Next up for the cozy space at 807 N. Orange Ave. is Pearson’s Cafe. Pearson’s takes over from Green Day Cafe, which took over from Virgin Olive Market, which took over from the Daily Grind Coffee house and Cafe.
Pearson’s is a pleasant little cafe, and it appears that perhaps the space has been spiffed a bit since the last time I visited, during Green Day’s short tenancy.
I was heartened when I spotted a meatloaf sandwich on the menu. This neighborhood was once the home of he Lunch Basket Sandwich Shop, just a block and a half away at the corner of Marks Street and Magnolia Avenue. I’m certain the LB had other things on its menu, but I never knew anyone who went there for anything but the meatloaf sandwich. Lunch Basket closed a decade ago leaving the area meatloafless. (It closed before the Orlando Sentinel began thinning its staff, many of whom no doubt kept the lunch spot in business, so that wasn’t the cause.)
So of course I ordered the Pearson’s Meatloaf, which is listed under the heading “Handhelds.” That’s meant to indicate that it is a sandwich and not that you’re in for a very messy meal. I also ordered a cup of Dan’s Chili without fully investigating who Dan is.
Both items were pleasant enough. The chili was hardy, topped with jalapeno slices and cheddar cheese, and well seasoned. It came with a jalapeño corn muffin that crumbled when the paper wrapper was removed (all the better to fold it into the chili instead of crackers). Still, $3.99 for the cup seemed a bit dear.
The meatloaf, which the menu stated was made from scratch, featured a thin slice of the meat between well-buttered and pressed sourdough bread slices. The loaf also included caramelized onions and smoked tomato chutney. The flavors were quite good, but there was something mealy about the texture. Upon closer examination I saw big clumps of bread in the meatloaf. Maybe scratch a little of the filler next time.
Pearson’s, which has a pear as its logo, so maybe I’m pronouncing it incorrectly, is co-owned by Kim Pearson and Dan Shier. (Ah! That’s the Dan of Dan’s Chili, I presume.) While the cafe is new, the business has been around for a few years operating a catering service.
I found the staff and the surroundings both welcoming. It's a quick-serve operation -- order at the counter and grab a seat, inside or at one of the sidewalk tables.
Pearson’s Cafe is at 807 N. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday. (It’s open for dinner, too, weekdays if you like to eat dinner at 4 p.m.) The phone number is 407-420-7888.