Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hawkman at the Lowry Cafe

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

The Johnny Northside blog already extensively covered the Lowry Cafe opening, but I finally made my way down there twice over the last week or so.  My first trip there was a birthday present from a friend who insisted I try the mushroom and Swiss burger.  Having already proclaimed Good Sports as having the best burgers in NoMi, I needed to see how Lowry's burger stacked up to the competition.

I have to say that...

...Good Sports is still the undisputed champ in my book.  The Lowry Cafe's burger has what seems to be higher quality meat, but the burger at Good Sports was prepared by a better cook.  There's no difference in the fries, and in overall taste, Lowry's burger comes in a close second.  I still highly recommend it though.

I stopped by again on Friday night for dinner and this time had a hankering for the jambalaya.  When I get to the higher-priced items, I have a certain expectation.  The meal needs to be better than what I could cook at home or the preparation needs to be difficult enough to make it worth paying for.  Since I can make a mean jambalaya myself, I wondered how this would compare.

Well, I'm not much for cheese on jambalaya, and I would have made it just a bit hotter (but I do have a rather high tolerance for spicy foods).  That said, the jambalaya at the Lowry Cafe is amazing and definitely worth it.  And whats this?

Take note of the second beer from the end in the first row.  That's Rogue beer, and it's one of the best beers around.  The Lowry Cafe has an impressive beer list and along with Donny Dirk's is the only place in NoMi that sells Rogue.

While I was eating, an employee from North End Hardware came in and we started chatting about how I'd rented equipment from them for various projects in the EcoVillage.  I thanked him for having tools available that helped me take down sign spam, and we shot the bull about hockey and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for quite a while.  This is the small-town feel of life in NoMi that I've come to know and love, and the people at the Lowry Cafe make the trip that much more enjoyable.

If you haven't made your way to the Lowry Cafe yet, what are you waiting for?


  1. Been there twice and been underwhelmed...I feel they still need to work out some kinks. Food is average and boring. Will give it another try in a month or so.

  2. Anon 12:54, agreed more or less. I do try to promote NoMi businesses here. But my two meals I've had have been ones that I can either find elsewhere and better (good sports) or that I could cook as well or better myself (jambalaya).

    But they do offer a quality sit-down dining experience in NoMi, which is sorely lacking, and their beer selection is above average, with good enough food. That's enough to keep me coming back.

  3. So your threshold for a restaurant in Nomi to get a thumbs up is that it has to be better than any other restaurant and/or better and more difficult than what you can cook yourself?

    Pretty high threshold. Especially for a neighborhood with a struggling hospitality market.

    Perhaps you can do Nomi businesses a favor and just stay home so you don't cast some impression that they aren't very good.

  4. Basically, yes. Eating out is far more expensive than preparing food myself, so businesses have to do something to earn that decision from me. That "something" doesn't always have to be better or more difficult food. After all, Victory 44 can run circles around my culinary abilities, but the food is almost TOO fancy and their service is slow. And still there are times I enjoy going there.

    Maybe I'm in the mood for something deep-fried and completely unhealthy, and I might stop at Pappy's. The Olympic Cafe delivers pretty much anywhere in NoMi (unlike Broadway Pizza, although Broadway does have a great menu and a friendly atmosphere).

    In this case, I did mention what Lowry Cafe has that will keep me coming back and what I hope will draw other people there.

    I'm reminded of what the owners of Good Sports Bar & Grill said to me repeatedly right after they opened up. They always wanted to improve, so after a meal they'd ask, "What didn't you like?" Hearing the answer to that question is how restaurants get better.


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