I love bakeries, and I love cafes, so Sweet Gipsy Bakeshop Cafe had the potential to double my pleasure as I savored the flavors from this charming eatery on Signal Mountain.
The menu is filled with brunch and luncheon-type fare: sandwiches, quiche, soup, salad, scones and cinnamon rolls. I found it good for a light dinner, too.
The order (for two): Quiche of the day with salad ($4.99), roast beef sandwich with horseradish mayo ($5.99), Sweet Gipsy salad (small, $2.50), chocolate pecan pie and chocolate bourbon pie ($2.25 per slice).
The first thing I look for in a quiche is a homemade crust. This was made from scratch and possibly one of the best I've had in town. The flavors were excellent, with just enough bacon to intermingle with the spinach and cheese.
The salad that came with it was the same as the Sweet Gipsy Salad I'd ordered to go with the sandwich, just different dressings. I had the balsamic with mine; my husband chose the Caesar. Both dressings were made in-house and complemented the mix of fresh greens, dried cranberries, cheese and pecans. The menu stated that it was supposed to have toasted almonds and mandarin oranges, but I didn't find any in the mix.
The sandwich was another winner, though I didn't taste much, if any, horseradish. Fortunately, I had some to add at home for this take-out order. The roast beef was very flavorful and tender.
Dessert was an experience. Once again, crusts were homemade, and that makes such a difference. I don't know which I'd recommend. Both were excellent. And talk about cakes! Italian cream, Salty Sweet, fresh coconut, red velvet and hummingbird will make your mouth water. You can order by the slice to top off a meal, or get a whole cake for a party or other gathering for $32.
Chicken salad is a specialty of the house, something I'll definitely try on my next visit. Casseroles serving six to eight people, such as chicken enchiladas, are available ($25 each) in a freezer case. Box lunches are offered with advance notice.
Sweet Gipsy is off the beaten path in more of a neighborhood than a business district on James Boulevard. It's located in what looks like a former home. The space is very appealing with a large covered front porch for dining, as well as a dining room inside with a few tables. Hardwood floors add warmth.
Your mouth can't help but water as you watch bakers making all kinds of good things behind the front counter, where orders are placed. An ice cream case in the front room gives a feeling of yesteryear.
This is the kind of atmosphere that makes you want to sit and stay for a while, enjoy a good meal and sip on a cup of Illy coffee, the house special, or a glass of iced vanilla-mint tea.
Since I arrived shortly before the 4 p.m. closing hour, I decided on take-out and was quite pleased to arrive home with the correct order in my bag. However, there was a mix-up on my bill. Instead of a $4.99 charge for the quiche, I was charged $5.50 for a breakfast dish.
I wish Sweet Gipsy stayed open a little later in the day. For folks who work downtown, it's a little too much of a drive for a quick lunch. And it's hard to leave work early to get up there by 4 p.m. But if there's any way to do it, do so. Or make it a Saturday drive. This bakery/cafe is a must.