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Indiana County is no stranger to quaint little cafes and restaurants.
It seems like every couple of weeks, a cafe has closed and another one has opened in its place.
Crouse’s Cafe, which opened its doors Monday, Feb. 3, marks the latest addition to Philadelphia Street’s varied lineup of breakfast and lunch destinations. The cafe is located at 660 Philadelphia St., the former location of Coy’s Grille.
So, how does Crouse’s hold up against Indiana’s other restaurants?
Having been a fan of Coy’s, I was skeptical when I entered its successor for lunch.
As memory serves, the overall look and decor of the place hadn’t really changed much from that of Coy’s.
This was a positive.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with both Coy’s and Crouse’s, the atmosphere is one of simplicity.
There are tables and chairs, with plenty of space between them.
It’s the kind of place that always seems to feel social and public, but you can still hear yourself think.
Since it was about noon and the lunch crowd was all over town, breakfast only seemed appropriate.
Specifically, the Breakfast Special combination, which include: two eggs; ham, sausage or bacon; homefries; and toast, seemed like the best option.
After only a few minutes of waiting – another plus – the eggs over-easy, homefries, white toast and bacon arrived, and I began devouring the $5.49-worth of brunch.
The eggs were exactly as over-easy eggs should be with firm whites and runny yolks.
The homefries were fresh and savory. The toast was cut thick and came already buttered.
The bacon was bacon.
Factoring in the comfortable environment; the prompt, accurate service, and the quality of the meal, the $5.49 (plus tip) was well-spent.
John Crouse, who owns and manages Crouse’s Cafe, said that Crouse’s Cafe and Crouse’s Family Diner in Lower Burrell mainly focus on their breakfast and lunch menus while Theresa’s Royle Allegheny restaurant in Kittanning provides all-day service.
Crouse said he hopes that the focus on sit-down-and-be-served breakfast versus take-out breakfast is what will make this place stand out in Indiana.
“I think our plus would have to be breakfast,” Crouse said. “We push breakfast.”
And, according to Crouse, I’m not the only one who approves.
Crouse said that, so far, customer reception has been unanimously positive, a surprise to even Crouse.
“It’s pretty unheard of for the first week, working out all the bugs and everything,” Crouse said.
And if the quality of their wing dings are any indication, Crouse’s needn’t worry about a sophomore slump in their second week.
I can’t speak to the quality of the rest of the menu, but, considering Crouse’s offers call-in/take-out, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of chances.
Here’s to hoping this quaint little place lasts.
Crouse’s is part of a small, family-owned chain that, with two other locations, has served the western Pennsylvania area for more than 10 years.