or a nice dinner, or bring some friends to hang out at. Some place that you can count on being open with consistently good food. Hopefully one day soon we'll find it.
The Mainstreet Cafe is an interesting little place, but I really like it. It's hard to explain to someone and make it sound appealing, but if you come to visit us, chances are, you'll understand. It's actually an old gas station that they 'converted' into a restaurant by adding a bunch of iron cafe tables and chairs. It's on the corner of a fairly busy road. There is an outdoor bar area and a tent for bands to play. And if you can't handle the Florida weather, you can sit inside the 'gas station office' at one of the 5 or so tables under a handful of local art.
Their hand written advertisement of "Free Beer with Burger Purchase" and unusually casual atmosphere is what drew us in. Primarily the free beer. After the first free beer, each additional draft is only $0.99! Bring it!
So going into it, we figured at the minimum we'd try a new place, as strange as it seems, get free beer, and quench our burger cravings. What we didn't know we'd find was fresh, never frozen burgers that are formed into patties per order. Portions are satisfying but not extravagant. You get exactly one potato worth of fries which are cut to order. Everything is very juicy and very fresh tasting. The burger above was the Surf & Turf burger. A juicy burger patty topped with a grilled crab cake, lettuce, tomato, and aioli sauce on a french bun. All of this plus a free beer, only $9.99. Delicious! And perfectly satisfying to enjoy this outside on a Sunday afternoon.
What we have going on here is The 50's burger. While I took a risk at a new burger joint by something a little different with the Surf & Turf, Aaron thought the best way to judge the Mainstreet Cafe is by sampling a basic burger. Topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo and mustard on a traditional bun, it was quickly and satisfyingly devoured. And the sweet potato fries were just as fresh as the regular fries. It really does make a difference when everything is cut to order.
I've gone here since then and I'm sure I'll be going again. They have 17 burgers plus the option to build your own. They also have 8 Burger-less Burgers with things like a crab cake burger, chicken burgers, and fish burgers. If that's not enough for you, you can get bread pudding or ice cream for dessert. All burgers are under $10, and most are only $7.99, you really can't beat it. Not even with a stick. How many places can you think of that you can get a beer and fresh delicious burger for under $10. I can only think of this place.
Nom. Nom. Nom.
I'd go there after I finish typing this, but they aren't open...buuummer...
I haven't done a review in a while, so I'll remind everyone how we rate them. I will list the items ordered and the total bill price (before tax and tip). Each overall dining experience will be rated in 3 categories with a score between 1 (gross) - 1o (glorious):
1) Food, which will take into consideration taste and price (dollar to yum).
2) Atmosphere, the general vibe of the restaurant and quality of service.
3) Presentation, plating presentation and visual appeal of the food.
The Mainstreet Cafe & Courtyard Bar - 6820 Caroline St. Milton, FL
1 The 50's Burger w/ Sweet Potato Fries
1 Surf & Turf Burger