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Baby-on-Board Review: Su Van's Cafe and Bakeshop

By Elizabeth Shapiro in Food on May 16, 2007 5:00PM

Su%20Van%27s.jpgChicagoist wants to like Su Van’s Cafe and Bakeshop on Lincoln. In terms of kid-friendliness, the place ranks pretty high with an accessible bathroom (but no changing table), plastic-topped tables, high chairs, friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere. They’re even a few doors down from our favorite baby store. Sadly, however, Su Van’s food doesn’t seem worth the trip.

Su Van’s has a variety of sandwiches, separated into categories by main ingredient such as tuna or turkey, a selection of chilis and a daily soup special. They even have a brief kids’ menu, with a handful of sandwiches ranging from a turkey panini to a creation called the “Elvis.” We tried their Oompah chicken sandwich for lunch, a dish for $6.50 that channeled the Mediterranean with its dill and oregano.

Rubber%20Chicken.jpgThe chicken itself was rubbery, which is a deal breaker when we can head out to any of the corner burger joints that Chicago is famous for to get something better and possibly cheaper. While waiting for our chicken sandwich, we noticed a delicious looking picture of oatmeal and bananas attached to a review touting Su Van’s breakfast. We heard they had great coffee, so we were willing to give the place another try.

When we arrived with our baby on a weekday morning, excited for the promised tasty treats, we asked for their breakfast menu. Our waiter, confused by our request, said that they had stopped serving a full-blown breakfast on weekdays due to a lack of interest. In fairness, we were the only ones in the place for the half hour we dined there. They offered only one sandwich, which looked good in print, but wasn’t in person: the Eggspresso had a huge mess of steamed eggs, sprouts, mealy tomatoes, and unmelted shredded cheddar all in piles on our plate. Were we supposed to construct our own sandwich? We found this a bit tedious while trying simultaneously to amuse our child. We caught ourselves lustily staring at the Starbucks across the street. The worst part? Our waiter told us that Su Van’s doesn’t brew decaf. Not just in the mornings, but at all during the weekdays. We know you caffeine addicts are rolling your eyes, but this version’s vital for nursing and expecting moms.

Our waiter promised us that the place was “completely different” on the weekends. Their brunch menu did look appetizing, but if the food during the week was any indication, we won’t even bother, with or without our kids.

Su Van’s Cafe and Bakeshop is on 3351 N. Lincoln. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon-Fri, and it opens at 9 a.m. on Sat-Sun.