Don’t let the simple “Adams Street Café” name fool you— whatever comes to mind when you consider what lunch should be, standard this isn’t. More gastropub than diner, the Adams Street Café (ASC) offers comfort food with a culinary twist. Think Pork Belly French Toast or Curried Cauliflower, with Head Chef and Owner John Kerstetter instilling flair into recipes honed over 20 years in the restaurant biz, including stints at Cousino’s Steakhouse, The Inverness Club and Perrysburg’s Stella’s.
You can still order a burger— but there’s just one style, and on the menu it’s simply called “Burger,” no muss, no fuss. It’s those simple touches that have made Adams Street Café, which opened last October, feel right at home in the Glass City.
A home on Adams St.
Kerstetter calls his landing spot at 608 Adams St. a sort of “right place, right time” happenstance. “I was downtown and the restaurant that was here before us had just put the [Out of Business] sign in the window,” Kerstetter explained in his easygoing style. “I was looking around the city and NW Ohio [for a restaurant space]— that we ended up downtown is the icing on the cake.” The location, in the former Ranya’s Mediterranean space, put Kerstetter in a prime location to serve the office lunch crowd, his sole focus until he gets his liquor license. “I’m not going to try dinner without a liquor license, I don’t think I’d get too far,” he said.
The menu is tight, pared down to a few key items, but that helps control costs and allows Kerstetter to craft each dish. Each entrée seems perfectly in place, all served on mismatched plates, as part of the motif. A cost-saving maneuver, but also an aesthetic statement, the plates don’t match and neither do the tablecloths. The idea is rustic and unique, said Kerstetter. “The tables we got with the space were not the most attractive. I’m not sure who came up with the idea to have random mismatching tablecloths, but it was a good choice.”
There aren’t dedicated appetizers at ASC, but if there’s a way to start off a meal, it’s with poutine. This Canadian treat of cheese curds and gravy gets the house touch with the addition of short rib, egg and scallions. With plenty of cheese and tender meat, this is hands down the best item on the menu for foodie fans. Technically an entrée, it’s large enough for your party to split up and whet their appetites for what’s to come.
The Peppered Smoked Turkey Sandwich benefits from that overnight smoking. Turkey frequently gets a raw deal for being bland, but at ASC, the turkey is loaded with smoke and pepper, rendering it another must-try. If only Kerstetter was available for Thanksgiving.
Fans of pastrami will dig the Brisket Pastrami on Rye, cured with a nice red ring on the meat that indicates marinated and salty, smoked appeal with every bite.Vegetarians and the health conscious will enjoy the salad and Vegetable Roll options. The entrées are all served with an option of fries, chips or an excellent red cabbage and kale slaw (choose this option and thank us later), and also delivered with a crispy pickle. It’s exactly what you want out of a lunch.
“We tried some different desserts, it proved to be a hard sell with the lunch crowd, but the cupcakes have been the magic formula,” Kerstetter said of the ASC’s single dessert option. Right now, the flavor is Peaches and Cream, with an actual dollop of peach jelly inside the cupcake, topped with a mound of frosting and a gummi peach ring. It’s an eclectic end that terrifically complements a lunch of diverse flavors.
You’ve been hearing the buzz about this place since it opened; we assure you: it is all warranted.
Adams St. Café
608 Adams St. | 419-214-1819