Hello, my friends. The Mystery Diner is out at the moment. I’m the Dining Partner, and I want you to know about a great place to have breakfast or lunch here in Johnson City.
It is called C. Mae’s Bakery & Café and is located near East Tennessee State University on West Walnut Street. C. Mae’s specializes in sandwiches and baked goods, and features lunch and breakfast sandwiches that are very good.
I found out about C. Mae’s from my friend the Retiree, who had eaten both breakfast and lunch there several times. “A very special place,” my friend told me. “They take great care in what they make. You can tell the minute you put one of their creations in your mouth.”
My niece and her children had a day off from school due to the weather. It was my grandniece’s birthday, giving us a good reason to celebrate, so I invited them to join me for a late lunch.
C. Mae’s is tucked into the bottom floor of the Campus Square building, just across the parking lot from the former Poor Richard’s Deli location. It was about 2 p.m. when we met, so some of the lunch crowd was still there enjoying themselves.
When you walk in, there are lots of baked goodies in the display cases, so it is a question of deciding what you want. Neither my grandniece nor my grandnephew had ever been here before. My niece seemed a bit tentative about the whole “late lunch” idea. I told her not to worry, that our get-together was about having a good time.
There were several different sandwich types available, and the nice lady behind the counter was kind enough to offer samples of each so we could make up our minds.
My grandniece, getting into the spirit of the moment, ordered a Pepperoni Roll ($3), a good-sized fresh roll with sliced pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. My niece and I split a substantial Spinach & Feta Roll ($3) and a bowl of the Soup of the Day ($4) which happened to be broccoli & cheese.
My grandnephew’s the finicky one in the family. Being assured there was no chopped celery in it, he tried the Home Made Chicken Salad. The pineapple chunks weren’t to his taste, so he tried the Fresh Egg Salad. Uh oh, chopped dill pickles.
“No thanks,” he said, looking disappointed. “I guess I’m out of luck.”
“How about I make you a grilled cheese sandwich?” said our patient friend behind the counter.
“Grilled cheese? Sure,” was his smiling reply.
My grandniece enjoyed her Pepperoni Roll, the spicy pepperoni slices mixing with the melted mozzarella cheese on the freshly-toasted roll. The Spinach & Feta Cheese roll my niece split with me was served warm, which meant that the feta cheese was soft enough to spread across the fresh-baked roll. It’s slightly salty taste was great with the leaf spinach.
The broccoli & cheese soup was extra cheesy, with good-sized chopped broccoli florets floating in it. The custom-made grilled cheese sandwich ($4) made my grandnephew a very happy young man.
Afterward, we decided on what to have for dessert. My grandniece wanted one of C. Mae’s chocolate chip cookies. I chose a cream cheese bar. My grandnephew wanted a “Gobstopper,” while my niece ordered a cherry pocket. We all had a taste of each.
The chocolate chip cookie was fresh out of the oven, chewy and very chocolatey. The cream cheese bar was a good-sized version of a chess bar with cream cheese. Remarkably, my niece’s cherry pocket had cherry filling that was mostly tart and sweet cherries.
The “Gobstopper” was a marshmallow mix coated with peanut butter, crispy rice and white chocolate chips. One bite of it was enough for me, though my grandnephew finished it off without a bit of finicky behavior.
Our afternoon’s outing for the four of us was around $23. C. Mae’s Bakery & Cafe is a great place to eat out. My grandnephew said he enjoyed himself. He wants to come back for his birthday.
C. Mae’s Bakery & Café
817 W. Walnut St., Suite 4 631-0397 Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Sat, Sun Available on Facebook Credit cards accepted