Location, location, location… This is a restaurant that you have to KNOW is there, or you’d miss it, and that would be a shame.
In the far corner of Crickentree Village, on Johnnie Dodds Blvd is a small restaurant named Five Loaves Café. It has very little signage if any, so keep your eyes peeled. There are two sections to the restaurant, an inside seating area, and a patio (somewhat enclosed) with A/C units. We chose to sit outside, only because at 11:50 a.m. there were no tables available inside.
The patio was dank, and smelled musty. That didn’t deter us as we’ve been there before and the food is usually good. Service started out efficient, but then went downhill. They appear to be using a “team approach” with servers, but there was one specific server (whose name we did not catch simply because it wasn't offered), who took our order.
The café offers a variety of specials and homemade soups every day. It’s billed as a “gourmet eatery”, as the food is rather unique. One of the interesting things about Five Loaves is that you can mix and match your sandwiches/salads. ½ sandwich, ½ soup, “3 small pours” – a soup sampler… Something for everyone. Please note though by 12:10 p.m. there was a line to get in so you might want to get there early to get a seat!
On this particular visit we each ordered a cup of soup to start, one of the specials (Corn and Blue Crab cakes over a salad) and a sandwich. The “Loaded Potato” Soup was fabulous. And even just a cup was very filling. My husband ordered the Mexican chicken chili, and although filled with chicken, avocado, black beans, it was quite bland. Both however were served with a large slice of very good, what appeared to be, homemade bread.
I was a tad nervous when we placed our order as the restaurant was full and no one was eating – a sign that the kitchen might be overwhelmed… Although we were offered refills on our beverages many times, lunch took a very long time to be delivered, just over 30 minutes.
When my salad was delivered the salad dressing on the side was incorrect. I asked the waitress “Is this blue cheese?” She said no. “Let me do some investigating…” She then proceeded to go through EVERY SINGLE ticket she had written and look for our order. (Did I mention that we’d waited a long time for lunch????) “Here it is,” she said, “Blue cheese”, and then proceeded to bring me the correct dressing. It was the last we saw of her.
The pork sandwich that was ordered, “The Parker”, was good. The pork was a little dry, but it was very tasty. Unfortunately, my salad wasn’t as expected. The corn and blue crab cakes were cold and tasted more like hush puppies than crab cakes. The salad is served with whole cashews, a nice touch, but they were stale, very stale. We ate lunch and then waited, and waited, and waited for our served to come back. Another waitress came and removed our plates. I asked her if the crab cakes were supposed to be hot, she said, “Yes, yours weren’t?” I regretfully said, “No”. She asked me why I hadn’t said anything. I told her that no one had ever come by to see how everything was.
Our waitress returned with our check and said, “I’m sorry that your crab cakes were not warm.” I said, “No, they were cold and the cashews were stale.” Just as I said “stale” she almost said it along with me, as if this was a normal occurrence, which I found very odd. She did say that she'd tell the kitchen but it was a little late to save my salad. Hopefully the next person that orders gets it served as it was intended by the chef.
Five Loaves does a lot of very unique things which we were unaware of until we asked. They make their own soups, dressings, use local pasta, beef, chicken, etc. and their ingredients are very fresh and interesting. Although prominent on their website it’s almost a secret within their café.
My last comment is my Pet Peeve #6 – Flowers, planters, planter boxes, etc. If it appears that you don’t care what they look like don’t bother having them. We sat next to a planter with trash, dead plants, in dry soil. It was just a mess. It’s a cramped space, so you are literally on top of he poor plants. And the patio could use a once over. Although not the greatest of lunches, this is one place that I would give another try, not for the décor or service, but for the food alone, which is usually pretty good. But get there early if you don't have time to wait.
We give Five Loaves 3 plates out of 5.