Review: Cafe Patachou


Situated downtown Indianapolis at the intersection of Capitol and Washington, Cafe Patachou brands itself as a “student union for adults.” It is inside the Simon office building and a few blocks from Circle Centre Mall, as well as across the street from the Eiteljorg Museum. I’ve ventured inside the restaurant a many times, even though most of the menu (Broken yolk sandwich with bacon and avocado? What?) is not up my alley.

The cafe itself is half inside, half outside. The outside portion has small white marble tables and thin chairs, the type you would imagine finding outside a place in Paris. The inside has large, wooden tables and comfortable booth seats and plenty of room to wait for your table to become available. The atmosphere is pleasant, from the people to the art hanging on the walls. There is a self-serve coffee area and a small bar area for grab-and-go pastries, cake slices and hot drinks.

The most recent time I went, I heard the devastating phrase, “we’re out of waffles.” It seemed a little strange to me that a place in downtown Indianapolis did not have a sufficient supply of waffles to last the morning before a Colts game, but I asked for the croissant french toast and prayed they weren’t out of that, too. To my relief, my order went smoothly; I even ordered a peach smoothie to go along with my meal (side note: their french hot chocolate is super yummy. I don’t know why they would bother to ask whether you want whipped cream or not – of course you do).

The french toast came out, warm and sprinkled with pecans and powdered sugar. The thing I love about their breakfast is that they come with little fruit cups to help balance out the health defects of pouring syrup all over your first meal of the day. I mostly just hope the majority of the cup has strawberries, and if not, I steal them off the plates of the people I’m eating with.

Don’t get me wrong, the french toast was good. It was cooked well (though a little egg-y in the center), but I just kept dreaming of those light, fluffy waffles. Our waitress was nice and courteous, but it is often a problem getting your waiter/waitress’ attention when you want to pay your bill at the end of your meal. The cafe tends to have better service on their busier days, like weekend mornings. The overall price of the food is relatively expensive in comparison to your run-of-the-mill Denny’s or IHOP, with my french toast ringing in at $8.95 (waffles are $8.75) and my smoothie costing $5.50.

I recommend eating at Cafe Patachou if you enjoy menu options that aren’t available everywhere (like the Overachiever omelette with Indiana bacon, white cheddar, sour cream and horseradish) and if you’re looking for a leisurely meal before a day downtown shopping or going to a game.