On the corner of Spring and Gregory Street in downtown Pensacola sits a carriage house belonging to a Victorian Bed and Breakfast, called the Pensacola Victorian. This charming carriage house is the home of Cottage Café. The cafe may be small in size, yet they serve food that packs a big punch. Let’s just say you won’t leave hungry — and that is the way I like it.
The owners, Barbee and Chuck Major, who hail from St. Louis, are the innkeepers and chefs. Late in 1997, the Majors opened the Pensacola Victorian. In 2004, they opened the Cottage Cafe.
The Cottage Cafe building itself used to be a carriage house that the Majors used as a rental property. They decided they wanted to open a frozen custard shop, and set about trying to find just the right place, but did not find anything they liked. An idea struck Barbee one night, they had the perfect spot just steps away from the bed and breakfast, the carriage house. Some major renovations and what started out as an idea for a custard shop became the Cottage Café as you see it today.
Barbee has over 45 years experience in the restaurant industry. She is taking her knowledge and experience and creating amazing dishes. She is most known for her baked goods, especially her bread puddings.
All of the items on the menu are made from scratch and are original recipes of the Majors. Chuck is no stranger to the kitchen, he smokes his own meats and makes fantastic sauces such as his famous BBQ sauce. They sell their sauces and homemade salad dressing.
When you first approach the location you immediately see the beautiful Victorian bed and breakfast. Behind the inn is a nice, cozy cafe. The patio area is complete with tables, chairs and umbrellas to enjoy lunch in the beautiful outdoor weather. The outdoor seating area is landscaped with plants and trees to make it cool and relaxing.
When you walk inside you notice the quaint-sized dinning area complete with about five sets of tables and chairs. The dinning area is decorated with pictures and antiques. I felt like I was in my grandmothers kitchen waiting to eat. There is a divider wall that divides the kitchen from the seating are, so you can see the cooks as they make you a lunch to remember.
The Cottage Cafe offers a wide variety of menu items such as: sandwiches, wraps, salads, quiches and other lunch items. We started off with their famous BBQ Pork
Sandwich which is slow smoked, southern-style shredded pork, drizzled with their homemade BBQ sauce, on a soft baguette served with potato salad and fruit salad. The BBQ sandwich was both messy and delicious.
We then ordered the B.L.A.S.T. sandwich which is bacon, lettuce, avocado, sprouts, tomato with mayonnaise on hearty whole wheat toast served with fruit salad. The sandwich was a nice fresh sandwich for a warm summer’s day. The avocado melted perfectly into the tomato and the lettuce provide a great cooling crunch, followed by the smoky bacon. We then ordered their Spinach and Feta quiche served with fruit salad and their homemade banana bread. The quiche had perfect balance of spinach, feta and eggs, and their banana bread was nice and moist.
If that was not enough we ordered dessert. Since Barbee is known for her bread pudding, we just had to have one, then we spotted the dessert special of the day, Coconut Custard Pie — we ordered both.
We got the Blackberry Bread Pudding which is served warm and topped with vanilla cream, fresh blackberry sauce and whipped cream. The bread pudding is terrific. It was perfectly moist, not too sweet and very creamy. The Coconut Custard Pie is a creamy coconut custard, in a pie crust, topped with toasted coconut served on top of a warm chocolate sauce. This is one of our new favorite desserts.
The food at the Cottage Cafe is truly an experience. I felt like I was back home at my grandma’s house. There is so much thought, care and love that goes into all of their food. Everything is made from scratch including all of the sauces, dressings and desserts. Just be prepared for not a lot of talking, because everyone will be to busy eating.