Between the Bread Cafe puts a classy touch on lunch

I have lived in Macon for nearly 15 years and have never eaten at Michael’s on Mulberry, either for lunch, when the restaurant operates as Between the Bread Café with a more casual menu, or in the evening, when the menu shifts to offer a fine dining experience.

Every time I have tried to patronize Michael’s on Mulberry and Between the Bread Café for a workday lunch, parking around the two courthouses downtown has been impossible, time has been an issue, or some other calamity would prevent me from stopping. That streak ended recently when the new parking meters opened up parking in downtown Macon.

Between the bread cafe lunch sandwich
The shrimp supreme is a signature sandwich from Between the Bread Cafe, the daytime incarnation of Michael’s on Mulberry. This selection comes with shrimp, grilled peppers, mushrooms, Swiss cheese, onions and creamy Italian dressing. Pictured here with a side of potato salad. Photo by Doug Deal.

The first thing you notice about the dual identity restaurant is the décor. It has a classic feeling of what you expect from a nice restaurant from years past. Instead of faddish trends, you get a sense of dining history that takes advantage of the period building they inhabit. The décor, including the design of the booths, curtains, and partitions, gives each party a sense of privacy even when the restaurant is crowded. This intimate setting makes a regular lunch at Between the Bread Café feel special.

Service was amicable, and although a trainee was serving us, she was not left alone to flounder, as a trainer was always right there giving her a hand. Other members of the staff also kept an eye on us and never let a glass sit empty. Attention to a patron’s drinks is something too many restaurants drop the ball on, but the employees at Between the Bread Café watch this religiously, but unobtrusively. Our food arrived expeditiously.

On my first visit to a new restaurant, I like to have a staff member recommend something on the menu of which they are the proudest, the dish or entrée that they would recommend to a family member or friend. The recommendation I received was their signature sandwich, the Supreme.

The Supreme has three options for meat: steak, chicken, or seafood (shrimp or salmon). It is served upon a sub roll and topped with onions, grilled peppers, Swiss cheese and mushrooms topped off with a choice of mayonnaise or creamy Italian dressing. Lettuce and tomato can also be added with a $0.50 upcharge. A side of fries or potato salad comes with it. You can add a salad for $3.50.

I took the shrimp option and creamy Italian dressing, but left off the tomato and lettuce. You can also specify between blackened or grilled shrimp, and I went with grilled.

Each of the flavors blended perfectly. The creamy dressing, cheese, peppers, onions, and shrimp each contributed something positive to the experience. It was paired with the potato salad that was loaded with bacon. Mine was not well mixed, so a small portion had a bit of crunch from what seemed to be kosher salt. I quickly rectified this minor issue with a good stir of the potato salad, and the result was an outstanding accompaniment that beats the heck out of fries.

Michaels on Mulberry Storefront
The storefront of Michael’s on Mulberry. Photo by Doug Deal.

It was a filling sandwich for lunch and considering that I went with the more expensive seafood option (not to mention the superb level of customer service they offer), the price was not bad at $9.95. The other protein options for the sandwich run $8.45.

My wife picked the garden salad. Typically, this item is $6.45 and comes with greens, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, cheddar cheese, and bacon. You can upgrade to add smoked turkey and ham cold cuts and Swiss and American cheese (turning it into a chef salad) for an extra $2.00, or for the same upgrade cost, you can add chicken (grilled, blackened, fried, or Buffalo flavored). Seafood can be added to the garden salad (shrimp or salmon, grilled or blackened) for an additional $3.00. Her choice was the chef option.

In some restaurants, the lunch salad is an afterthought, seemingly slapped together with leftovers from a nicer meal. The salad at Between the Bread Café is a main course, large and filling, with generous portions of meat and cheeses. The vegetables and lettuce were crisp and flavorful. Lauren was not able to finish it and loved every bite.

When you consider what little you get even from fast food these days, we were well pleased with the value paired with the service and quality in their food.

We will most certainly return to Michael’s on Mulberry and Between the Bread Café soon. Some of the menu items we are interested in trying are the French dip, their burgers, more of their endless selection of sandwiches and don’t forget dessert.

Dinner is an entirely different experience with a menu of its own. Trying their fine-dining experience is also on our to-do list.

You can find Michael’s on Mulberry and Between the Bread Café on the corner of Mulberry and 2nd Street in downtown Macon, diagonally across from the Bibb County Courthouse. The address is 588 Mulberry Street, and Between the Bread Cafe is open for lunch Monday through Saturday from 10:30 AM – 2 PM. Breakfast is also now being served Monday through Friday from 7 AM – 10 AM and Michael’s is open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5 PM – 9 PM.

As mentioned earlier, the new parking meters means easier access and a chance to experience something that may not have been convenient in years past.

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