Many — maybe most — restaurants that existed in Boulder when I moved here in 1988 are gone, and another is about to close. Marie’s Café, a breakfast and lunch institution, is shuttering on November 30. Thirty-five years is a long time for a family-run operation. Dolly and her late husband (whose last name I never learned) opened this simple café on North Broadway, and she and her son Andrej still run it — at least for a few more days.
Built on a foundation of German and eastern European specialties, Marie’s is an old-school café known for hearty portions in a low-frills setting. The walls are painted cinderblock. The tables are bare. The crockery, glasses and flatware are simple. The decorations run to framed pictures of European cities, castles and scenery, with painted flowers over the big front window. People go for the house-made food and friendly, efficient service — not for hipness on display.
The breakfast menu is mostly classic American favorites — pancakes, eggs, breakfast meats and the like — plus the large kolacek, an incredibly filling central European sweet bread and the morning house specialty. Lunch is where the European roots really come out. The menu is composed largely of sandwiches, plus a rotating special of the day — Monday, Goulash; Tuesday, German Bratwurst with home fries and sauerkraut; Wednesday, Chicken Paprika with dumplings; Thursday, and Chicken Schnitzel with potato salad, and Friday, Pork Chop with Dumplings. The special is just $9.95, a price blast from the past. And one week from now will be the last.
When a family decides that three-and-a-half decades in a demanding business is enough, everyone is sad and nostalgic, but no one can possibly be surprised. Thanks to Marie, her family and her staff for years of good food and good memories.
Good start to the day at downtown Anchorage breakfast spot
Snow City Cafe, which sits on the edge of downtown Anchorage, is known city-wide for its Benedicts, its omelets and its stuffed French toast. And for opening at 7:00 on weekday mornings. And for servingthose fabulous breakast items until it stops serving food eight hours later. And for good coffee and espresso drinks, available for an hour after the kitchen closes. And for art on the walls. But mostly, it is known for being welcoming to all. I saw lawyerly-looking men in suits, not surprising since the courts are within a few blocks, but I also saw guys and gals with tattoos and piercings — and neither style seemed put upon by the presence of the other.
The cafe occupies a prominent corner, with large windows and a lot of elbow room at the tables and broad counter. I’ve been in New York City kitchens that are smaller than Snow City Cafe’s booths.The food is fresh and is sourced from local vendors when possible, and that’s quite a trick in Alaska. They bake in-house (the sticky buns are legendary) and also offer an assortment of vegan, gluten-free and heart-healthy options. And half-orders are available on many items for lighter appetites. Thanks to quality, consistency and variety, Snow City Cafe has raked in annual awards for best breakfast and best brunch, which is no surprise to anyone who has started the morning at one of those spacious tables or broad counter and forked into generous portions of food.
Price check: Eggs, omelets and Benedicts, $6.95-$14.95; French toast and pancakes, $7.95-9.95; oatmal, fruit, granola, etc., $5.95-$8.95; baked goodsm $2-$4.95. They also serve lunch; sandwiches including salad, soup or Alaska Thunder Chips, $7.95-$12.95.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news. For address of any restaurant, click on the Zomato icon at the end of the post.