A little over a month ago, Flori’s Gourmet Café opened at the corner of York and Terwood roads. The restaurant’s namesake, Flori, hails from Bucks County by way of Romania, and she works behind the counter with a kind smile and a desire to please.
This new eatery is a welcome improvement to the busy intersection, as the storefront sat empty for some time after the Subway occupying the space closed.
The sign on the corner advertises a drive-through window, but it isn’t working yet, so for now you can walk into the small, tidy café and seat yourself after ordering at the counter.
There are only eight tables that seat four each, and the single dining room is simply decorated with earthy orange paint, bricks and large photo panels depicting various edibles.
Each morning, along with muffins, pastries and bagels, Flori’s offers omelets and stuffed pancakes. The muffins are made by Otis Spunkmeyer, but eventually, Flori wants to bake her own.
I tasted the double chocolate chip muffin, and while it was moist and rich with bittersweet chocolate, it lacked that homemade taste. Flori does make her own cinnamon rolls, however ($1.25), and they are yummy.
Flaky phyllo layers, swirling cinnamon sweetness, drizzled white icing and a refreshingly small size made this a perfect treat with a morning coffee.
The printed lunch and dinner menu that sat on the counter listed different options than the one posted behind the counter, but at lunch, it seemed as if each sandwich was just a suggestion anyway.
Perhaps it is the Ghost of Subway Past, or perhaps they are still working out the kinks in a new menu, but after ordering, Flori invited me to alter the sandwich as I saw fit. Would I like a different cheese? Another condiment? Alternative bread?
All of these changes may simply be Flori’s desire to give you a great sandwich that you will truly enjoy—each were upgrades that made the sandwich better than its original version, at the same cost.
The Pastrami Panini ($5.50) was described on the wall menu board as pastrami, cheese, spicy mustard and pickles, but at the last minute, Flori convinced me that it would be better with coleslaw in the sandwich, and pickles on the side. She was right, of course, as the coleslaw added some moisture to the hearty meat and zippy mustard. Upgrade!
The Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini ($5.50) had chunks of chicken, smoky from a quick visit to the flattop grill, a thin slice of ham, and melted Swiss cheese.
Flori offered the sandwich on multigrain bread, instead of ciabatta, and my mom jumped at the suggestion. Upgrade! Flori suggested adding honey mustard, but after some discussion, everyone decided maybe a side of ranch was best.
The sandwich didn’t need it, though, as the chicken was exceptionally moist and tender, a perfect juxtaposition to the crunchy multigrain bread toasty from the panini press.
Flori’s Burger ($7.25) seemed like it would be a hot mess, sloppy with bacon, pepperoni, ham, cheddar, pepper jack and special sauce all on top of a half- pound burger. The menu listed caramelized onions, too, but these were, unfortunately, missing. Our first, and only, downgrade.
All of the ingredients masked the burger a little, but it was a delicious sandwich, even if it was heart attack fodder. The roll, with a potato bread-soft yellow interior and challah egg-glazed exterior, was the perfect vehicle to contain all the toppings.
With a restaurant name that includes “Gourmet Café,” we were hoping for a small side green salad or organic carrots to accompany a sandwich. Bagged chips seemed to be an option, but Flori also serves French fries ($2.50). The fries had a delicious salty crunch and reminded me of spuds you can get on the Ocean City boardwalk. Adding the fries: a definite upgrade!
Alternatively, Flori’s offered a cup of the Soup of the Day, for a small additional charge.
The chicken Florentine soup ($1.89) was steamy, with spinach, small bites of chicken, carrots and dumpling-like noodles suspended in the thick rich white base. Perfect comfort food on a rainy day. The vegetable soup ($1.89) had a thinner tomato-based broth, but was just as hearty with al dente pasta shells. Both were delicious and a great value. Upgrade!
After all this food, if you are still hungry for a treat, Flori makes all her own cookies. The chewy oatmeal raisin cookie balanced sweet oats and tangy raisins, while the chocolate chip cookie had a bittersweet crunch.
And since I have a 3-year-old, I didn’t escape the parking lot without him insisting on water ice from Flori’s next door neighbor, Rita’s.
All the more reason to welcome Flori’s Gourmet Café to the neighborhood; you can grab a sandwich and soup before your cherry gelati. And you won’t even have to move your car. With gas prices skyrocketing, that is a serious upgrade!
Flori’s Gourmet Cafe receives 3 out of 5 Whisks for delicious soup, hearty sandwiches and the kind proprietor.
Second Helping of Information:
Location – 1135 York Road, Willow Grove, PA 19090
Hours – 8 a.m. through 9 p.m., seven days a week
Phone – 215-659-2212
Reservations – Not necessary
On the Kids Menu – No kids menu, but Flori's has chicken fingers, and will make any cold cut sandwich. High chairs are available; no changing table.