Five years ago, when Miranda and Philip Kaiser opened Cosmo Café, business boomed and the place became an instant hit.
Now, the original location that made them popular has closed to open a new locale in the Brookside area. They were eager about the prospects of the location but waited to see the results of their move.
With a month or so under their belt in the new space, the test to see if the new location would pay off has made a top grade.
Miranda only has the best to say about it. "It's brilliant, fantastic," she said enthusiastically.
An architect and she developed the plan for the new Cosmo Café. Regulars coming to the new Cosmo will find similar configurations with the familiar rich gray and red colors that are carried over from the former location. Tables and booths are placed around three areas: a bar, a large dining room through the center of the Café and an indoor/outdoor space close to the sidewalk of Peoria.
Miranda is happy to have this sidewalk space, too, for particular reasons.
"I'm a big dog lover, and we can have dogs come with their owners and sit outside," she said. Now, they only have to wait until the spring. A small area is even available inside with leather chairs, a small couch and a coffee table.
With only four weeks of down time to move across the city, and now as they are almost a month into the new space, Miranda said they are thrilled to see their regulars returning.
"We see many of the 'southerners' coming 'north' to us," she said. "It was fantastic to see all our clientele coming here. I started crying!"
She was also thrilled that most of her staff is still with her. During the interim, Miranda said she kept them on to help with the remodeling.
"Most of the staff had a big hand getting us together here," she said. "I couldn't have done it without them."
Miranda said although customers will find the same menu items, they will also see some new appetizers, salads and sandwiches.
"We raise the bar with our food preparation here," she said. "All foods are prepped three times each day. We hand cut everything all day.
"We have great stuff," she said. "We have alcohol drinks, coffee drinks and, even, board games." Some of the food favorites she said are the Italian Nachos ($3.99/$6.99).
"We sell more of these (nachos) than anything else because they are just so good," Miranda said.
These nachos are made with marinara, cheesy Alfredo, cheddar, mozzarella and basil, then baked crispy in the oven. It is also served with sour cream.
Other popular items are a Honey Ham and Brie sandwich ($7.79), which is served on buttered bread (best on a baguette) with tomatoes. Avocado and bacon might be added for an additional .99/.59.
And for dessert, Miranda said people gravitate to the Hershey's Cobbler ($5.99). It's described as gooey, fudgy, chocolate--very naughty, and served with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.
When I dined here for lunch, it was a perfect time. The lunch rush was over, and there was a calm about the place. I selected a seat by the window to see outside.
My server suggested a hot cranberry drink ($1.99). Great suggestion! This was served in a clear glass mug and was very good--perfect for this cold, wintry day.
For lunch, I selected the Cosmo Caprese Salad ($5.99), the Cosmo Grilled Cheese ($7.99) and a cup of Chili ($3.49). Caprese Salad is a favorite of mine; the blending of these flavors--tomato, fresh leaf basil and olive oil--is almost magical. The plate presentation was inviting, as five slices of fresh buffalo Mozzarella, slices of Roma tomatoes and leaves of fresh basil feathered the plate. A balsamic pesto drizzle added another dimension of Italian flavors to this appetizer. The only way this could have been better would have been with fresh, vine-ripe tomatoes, which are difficult to come by this time of year.
The Cosmo Grilled Cheese sandwich was made with cream cheese, cheddar, Pepper Jack, Provolone, fresh Mozzarella and Swiss. Added to this Cosmo combo of cheeses was fresh basil and tomatoes all on sour dough bread. This sandwich was panini-grilled with all the cheeses melted and blended to a light creaminess. This was a delectable take on the traditional grilled cheese. It was rich and oozing with melted cheese; the basil and tomato seemed like after thoughts to this sandwich.
The cup of chili was quite flavorful, so much so that I wish I had ordered a bowl of it. It is made with 90 percent lean beef, and the entire cup was almost 90 percent beef. This thick and rich chili had an ample amount of chili powder and was served piping hot! I requested shredded cheddar cheese, red onions and sour cream on top. This chili was the perfect warming food for this cool day.
The server to my table was very attentive and most friendly, and from my observation, the tenor of Cosmo Café is upbeat and friendly.
Cosmo claims to prepare "sophisticated sandwiches," and looking at a few of them, I would agree. The Euro Turkey, for example is made with smoked turkey, marinated roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, garlic-dill cream cheese, lettuce and honey balsamic dressing; the Homemade Meatloaf Panini is made with homemade meatloaf, brown mustard, yummy "red" sauce, fresh tomatoes, red onions and Provolone on toasted sourdough.
In addition to sophisticated sandwiches, Salads (House, Shrimp Louie, Cosmo Chicken, Chicken and Blue Cheese), Platters (Cheese & Fruit, Meat & Cheese, Red, Black and Bleu, Salmon) and Entrees (Sunshine Pizza, French Bread Pizza, Cuban Goulash, Madras Vegan Chili, Rosemary & Garlic Chicken Breast) are also plentiful on the menu. And, a full page of sinful desserts await the customer--from Hot Irish White Chocolate Sundae to My Goodness, My Guinness.
3334 S. Peoria
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