Brunch bunch

The ribeye steak sandwich comes on a garlic-buttered French roll with sautéed onion and mushroom.

The ribeye steak sandwich comes on a garlic-buttered French roll with sautéed onion and mushroom.

Photo/Allison Young

Candelaria’s Cafe is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Sunday, and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday.

When Candelaria’s opened at the Reno Town Mall shopping center in 2017, it was a pretty solid cousin to the like-named taqueria in Sparks. Imagine my surprise at discovering an American brunch cafe in its place, yet operating under the same name despite new ownership. My hungry family and I decided to switch gears on our expectations and give it a try.

Gone is the big photo board and “order at the counter” set-up, replaced by table service with menus. Service was very friendly and accommodating. It took a while to peruse the extensive selection of breakfast standards, soups and salads, burgers, cold and hot sandwiches/wraps, diner staples like fish and chips and fried chicken tenders, and a handful of “South of the Border” items.

My daughter-in-law ordered a croissant melt ($9.99) of deli turkey, Swiss cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo, split on two plates with fries to share with my grandson. She added a buttermilk waffle with fresh strawberry and whipped cream to share ($6.99). The sandwich was initially served on sourdough—an error quickly corrected—and each plate of the split order had a generous pile of fluffy, crispy fries. The waffle was large, golden brown and piled with plenty of fruit and cream.

My cheesesteak ($10.99) of thin-sliced, chopped roast beef sautéed with onion and bell pepper was served on a grilled dutch crunch roll with plenty of melted pepper jack cheese and onion rings on the side. The sandwich seemed a little small but was a decent, tasty bite of lunch nonetheless. The rings were as plentiful as the fries, lightly crunchy, not over-battered, with plenty of fresh onion flavor. The boy said they were tops. I added a cup of the day’s soup—cream of broccoli ($1.50)—and was pleasantly surprised to see an actual cup. So many times I’ve asked for a cup and been served—and charged—for a bowl that is far more than I’d wanted. It was creamy, chunky and tasted fresh.

My son’s ribeye steak sandwich ($14.99) was an impressively thick piece of beef, grilled as rare as he’d asked and served on a garlic-buttered French roll with sautéed onion and mushroom. Having worked in a steakhouse in my youth, I never order this because it often means, “last night’s leftovers on a roll.” This was so not that. He asked for and—surprisingly—received horseradish, a pro move if ever there was one. That was a damn good sandwich. His side of housemade potato salad was beyond average, with a nice bit of vinegar tartness, dill, pepper and a noticeable hint of cumin.

Winning on choice of orders, my daughter’s pork chop breakfast ($11.99) was easily enough food for two. It featured a pair of center-cut breaded chops with a side of applesauce, two eggs any style, choice of home fries or hash browns, and toast or a housemade biscuit with sausage gravy. Her scramble was fluffy with no need for additional seasoning, and the home fries were crispy and included plenty of bell pepper. The chops were tender and well seasoned. I was surprised that the big, fluffy biscuit paired with excellent, sausage-heavy gravy was substituted for toast at no additional charge. It was a big serving of awesomeness spread out on three dishes, and easily the star of our visit.