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“Located in Restored Historic Building”
Review of Cafe 121

Cafe 121
Ranked #18 of 127 Restaurants in Sanford
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Broadway, North Carolina
Level Contributor
109 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Located in Restored Historic Building”
Reviewed December 19, 2013

Downtown Sanford, North Carolina, has changed for the better over the past several years largely due to the restoration of historic buildings, and Café 121 is part of that trend. Located at 121 Chatham Street across the street from the old train station, Café 121 offers a nice selection of salads, soups, and sandwiches for lunch. I enjoyed the Strawberry Fields salad with mixed greens, pecans, feta cheese, and strawberries in a light vinagrete dressing and the cream-based tomato basil soup. The venue is a nicely restored building with exposed brick and exposed ceiling beams. Service was pleasant and fast toward the end of the lunch hour. For me, dinner hours are a bit early - from 5:30 to 8:30 - but probably right in line with the local custom of eating a bit early compared to big city preferences. If you are passing by on Route 1 between Southern Pines and Raleigh, this would be a cozy place for lunch if you have time.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Diane W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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69 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sanford, NC
Level Contributor
321 reviews
161 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 244 helpful votes
“Very Good food...okay service...”
Reviewed December 15, 2013

Ate here on a Friday evening with family. It was my first time and others in our party had eaten here on several occasions. The food was very good. I had the Chicken Florentine with baked potato and fried green beans. The food was cooked to order and was seasoned very well. Others had the rib-eye and several of the other sides. Everyone was pleased with their selections. I would certainly not hesitate to eat here again for any of the items on the menu.

However, I would hesitate for the level of service we received. It was slow, inconsistent, and I did not see a single smile from a single member of the staff. We were told early on that there were several larger groups in the restaurant...figured we were told this so we would understand the frazzled looks and lack of detail in filling our glasses, or seeing if there was anything we needed. We had to chase down our waiter on several occasions to get what we wanted.

Generally speaking, I have noted over the years that restaurants that cater to large groups understand that ALL patrons deserve top notch service if the doors are open and they are shown to a table. If you cannot provide top notch service for large numbers of people, determine what level of service you can give for the number of staff you have employed, and only let that number of people through the doors!

So, the food is very good, and the service is poor... I hope such reviews as this will be read and changes can be made to bring the service up to the level of the food... That would make for a fine restaurant in downtown Sanford!

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank NCPirate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
107 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“One of the best restaurants in Sanford.”
Reviewed October 20, 2013

Sadly this restaurant does not open weekday evenings until you get to Thursday and they close early at 8.30 pm. They do open at other times like brunch and lunch, so check their website for details. I did discuss the hours with the owner/chef Greg Hamm and he is considering some changes both here and at his restaurant in Cary. I had a two course dinner here. A tasty mushroom soup for starters and a nice spinach & feta topped grilled salmon dish for my main course, including as one of my sides the restaurants famous sweet potato fries (or chips as we call them in the UK), which were yummy and better than I thought they were going to be. I had an American Craft/Micro beer to wash all this very nice food down. The restaurant certainly is one, if not the best I have been to in Sanford. not just for the quality of food, but the whole ambiance of the place and it was a nice touch the chef coming out to check that customers are happy with their meals.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank caroline0199sky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanford, North Carolina
Level Contributor
1 review
“Charming setting. Excellent Food.”
Reviewed September 5, 2013

A Friend was celebrating a special birthday, and we didn't want to drive out-of-town in bad weather. We were delighted with the menu selections. Each dish clearly reflected the menu description. A subtle belnd of flavors enhanced each dish. A lovely chardonnay complemented the food. We will not wait for a special occasion to return.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank enjay2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level Contributor
266 reviews
131 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 178 helpful votes
“Neat little surprise. Good food.”
Reviewed July 21, 2013

Ended up here for a business meeting because it was about half way between us on a map. From the approach and the exterior, my expectations just weren't that high. Likely the sort of place we would have just driven by were it not our meeting point.

But it turned out to be a nice little restaurant.

The interior is well done... elegant, but not stuffy.

It's a pretty extensive menu, of good food. Lots to chose from, all fairly creative, and many pairings of ingredients one might not expect. Lots of unique offerings. Frankly, it was kind of hard to choose. A lot of thought went into the menu. And, our food were very good. Fresh, quality ingredients, nicely prepared. Generous portions.

Service was fast and professional.

Overall, it's a very good restaurant and a nice little surprise.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Klomo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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