There’s a place in Roslyn that I’ve loved since the first time I ate there. I don’t go as often as I would like because I live in Ellensburg but whenever I do, it just feels like home. That place is The Red Bird Cafe.
Red Bird’s first appeal is that it is without a doubt the most kid-friendly place to eat in the county. The back two rooms contain a number of toys and activities for children so I don’t have to worry about keeping a squirmy kid in his seat while we wait for food and I have the option to linger at a table and actually enjoy my meal or coffee while he plays. I can’t think of any other occasion that I have lingered at a restaurant since becoming a parent over three years ago. As an aside for the my childless readers, no one dislikes rude or obnoxious kids in restaurants more than their parents. Plus, they have reasonably-priced kid’s meals with actual nutritional value.
For all of the above reasons, I would probably patronize the Red Bird Cafe even if the food was just OK but I would annoy my dining companions and grumble about how much better it could be. Luckily, the food is excellent. I can’t tell you my favorite menu item because it would be like picking a favorite child (except that’s a bad example because a three-year old is no one’s favorite child). They have the best sandwich menu around and the salads are very, very good. It’s the kind of place where you can have a filling but healthy salad and a cup of vegan soup or you can get a no-fats-barred cheesesteak. It’s the best kind of place.
Most of The Red Bird Cafe’s offerings are standards with a twist that sets them apart. The BLT, for example, is served on a house-made croissant and is so much better for it. There’s a reason almost no one makes their own croissants: it’s because they’re freaking hard to do right. Red Bird seems to do everything right. The Glondo is a pretty basic sandwich but the assortment of cured Italian meats from Glondo’s in Cle Elum make it exceptional. I could go on but I think you get the idea.
It would be a shame to pass up this opportunity to declare my love for Glondo’s Sausage Company and Italian Market in Cle Elum because I feel like not enough people know about them. Their cured meats are insane and the hotdogs made me realize that I like hotdogs. Try the take and bake pizzas too. Actually, try everything.
Back to the Red Bird Cafe. I know some people around here roll their eyes at restaurants catering to special diets but I think it’s always a smart move as long as it’s done in way that doesn’t compromise the food. My favorite example of this is the corned BEET reuben that Red Bird offers in addition to the usual pastrami version. Y’all know I love a reuben and I’m certainly not a vegetarian but I order the beet reuben as often as pastrami because it’s its own beautiful creation that just happens to be vegetarian. Many of their other menu items are naturally or can be made vegan, vegetarian, or dairy free, including the scratch-made pastries. Or you can get a big, cheesy, beefy cheesesteak. There’s something for everyone.
I have only tried their breakfast once and it was when the menu was brand new so it was at least a year ago. I remember it being good but a little rough around the edges. I imagine it’s been refined since then but I can’t confirm. I’ll let you know when I do.
In summary, I like the Red Bird Cafe; it’s my favorite place for a well-priced lunch…probably in all of Kittitas County. It seems to be flourishing since changing ownership last year and I couldn’t be more pleased.
The Red Bird Cafe
102 E Pennsylvania Avenue