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Black Walnut Cafe


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I guess it opened. I keep seeing messages from people I know that they tried it today.

 

The official opening is Thursday, there have been free, private preview meals ongoing, I went yesterday. Had a Blu Cheese burger and it was ok. From what I get from my friends the breakfast was very good. Will have to reserve my opinion until I can try more things.

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I was one of the lucky ones to have gotten a free lunch during their start up. The food was very good. Lots of variety on the menu, and they have breakfast. The atmosphere is definitely a notch higher than most Allen restaurants.

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We tried out Black Walnut yesterday and found the food to be excellent. I had the french dip, my spouse had the pot roast, and were both pleased.

 

The atmosphere is similar to La Madeline, but it's not rustic it's more modern and upscale, almost reminded me of fancy hotel lobby / restaurant or something.

 

You get in line to order your food, wait for them to buzz your order ready indicator that they give you when you place your order, then go and pick it up next to where the cash registers are.

 

It was a bit pricey as for the two meals I mentioned above, and one soft drink it came to $29, and the layout of the restaurant doesn't appear to be well thought out, because the drinks are to the right of where you order, but the seating is to the left.

 

When we arrived at 11:30am there was already a line to order, so you were forced to have to cut through the line of people to get your drink, and pick up your order and there didn't appear to be enough indoor seating for more than 2 people.

 

They had a good sized bar area, and a lounge type area near the front door, but I suspect that most folks would prefer to just sit at a table or booth to eat. Likewise, they had a very large patio which appeared to be pretty full when we left, but I can't imagine it's going to be that popular in another month (June) when the temps start to hit the mid-upper 90's.

 

All in all, i'd give it a thumbs up, someone above mentioned BJ's and I'd say they are both similar, in both price and food quality.

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We ate there this morning. I enjoyed the breakfast sandwich and my wife and five-year-old son shared the French toast. My wife liked it, but when the manager came to ask how we enjoyed the food, my son, who had not eaten but one bite, quickly exclaimed that they serve dog food. We were a little taken aback by that one. At least he enjoyed his bacon even if it was $2.50 for two pieces of it. I thought the other food was reasonably priced, but drinks were a very steep $2.79 for adults and $1.49 for kids.

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Apparently we are in the minority. 4 of us went late Monday afternoon and none of us were happy with our food. First off, I really wanted the Cuban Sandwich and my wife really wanted the Pulled Pork… But surprise, Memorial Day afternoon, 3 days after opening and they have no pulled pork. Big strike right from the beginning. I ended up getting the French Dip and my wife had a Chicken Sandwich. The French Dip had the oddest flavor I have ever tasted on that type of sandwich. Maybe it was the Asiago dressing, but even tasting the meat itself I did not think was very good and was actually pretty generic. I’m not sure what the other couple had but they too were not satisfied but we all agreed that the fries were very tasty. Even the deserts were not satisfying. We had a Sherbet and something that I don’t know even how to say :shrug: . It was very expensive, our 2 meals, 1 drink and 2 small deserts came out to $36. Not the price I want to pay for lunch at a cafeteria style restaurant. Which brings me to another point to which someone commented on earlier. The layout of the place is HORRIBLE. Since it’s café style, you have to wait in line to order. That line goes directly down the center of the room with dining on both sides. When you have that on top of having to get back up from your table to get your drinks, silverware, napkins and finally your food once they buzz you that it’s ready, you have to weave through the people waiting in the line. There were no trays to carry your food (that I could see) so if you have more than 2 plates in your party, you are making more than 1 trip to the line. It baffles me as to why they didn’t make the line and pick up location along a side wall or something or even a table delivery similar to Jason’s. I’m not sure if I will be back, maybe in the distant future, but taking into consideration the sub-par food and the price, I will probably stick with Cotton Patch.

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There was a room full of tables, but as others have mentioned it is on the opposite side of the restaurant from the beverage station. No wait staff - the concept is upscale counter service. It's more like Cafe Express.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So, I have been there and done that and also ordered take-out.

 

In house, I went with my in-laws. My mother-in-law grew up in Cuba, so she and my father-in-law ordered the Cuban sandwiches. They liked them, but said they were not very Cuban, which is to be expected. Allen is not Miami nor Havana. Regardless service was great. I ordered the pulled pork carnito tacos which were very good. My wife and daughter ordered turkey burgers and both said they were great.

 

Today, sans in-laws, we ordered takeout. I again ordered the pork carnitos to share with my wife, my daughter ordered a a fried chicken sandwich and I decided to try the fried pickle appetizer.

 

Again, the carnito tacos were excellent although not ready on delivery. So the rest of the order had to sit for 20 minutes. With that in mind, the fried pickles were good, but a bit limp and the breading was sloughing off. However, the dipping sauce is really, really good.

 

And, the daughter did not get a sandwich. She received instead chicken strips with fries. She did say they were good.

 

All in all I would have to say the quality of the food is good or better. However, it has a large menu and no wait staff and the price point is high.

 

There is a bar, though, which I have not experienced. Buying a drink or a beer with a meal is easy in the sense that you have to order your drink and take a receipt to the bar. It does have a lot of seating.

 

It is similar to Zoe's with a larger menu and a bar.

 

Very friendly and good food, but I think the place would do better with a wait staff.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had lunch with a friend here yesterday. I was impressed with decor and loved the fact that they have a gelato bar, coffee and dessert station. I had a difficult time ordering something on the healthier side so I chose an egg white omelet with veggies. It was really good and had a lot of flavor. My friend had the Sante Fe salad and enjoyed it as well.

 

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My wife and I had dinner there yesterday and I was somewhat underwhelmed. IMO, they need to do one or a combination of things: (1) Lower prices (2) offer more service (at least bring it to your table like Zoe's) or (3) improve the food quality. It's not bad, but it'd not a standout, and with 1 appetizer, 2 sodas and 2 entrees (Cuban sandwich and a burger) topping $40, it just doesn't work (again, IMO).

 

Brad

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  • 2 weeks later...

Agree with Brad

 

Wife and I tried it yesterday and it took 25 minutes for our salad and sandwich to be called. I had to say something. My greek salad was ok at best and my wife's croissant sandwich was good not great. My salad had 2 olives, a couple small pieces of feta and maybe 2 cucumbers. It was more or less a $15 lettuce salad with chicken

 

Total was $28 without drinks and that's crazy. We both agreed with Zoe's, la Madeline, corner bakery and panera part of our normal rotation, I can't imagine squeezing black walnut in. Only thing I can think of is to try the breakfast.

 

 

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Bleu cheese and bacon burger for lunch on a weekday. Pricey but good/very good. Fair value for money, I'd say. They were busy but not especially slow on getting the food out. Menu was busy/cluttered, headache inducing. Not nearly enough parking.

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