Main Street Home and Gardens, Down the Alley Cafe


For my birthday lunch, Joe and I went to Main Street Home and Gardens, Down the Alley Cafe in Decatur, Texas.

Until a few months ago, they also had a really nice plant nursery but that part of the business is now closed.

Dining areas are inside the main house, another building and out at tables under the trees. In Texas, it’s warm enough on sunny days to eat al fresco even in the winter.

The fare is mainly salads, sandwiches and wraps; also soups. The online menu lists tamales, but they were out the day we were there.

With a few exceptions, the emphasis is on healthy ingredients, but I’m glad to say they also have a BLTA sandwich (bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado), which is what I always get. The bread was quite good.

We had an appetizer of hummus and pita chips; the hummus was fine, but the chips were much too thick and hard.

The drink selection is limited: they have a few bottled sodas sweetened with Stevia, coffee, tea and San Pellegrino bottled sparkling water. No Coke, diet Coke, 7-Up, etc.

They’ve posted a sign which forbids outside food or drinks. (My guess is that people were bringing Cokes in with them.)

And while they’re far from rude, the service is not particularly customer-friendly (I’m basing this on about 10 visits).

It’s a shame that the nursery is gone because that was my favorite part. I suppose that Decatur is too small to support several businesses selling plants and landscaping items.

Frankly, I want the food to be better. The health food phase of my life was a long time ago and now I just want something that is tasty with balanced nutrition. I don’t believe in any magic ingredients (in my 20s I added wheat germ to nearly everything I cooked. And what’s with the Stevia??).

I’ll be surprised if Wise County will support a health food restaurant on a long term basis.

Hopefully, the owners will loosen up a little because it would be a shame if such a lovely place failed to thrive.

It’s a beautiful setting and it’s worth a drive by on a December evening just to see the charming way they’ve decorated it with lights. In the springtime, it’s stunning with all the flowering shrubs and roses.

Although this has been a somewhat critical review, it would be a mistake if I leave you with the impression that I dislike the place.

I do like it – but they need to improve.

So many small businesses are failing and that’s very troubling to me.

I want them to survive but I suggest they consider a few changes.

It’s no favor to them for the customers to pretend that everything is just wonderful (when it isn’t).

Over the years, we’ve been to many restaurants that had minor problems, but we said nothing (because it’s difficult to do and seems impolite).

Then when they went out of business, I felt guilty and wondered if they ever even knew how the former customers had felt and why they quit going.

Maybe they could put out some customer comment cards?

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Filed under Autumn, Buildings, Cafes/Restaurants, Texas

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