An Artistic Cafe
I’d tried the cafe once before under the previous management and came away extremely unimpressed. Norah’s is now operated by Blue Ridge Catering, a very well-known and popular catering company in the area, and I was excited to see if they’d improved the quality and dining experience.
We visited a few weeks ago for lunch on a beautiful day and took advantage of the opportunity to sit outside on the patio at one of their tables under an umbrella. The patio is a very nice space and offers plenty of room. The only drawback is the proximity to the very active (and LOUD!) railroad tracks and nearby traffic on the busy Williamson Road.
One of the first things I noticed was the increase in the prices on the menu. I remember many of the items on the former menu being around $7 and most of the selections on the new menu are closer to the $8-$10 range. Add in that you’re also now being served by a waitress and that means it’s a 25% increase in the prices.
Fortunately, the prices aren’t the only thing that increased - the quality of the food also increased significantly.
My sandwich was delicious. The focaccia had outstanding flavor and was the perfect texture, which kept it from falling apart whenever I took a bite. I also loved the combination of the sweet vidalia vinaigrette with the caramelized onions and the gooey, creaminess of the melted gouda. The pear also offered a nice tartness and crunch that helped provide a great variety of flavors and textures.
Along with my sandwich, the house-baked chips were also very tasty. They were sprinkled with rosemary and weren’t greasy or too salty. You don’t realize how inferior bags of chips are until you have a sandwich with a side of house-baked chips. There’s such a difference.
I didn’t know what to expect at the new Norah’s Cafe, but I came away very impressed with the food. Hopefully it’s part of the makeover that will make the Taubman Museum of Art flourish in Downtown Roanoke.
110 Salem Avenue NE
Roanoke, VA 24011