I’ve never been a fan of brunch. Waking up early on a Sunday and waiting an hour for some eggs benedict never had much appeal to me, especially after reading Anthony Bourdain’s harrowing account in Kitchen Confidential. In short, brunch is not my fave.
After dining at Cafe Lift, however, some of my reservations about brunch have been lifted. Located in Philly’s Spring Garden neighborhood, Cafe Lift is tucked among loft apartments and industrial warehouses. On a Sunday morning, the area seemed abandoned except for Cafe Lift, which was bustling with hungry patrons.
The word “funky” certainly comes to mind when describing Cafe Lift’s interior. Contemporary paintings and quirky chandeliers add some fun and liveliness to the otherwise minimalist dining room. Exposed ceilings and floors pay tribute to the area’s industrial feel.
The brunch fare is the real draw at Cafe Lift, where fresh ingredients and attention to detail set the dishes apart. The menu is divided into savory stuff (such as eggs), sweet stuff (with decadent dishes like pumpkin cannoli french toast), paninis, and salads. Since everything sounded so tasty, we had a hard time deciding what to order!
We finally settled on the buttermilk pancakes topped with strawberries and bananas ($7.50), the breakfast burrito ($8.50), and a side of spicy fennel sausage ($3.00). The pancakes arrived under a pile of freshly cut fruit on top, dusted with powdered sugar. The pancakes were light and airy, just the way buttermilk pancakes should be. My only complaint (if you can even call it a complaint) was that instead of butter on the side, they gave us whipped cream. Interesting, and not bad, but not what either of us were expecting.
The breakfast burrito ($8.50) was a behemoth of a burrito filled with scrambled eggs, roasted peppers, mushrooms, sweet onions, and jack cheese. It was served with fresh pico de gallo salsa and homemade hot sauce, which added nice spice to the dish. The burrito was so flavorful, and the freshness of each of the ingredients really shown through. Though it was heavy, I powered through and finished the entire dish, potatoes as well!
The only disappointment of the meal was the spicy fennel sausage ($3.00). I couldn’t taste the spice or the fennel, and it was cut down the center and cooked flat (see above photo, in the back). Sausage, in my opinion, is supposed to be juicy and I thought by cooking it flat, it lost a lot of its flavor.
Our meal ended with the hugest cappuccino ever–and a steal for only $3. Made with La Colombe coffee, a local Philly favorite, it was smooth and frothy, just as a cappuccino should be.
In short, Cafe Lift is sure to satisfy brunch lovers and haters alike with its fresh fare and moderate prices. Weekend mornings just got so much better.
428 North 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Open Tues-Sun 9 a.m.-3 p.m.