K Cafe – Windward

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday.

So I’m sitting in one of my favorite Windward restaurants chatting up the manager. We’ve known each other for a few years so he knows my schtick about keeping up with the latest restaurants in town. He leans over and whispers to me “There is a new place almost across the street, K Cafe. They’re kind of a competitor.” Not that he was afraid of them, nor should he be, I just didn’t think he wanted his other customers to hear.

But I was disappointed in myself. How could a new restaurant open on Windward and do it almost completely under the radar? I drive Windward daily, surely I would have noticed something, right?

That night I googled this place. No website, no social networking presence, nothing. The only thing I find are a few articles on restaurant business websites. It seems that Krystal, the nasty little fastfood joint with the steamed burgers, is behind this operation. It is purely a test concept, the first of its kind. They are a fast-casual restaurant similar to Panera. Great, we need more chain concepts like Panera.

I dragged the kids, against their will, into K Cafe last weekend. They are located in the old Caravel spot in front of Costco, directly across the street from Five Guys. The joint feels classy with jazz music playing and nice decor. They have an amazingly big ceiling fan which mesmerized my youngins. The menu is mostly sandwiches, salads, burgers and hot dogs. What the menu doesn’t have is a kid’s section. Strike one. I had to order my kids adult entrees. This won’t fly in Alpharetta.

I kinda had my mind set on a burger, so I ordered what they call the “Basically Awesome Burger”. I love to see hyperbole on the menu, especially in the burger section! The burger patty tasted like a larger version of a Krystal burger. It was probably steamed and had little to no flavor. Strike two. However the bread was basically awesome pretty decent. It was ciabatta bread. There are other joints in town serving burgers like this, so they’re hardly new with the idea. But nevertheless it was good, as were the fresh toppings.

My kids got hot dogs and grilled cheese. Again, nothing spectacular. All of our entrees came with a huge serving of shoestring fries. They were actually pretty good.

The staff were obviously new and still being trained yet were nice and pleasant. The prices were on the reasonable side for Windward. I paid more than I thought given the lack of a kid’s menu. But lunchtime cubicle dwellers can probably get in and out of here for less than a Hamilton.

So there you have it. Given that this is a this is a test concept, they could gut the place tomorrow and try something completely new. Keep that in mind when you read my review. And even though they have carefully concealed the name “Krystal” behind the single letter “K”, there is a Krystal section on the menu. If nothing on the menu strikes your fancy you can always fall back on a three Krystal platter. Ick.

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6 comments on this post.
  1. jimgilvin:

    Thanks for the scoop on this place. After reading this I chuckled as I drove past it today.

    BTW, have you ever tried Satay House. Took the family last night for the first time in years and it still has good Thai food.

  2. Lee:

    Yeah, I haven’t been to Satay House in a year or two. I mentioned them recently in my article on cheap eats. Their coconut soup is awesome.

  3. George:

    I went there yesterday with a coupon for a free entree and side, I thought it was actually pretty darned good. The prices were a little bit steep from what I could tell on the menu, but I got the Oh-No-You-Didn’t Burger and Blue Chip Nachos… to be honest though, I enjoyed the Blue Chip Nachos more than the burger, huge serving sizes in both things. My sister got a chicken sandwich and some sweet potato fries, which both were delicious. I might go back again (probably for nachos and sweet potatoes alone, haha)

  4. Travis Allen:

    I think they’ve already started making changes…last week I went and the fries were of the shoestring variety…old shoe strings that is, a little droopy without much life. Even my 2 year old didn’t want anything to do with them and he is a fry monster.

    Gave them a second chance yesterday, much like George, I had a free coupon so figured why not. Got the “Oh No You Didn’t” double burger. Fries were different, much better in fact, more like Zaxby’s fries, but without the krinkle.

    The burger itself was a little disappointing, fresh toppings to be sure, but for food cooked to order it just doesn’t seem to come out very hot. Same thing with the cheese Krystals I ordered for my 2 year old.

    I also find it quite strange that they go so far out of their way to deny any relation to Krystal’s. First time I got the “we’re licensed to sell their burgers” and yesterday we got “they sponsor us and allow us to sell their burgers” Really folks?, I read the article a month ago in the Atlanta Business Chronicle or something like that, you’re the same company, you’re even listed on the Krystal website!…no fooling me, but good try with putting the 3 Krystals on a platter intead of in tiny little boxes!

  5. Lee:

    Thanks for the comment, Travis. Since this is a test concept, I wouldn’t be surprised to see random, and perhaps dramatic, changes to their menu.

  6. Callie Anderson:

    I tried them for the first time the other day, Being a health nut, it wasn’t exactly on my diet, but my boyfriend heard great things about it from his buddies, so we decided to try. I got the chicken ciabatta – the best chicken sandwich (grilled, at that) I had ever had. No one does grilled chicken how I like so I pleasantly surprised (especially for a Krystal child!)

    The staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating! I’ve been back since and they remembered me and what I ordered!

    They have drinks basically nowhere else does (sprite zero, diet dr. pepper…).

    ALSO, THEY DO HAVE A CHILD’S MENU. I’m not sure if it’s new or if you missed it, but it’s there. (:

    I would definitely recommend this place to any and everyone.

    GO GO GO!

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