Chatham Cafe

I was excited at the prospect of Chatham Cafe opening in Springfield on MacArthur Boulevard, but a fire in the almost-completed space dashed my hopes for a diner in my neighborhood. With that in mind, I decided to venture over to Chatham to see what the original Chatham Cafe is about.

Chatham Cafe looked like it had been recently given a makeover as the booths, tables and chairs looked new and the walls were freshly painted in a muted grey with tasteful art hanging on the walls. A half wall bisects the space into two sections.
click to enlarge Chatham Cafe
A horseshoe plate.

There were four of us dining; we arrived at noon and Chatham Cafe was already hopping. There also seemed to be quite a few regulars. We appreciated that there were several tables to accommodate larger groups. Seating was generally split equally between tables and booths.

click to enlarge Chatham Cafe
Chatham Cafe has an expansive menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

The menu is quite expansive, with three entire pages devoted to breakfast (served all day, of course) and another three pages devoted to appetizers, sandwiches, salads and burgers, with a final page reserved for dinner entrees. There's literally something for everyone. And if that's not enough, there are also daily specials like Tuesday's deep-fried pork chop, or all you can eat fried walleye as well as daily soups like chicken macaroni and cream of cheeseburger.

After being quickly seated we looked around and saw the generous portion sizes being served, opting not to go with any appetizers. Had we decided otherwise, we probably would have gone with the Pick 3 Combo of jalapeno poppers, fried mushrooms and onion rings ($11.99).

We observed some of our fellow patrons who ordered salads, and again, the portion sizes were generous. The Grecian salad looked very good with all of the onions, green peppers, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, hard-boiled egg, feta and anchovies nicely dressed with an oregano-based Greek dressing ($11.99, with chicken or gyro meat $15.99).

For the health conscious, there are options like the classic low-calorie plate (hamburger patty, cottage cheese, hard-boiled egg and fruit, $12.99), and the traditional tomato stuffed with chicken or tuna salad (with an egg, $11.99).

I am an aficionado of the club sandwich, but only when it's served with actual carved-turkey breast rather than deli-style turkey breast. Chatham Cafe did not disappoint in this regard. The turkey club ($11.99) came with a thick slice of turkey breast and perfectly cooked bacon on white toast. When I crave a club, this is what I want. It was served, like all other handhelds, with a bowl of soup and fries. Tots or onion rings can be substituted for an additional $1, while a tossed salad can be substituted for $1.59. In retrospect, I should have opted for the tots. Although the fries were nicely cooked, they were the coated kind that I don't prefer.

One guest went with the bionic burger ($14.69 – with bacon, mushrooms, grilled onion and Swiss cheese). He decided to choose the tossed salad option. He was happy with both selections, noting that the burger patty itself had a nice char to it. It did look a bit messy to eat, but we didn't hear any complaints. The tossed salad was exactly what one would think of and came generously seasoned with ranch.

click to enlarge Chatham Cafe
Reuben sandwich with fries
My second guest decided to go with the Reuben ($11.99). He was impressed with the sauerkraut (which was drained)-to-corned-beef-and-cheese ratios and also enjoyed the texture play between the melty gooey inside and crispy outside. He also commented that it paired well with the chicken noodle soup, which was reported as well-seasoned and with a healthy amount of chicken and noodles – a sentiment shared among those in the group who ordered it.

My last guest felt like breakfast and decided on the titan omelette ($13.99 – bacon, sausage, ham, green peppers, onions and cheese). All of Chatham Cafe's omelettes are made with three eggs and come with hash browns and a choice of toast or two pancakes. It was a bruiser of a dish and covered about half of the plate. He asked for both the hash browns and omelette to be cooked well-done, and Chatham Cafe nailed it – neither was scorched but rather were nicely browned.

Service was friendly but not over the top. Our drinks were well attended, and our orders came out at the same time. We look forward to having a second location (sooner, rather than later, we hope) in Springfield. If you're planning to visit Chatham Cafe or order out, the menu is quickly accessible on their webpage.