Carin Piretti told me about a new place that I should try for lunch. So today I headed to downtown Greer to visit Cafe Rivera. It was rough around the office, so I needed to escape for a bit, and this seemed like a great opportunity. UPDATE: Since I started this post, I’ve visited the cafe twice. I guess I just haven’t had a chance to get around to writing up the visit, but now I have two data points.
Cafe Rivera is located in one of the old buildings in downtown Greer. Most recently, it was a coffee shop, albeit one without very good food or coffee. Hence it’s closing. I think Cafe Rivera has only been open a few weeks, at best, but they are trying to make a go of it in what could be an excellent location.
Since it’s in one of the old buildings, the walls are old brick. The front room has several tables, and a bar. There is a larger back dining room. Wood finishes and elegance contrast with the rustic brick.
Right now the focus is on lunch items. The cafe is only open for an occasional theme dinner, and this is reflected in the selections. However, for a lunch-only place, the menu is fairly extensive. The cuisine is Cuban. There are several appetizers ranging from $6 – $9, and some hearty salads in the same price range. There are several Cuban sandwiches, and some heavier lunch entree’s. These are all around the same price. There is also a special for each day for $6.95.
In addition to these items there is an extensive list of pastries and desserts. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time or room for any of these. I may have to get one to go sometime.
My first visit I ordered one of the daily specials, arroz con pollo. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was certainly different from the Mexican versions I’ve had. There were a couple of plantains with the chicken. It was tasty, but was not quite as spicy as I have imagined.
On my second visit, I ordered the Ensalada de la Fortitudo, or “Salad of Strength.” This is the Cuban equivalent of a Cobb salad, and was excellent. As the name implies, it was a very robust salad, and was quite tasty.
Service was prompt and efficient. This isn’t fast food, and takes a bit longer to prepare than some quick lunch places. I wasn’t quite ready for that the first time around, but was in the right frame of mind the second trip.
The owner herself, Lucinda Rivera, came out and tried to talk me into taking dessert back to the office. Upon my return trip, she greeted me warmly, as if I were a regular. I guess two trips in as many weeks qualifies me as such.
This is a nice addition to the growing number of restaurants in Greer. It’s probably a little pricier than I would want to do for lunch on a regular basis, but it’s a nice change of pace on occasion.
One final point. Mrs. Rivera informed me that they are changing the hours, and will be opening for dinner Thursday through Sunday, but will be closed Mondays.