Well, damnit. I guess they closed down. 😦
There are restaurants in Ellensburg that I hate to love, those I love to hate, and a small handful that I love to love. Valley Cafe is one of the latter. It warrants a more thorough review than this but I’m going to give them some love because I think that they are somewhat overlooked and they deserve attention for what they are doing.
Valley Cafe checks a lot of boxes on my list: owned and operated by a lovely family, historic building with character out the ears, focus on local and seasonal foods, and kick-ass drinks (I was definitely not expecting a rum bar when I walked in for the first time). But, most importantly, the food is really, really good. I ordered one of my all-time favorites, a Reuben sandwich, the first time I ate there and was very pleased. I wish I could remember more about it but it was a close to a year ago and I was a few rummy cocktails in by the time we left. It was delicious though, trust me.
Luckily, I have a better memory of the Cuban that I ate the next time I visited Valley Cafe. The bread was beautifully crunchy, the pork succulent but not greasy, and the cheese didn’t overwhelm the crunch and tang of the pickles and mustard. If you’ve never had a Cuban before and that sounds a little strange to you, just try it. You’re welcome.
Of the other dishes I have tried, the one that really shines is the Puerto Rican pulled pork with rice and beans. While Valley Cafe does many things right, I think it’s at its best when they lean into the owner’s Puerto Rican roots. Food like that just makes me feel warm, happy, and grateful that places like Valley Cafe exist. Stay nice.