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The Cascade Cafe in Pembroke offers satisfying meals at a fair price.
The New River Gorge sandwich is a triple-decker club with ham, turkey, bacon, Swiss and red onions. Photo by Mary Stafford
The Native sandwich consists of hot turkey, bacon and Swiss melted togher with spicy mustard. Photo by Mary Stafford
The interior of Cascade Cafe in Pembroke. Photo by Mary Stafford
The restaurant sits at the corner of U.S. 460 and Cascade Drive in Pembroke. Photo by Mary Stafford
Thursday, April 25, 2013
The small town of Pembroke in Giles County has long been known for its speed traps and waterfalls. For those looking to grab a bite to eat between hiking and racking up speeding tickets, Cascade Cafe provides satisfying meals at a reasonable price.
Cascade Cafe sits inside the Tangent Outfitters shop, a hybrid retail space that looks like part modern convenience store, part Cabela’s showroom, and part bistro. There is something for everyone at Tangent — fly rods, fuel, outdoor apparel, beer, chainsaw sharpening, kayak rentals or river guide service — one can find it all at this unique destination.
The shop’s busy location on the corner of U.S. 460 and Cascade Drive makes it a convenient stop for both locals and passers-by.
My recent visit to Cascade Cafe followed a Saturday hike to the Cascade Waterfalls with a group of friends. We headed from our hike to the cafe with tired legs and growling bellies.
Upon entering the store, we were warmly welcomed by Steve Phligger, owner of Tangent’s retail operation. Phligger welcomes regulars and out-of-towners with a warm smile and encyclopedic knowledge of the local outdoor scene.
Cascade Cafe, tucked away in the back of the store, offers traditional breakfast and pub food. The cafe’s menu starts with a small breakfast section that includes a variety of basic breakfast sandwiches, plate breakfasts, and French toast. Other menu categories include standard lunch and casual dining fare such as burgers, hot dogs, signature sandwiches, wraps, subs, pizzas, calzones, soups and salads. For dessert, the cafe offers ice cream, shakes and malts. In all, the menu has more than 56 items and six different bread selections for sandwiches.
Some of the menu items at the cafe have New River Valley-inspired names. We chuckled over items such as the “Eggleston,” a bacon, egg and cheese croissant ($2.79) creatively named after a Giles County river town.
The cafe’s casual vibe remained consistent throughout our dining experience. Orders are placed at the back counter and then brought to the table by the kitchen staff. Customers often pitch in with the table busing. Our waitress was attentive and made sure we were well cared for before scurrying to the small kitchen to keep up with the constant stream of customers.
I enjoyed the day’s special, chili beans and cornbread. The beans had a great texture and consistency and a satisfactory amount of ground beef. I added a bit of salt to pull out the flavor and sopped up the remaining broth with the cafe’s sweet, moist cornbread. The portion was satisfying after a long hike, and the price was a bargain at $3.49.
One of my dining companions ordered the Native ($4.59), a sandwich made of hot turkey, bacon and Swiss melted together with spicy mustard. Typically, the Native comes on a warm croissant, but my friend requested the fixings on a sweet wheat sub roll instead. He complimented the flavor of the sub roll with the warm toppings.
Another friend, who is a vegetarian, opted for the 6-inch Lean and Mean ($4.79), a veggie sub consisting of provolone, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, spinach, carrots, red onions, banana peppers, seasoning, vinegar and oil on the sweet wheat sub roll. She described the sandwich as fresh, with fantastic flavor and crunchy vegetables in every bite.
On my second visit to the cafe, I dined as a passer-by, getting my order to go and running in while pumping my gas. I ordered the New River Gorge ($5.99), a triple decker club with ham, turkey, bacon, Swiss and red onions. I asked for extra red onions and washed down the sandwich with a Coke Zero. I enjoyed the bacon on the sandwich, as well as the quality deli meat and the flavorful punch of the onions.
Cascade Cafe at Tangent Outfitters understands its strengths as a convenient, deli-style dining experience with thoughtfulness and simplicity. The menu’s variety offers a better, hand-made option than fast food without the price tag or wait of a sit-down restaurant.
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