Dining at Sidetracked Cafe can be a challenge. Hungry patrons line up outside well before the doors open. We were seated close enough to the hostess stand to overhear one-hour waits, but tellingly, every potential diner said they would happily stay. What causes this demand is that the food is across-the-board excellent and the cafe has astonishingly limited hours. It is open only Sunday from 10:30am to 2:00pm.
The building is a lovingly maintained white clapboard house filled with several small dining rooms. And yes, the railroad tracks run by just a few feet away. There is no set menu, but you can get a sneak peek of what Sidetracked will be offering the day before on its Facebook page. Count on 8-10 meats, a dozen vegetables, and four or more desserts.
For entrees, it was difficult to pass up pepper steak, fried pork chops, and old fashioned pot roast. But what we did order was divine. Laced with onion with a ketchup crown, meatloaf is a thick, slice of classic comfort food. We rarely order chicken and dumplings in restaurants, as the dumplings are often gummy. However these are just right, as are the tender chunks of white meat chicken. Vegetable highlights include creamy mayo potato salad, sweet corn on the cob, and deviled eggs sprinkled with paprika.
Homemade desserts are no afterthought. We were intrigued by a cranberry orange walnut cake with an orange juice glaze. This loaded-with-nuts bundt cake is subtly flavored with gooey citrus icing. Served warm from the oven, peach cobbler arrives in a compact bowl with instantly melting vanilla ice cream running down the sides. To scoop up a portion of that hot/cold combination in each bite is a little bit of heaven. As if two weren’t enough, the menu encourages the customer to ask about “extra desserts”, which is how we also ended up with a slice of coconut pie. Although the coconut custard was borderline too syrupy sweet, the fragile, buttery crust was a revelation.