The $10 Challenge: Third Avenue Cafe

I love a good sandwich.

Think about the dish’s simplicity – two slices of bread with an assortment of meat, veggies and cheese in between.

Because a sandwich is so easily put together, everyone thinks they can make a great one. Unfortunately, some just fail. The bread is too soggy, the lettuce is limp, the meat is rubbery. It has amazed me how royally some restaurants have flubbed up something so basic.

Third Avenue Cafe is not one of those places. The restaurant, located in Old Louisville, excels at sandwiches and other lunch fare.

The menu is attractive on many fronts. The restaurant serves up a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes, much to the delight of my vegetarian supervisor who introduced me to the cafe. The cooks even have two different fryers to keep vegan items separate from meat products.

I was thrilled on a recent lunch visit to see that all of their sandwiches were less than $9. The cafe also has a great selection of sides that come with your sandwich, including homemade mesquite potato chips, honey mustard cashew coleslaw and basil potato salad. Fortunately, the sandwiches are also served during dinner hours, because the handful of additional dinner entrees start at $11.99. Ouch.

Wanting to sample Third Avenue Cafe’s take on a classic, I ordered the turkey and provolone sandwich with tomato soup on the side, for $8.95.

Behold -- one great sandwich, with a great burger in the background.

The sandwich included some of my favorite toppings: avocado, red onion and that tasty provolone. But the real treat on this dish was the red pepper aioli. At the time, I didn’t know what the condiment was. But after one bite, I didn’t care. The tangy sauce had enough kick to jazz up something. As plain as turkey. And let’s not even talk about the little tango the aioli performed with the avocado. Fortunately, the wheatberry bread that held the sandwich was toasted, so it withstood the aioli slathered on both sides of the bread.

The soup was a good supporting player. The hearty hunks of tomato I discovered throughout the bowl were like little sign posts proclaiming, “Hey, I’m not condensed and from a can. Respect my chunkiness.”

My tummy was full after my lunch. That was also the time I realized that I would have to leave a crappy tip to come in under my $10 limit, the only downside to the meal.

The Stats:

  • Turkey and Provolone Sandwich with side of tomato soup: $8.75
  • Tax: 54 cents
  • My total (with 51 cent tip): $10

Mission: Accomplished (but with crappy tip)


2 thoughts on “The $10 Challenge: Third Avenue Cafe

  1. That place was delish. And so close to our future home. I have a feeling we’ll be making more trips there in the future.

  2. as a longtime server i am appalled at how often you leave “crappy tips” for servers. you do realize that’s how we make our money..correct? we don’t get paid hourly and get jipped on a tip by you, someone who takes up a table that could be used for a customer that may have the decency to at least leave a 15% tip. please, from all the servers that read this blog.. start tipping or stop eating at restaurants. it’s embarassing.

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