Though tucked away near the Greater Binghamton Transportation Center, Alexander’s Cafe & Sweet Endings offers a hearty menu to satisfy Downtown residents’ sandwich cravings, with a special nod to those with a sweet tooth.
The two-year-old restaurant, located on 34 Chenango St., is the brainchild of Endicott native Alexander Nichols, who said he opened up the shop after years of working in the restaurant business. He says the restaurant is focused on having fresh, quick and quality food.
The Restaurant Week menu, which offers a $12 lunch, features a collection of salads, soups and sandwiches for appetizers and entrées, followed by locally sourced desserts.
My companion and I entered around 3 p.m. and sat in the relatively empty dining room, whose walls were covered in pictures of attractions throughout Binghamton and its surrounding area. The restaurant features a funky vintage-diner eating room separate from the open kitchen where Nichols himself helps whip up the meals.
We were brought all three courses at once, and dug in.
For my appetizer, I ordered the broccoli salad: a sweet-and-savory mix of broccoli, craisins, red onions and other veggies tossed in a honey dressing. It was a delicious mix of flavors that went well with the creamy sauce. My date ordered the house salad, which he described as good but only as exciting as the staple tomatoes-onions-cucumber-leafy greens dish can be.
For the entrée, I ordered the Chinois salad, which is a mix of Napa cabbage, red onions, wonton strips, cashews, scallions, carrots and red cabbage in the cafe’s homemade Chinois dressing. The salad was good; it wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but it was hearty and all the vegetables complemented each other. The wontons also provided a satisfying crunch to the otherwise leafy dish.
My companion, however, was enthralled by his selection. He ordered the Greek roast panini, with roast beef, feta, spinach and a garlic aioli, which he described as delicious. Nichols prefaced our meal by calling that dish his favorite out of the selection, partially due to the roast beef that they prepare themselves. He says that they trim, season and slow-roast it for two hours.
Between bites, my date noted how well the warm feta went with the roast beef, which he emphasized was as good and as fresh as Nichols had promised.
For our “sweet ending,” I had the mini cheesecake. I’m not much of a dessert person, but I very much enjoyed the dollop of cheesecake in a soft angel food cake-esque envelope. It was small, but a good palate cleanser. My date had the cherry pie cookie tart, a rich sugar cookie with a tart cherry pie filling, which he enjoyed.
Though Alexander’s Cafe is on the smaller side now, Nichols said that with the growing number of students living Downtown, including the Printing House student residence opening across the street, he plans on expanding the hours to better accommodate students for next semester. Overall, it’s a cute place that is looking to grow, but even in these early stages, it’s worth a Restaurant Week visit.