If you've gotten tired of food trendiness, a new downtown morning joint is perhaps the best antidote to froufrou concoctions. Ettamae's Cafe, on Second Street between Clay and Leigh, is “back to basics, with home cooking,” owner Laura Morand Bailey says. “Remember corn muffins? Meatloaf sandwiches? We make our own corned beef hash and great potato salad. We're hoping people will get hip to that.”
Bailey and her brother, chef Matthew Morand (formerly of Du Jour, Hermitage Grill and the 2300 Club, with some New York City stints), named the cafe after their late grandmother, Ettamae Rivers, and decorated the former On Rye deli with muted pastels and enlarged photos of the restaurant's namesake. Her Canadian roots are honored with traditional savory tea biscuits and butter tarts in the pastry case.
The two-level, 35-seat cafe with balcony serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday, and offers boxed lunches and delivery; Facebook and Twitter update the menu specials daily. Expect to see a local-foods emphasis, as Bailey was manager of the Byrd House Market for two years. “We're really behind Jackson Ward and we believe in foot traffic,” Bailey says, with high expectations that downtown workers will appreciate a relaxed and friendly new place with old-fashioned flavor. 522 N. Second St. 888-8058. ettamaescafe.com.
Pho starters: Friend or Pho is coming to the former White Dog space at 2329 W. Main St. New owner Robert Kaplan of Lucky Buddha says he's creating an Asian gastropub that will serve Vietnamese, Korean and Thai-influenced food, with 20 beers on tap and a number of specialty bottled brews, and a lengthy wine list. The business will serve daily from 11 a.m. till 2 a.m. when it opens later this summer. Watch this space for details.
Austria at Acacia: Local foods, expertly prepared by chef Dale Reitzer and crew, meet their Austrian wine matches at a miniwine dinner July 28. Three courses with wines go for $35 per person, a dining deal by any standard. Call 562-0138 for details and menu items. acaciarestaurant.com.
Time for tomatoes: Savor in Manchester celebrates the tastes of summer with two tomato-focused dinners July 23 and 24, 6:30 p.m. for $45 per person. Reserve with credit card at 527-2867. savorcompany.com.