Finally, we found it! The best iced tea ever! “Nice and southern. Sweet enough to make northern lips curl.” At least that’s how our resident sweet tea connoisseur and Picky Peach described it. This icy goodness was waiting for us, tucked away at the eclectic Bleu House Cafe, our fifth stop in the Hidden Gem Restaurant Challenge. This quaint little cottage was constructed in 1908 when the area near the railroad was becoming nationally known for its expertise in cultivating a more productive variety of cotton and the first car manufactured south of the Mason-Dixon Line was being built nearby. Now, over 100 years later, this popular, downtown Norcross lunch spot is known for its fresh salads, generously-sized sandwiches, delectable sides and mouth-watering desserts.
As you approach the entrance, there may be a line of people waiting to get in the door. Don’t let that scare you. It moves fast and we easily found a seat. Just get in the back of the line, you can pick up a menu from a wall rack just inside the door to read while you’re waiting. The daily specials are listed on a large chalk board on the dining room wall. Enjoy the large murals during your time in line. When it’s your turn, just place your order at the counter with the friendly, helpful cashier and find a seat. We suggest that you go on a day when the weather is nice enough to sit outside under the arbor.
Here are a few items we highly recommend:
If you’re a meat-lover, we suggest the Fanelli sandwich. It’s pastrami, turkey, Swiss cheese, 1000 Island dressing and coleslaw, piled on a hoagie roll. Potato salad, made with red potatoes and seasoned with dill, pairs well with this sandwich. We especially liked that the coleslaw and the potato salad weren’t too heavy on the mayonnaise. What we mean by that is that both dishes successfully relied on other things to give them flavor.
According to the menu, quiche selections are made fresh daily, and there are usually two kinds from which to choose. We liked the Spinach and Artichoke Quiche with a side of marinated olives (this isn’t your average side item) .
Cranberry salad is listed as one of the side dishes, and it’s very tasty, but it may not be what you’re expecting. It’s cranberries on a bed of romaine lettuce with walnuts and sweet cranberry dressing.
For vegetarians, and anyone else who wants to eat a little lighter, The Alfalfa wrap is a healthy, refreshing choice. It’s a spinach tortilla stuffed with cheddar, provolone, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, mixed greens and sun-dried tomato spread. Chicken can also be added to this wrap. For your side, try the delightfully-seasoned Vegetable pasta.
Save room for dessert because the luscious 7-Layer Bar is a divine combination of butter, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, sliced almonds and sweetened condensed milk. This heavenly dessert is sometimes called Magic Cookie Bar or Hello Dolly but, no matter what it’s called, it’s so rich that you might want to share a piece with a friend or two. They also have other dessert bars including Praline Brownie, Blondie, Chocolate Raspberry, Peanut Butter and Granola.
In addition to green salads in a variety of combinations, they also have tuna salad, chicken salad, potato salad, coleslaw, vegetable pasta salad, marinated olives, tomato mozzarella salad, marinated vegetables and fresh fruit. In case you need to pick up something for dinner, many of the salads can be purchased by the pound.
All sandwiches, wraps and quiches include your choice of a side dish.
For those with special dietary needs, there are many healthy options on the menu, including vegetarian and gluten-free selections.
Psst–The clean restroom is a single, which we like for privacy. The broken tile mosaic floor gets points with us for creativity in using what you have.
Located in a light blue cottage with darker blue shutters, it’s easy to find and there’s ample parking behind the building.
The Bleu House Cafe, 23 Holcomb Bridge Rd., Norcross, GA 30071
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Closed Saturday and Sunday.
When you go, be sure to tell them you saw it on PickyPeaches.com.
Check in with the Picky Peaches next week to see all the interesting places we found in pedestrian-friendly, downtown Norcross, Georgia. If you’ve never been to Norcross, or if you haven’t been In a long time, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.
Until next time, Love and Peaches!