Tucked behind Norcross's main thoroughfare lies the Bleu House Café, a luncheon restaurant and catering business situated between the historic cemetery and the small town's commercial square. Located in an old house, it attracts both bustling business folk and torn-jean-adorned teens. The Bleu House Café's homegrown fare consists of heaping portions of homemade soups, sandwiches and specials with Southern ingredients. But there are also elements of Italy, Asia and even the Bronx (go figure) mixed in. Still, it's somehow country, without hostesses in hoop skirts or any cloyingly cute kitsch.
Business meets Boho: The cafe's inside walls are colored a bright blue and detailed with hand-painted dancing jesters. The counter is decorated with winking teacups and mismatched paraphernalia. It's all quite organic without being overly hippy-retro. But there are plenty of seeds and sprouts here -- the cafe's outdoor garden is plush with a cornucopia of elephant ears and various greenery growing in the red clay. Men in suits meet and plot deals to the tune of the Beatles and wind chimes wafting in the background.
Groovy grub: Incredibly generous portions of homemade soups, salads and sandwiches are served with just the right mixture of the familiar and the exotic. The Roman muffalata combines turkey, prosciutto, roasted eggplant and hunks of cheese dotted with olive-mix spread and pesto mayonnaise, all colorfully layered on fresh boule (one of seven of the hearty bread/vegetable wrap selections). Like all sandwiches, it's served with a choice from seven side salads for $7.50, with the promise of leftovers to boot. Try the tomato-and-buffalo-mozzarella salad for a side that sure beats chips. The Rasta turkey and funky chicken melt are also sure bets.
The cafe also specializes in a daily variety of manly quiches that are tall and fluffy and almost souffle-like. The hand-crimped pastry dough keeps the dish hearty enough to satisfy even the largest appetite.
Thai chicken salad with crushed peanuts and orange-sesame-ginger dressing is a winner, as is the cranberry salad, with roman noodles, walnuts and romaine. Try one of the salads topped with the homemade Vidalia-onion dressing.
Sweet Innocence: And then there are daily fresh-made pastries and assorted cookies plump with chocolate chunks and nuts. The praline brownie -- which mixes just the right amount of crunchy caramel with chewy, rich, dense cake -- may well send even the healthiest person into a diabetic coma. But it would be worth it.
The best thing about the Bleu House Café is that the fare is served playfully and without any pretension. The garden, the '60s tunes and the homey feel all impart a kind of innocence that's difficult to resist. And when someone surprisingly reaches over the counter and puts a cookie in your hand "on the house" since there are spare "broken bits," well ... everything seems whole.
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