Business Lunch Review: Buona Caffe
Located just off Central Avenue near downtown Augusta and the medical district, the four-year old Buona Caffe is a locally-owned establishment. On my recent visit, there was a plethora of patrons including high school football coaches, businessmen, college students, all representing a variety of ages and stages of life.
As we walked into the charming house-turned-café, we were warmly welcomed by a coffee barista with an Australian accent. He proceeded to call customers by name and carried on a friendly conversation with most of them. The laid-back, easy atmosphere at Buona Caffe was a refreshing change to the hustle and bustle of the business grind.
Although coffee claims the leaderboard at Buona Caffe, lunch fare is also offered. And if customers cannot find a suitable selection from the half-dozen sandwich options then they can order from the breakfast menu which is available all day. Breakfast anytime is always a crowd pleaser.
After placing our order at the counter, we found a seat on the homey leather couch and chairs. Traditional tables and chairs were available but the couch was calling our name. A short time passed, and our orders were announced by the clerk. We eagerly jumped to our feet to retrieve our food. (Did I mention we were famished?)
The hefty serving of chicken salad on a flaky croissant caught my eye immediately. I solicited a small bite from my cohort. Side options included bananas, broccoli slaw and pasta salad.
While I thought the chicken salad had earned an A+, I then tasted the mozzarella and Italian salami Panini, and decided that two A+ grades were merited. The popular Panini is topped with balsamic vinegar on ciabatta bread. Wow! Talk about pleasing to the palate.
My second cohort decided to take advantage of the breakfast all day deal. Again, an A+ grade. He was thrilled with the hearty sandwich comprised of eggs, bacon, and sharp cheddar between a toasty warm ciabatta bread.
Desserts and pastries were plentiful, but I opted for a small sample from the fully equipped coffee bar. To me, a cappuccino is a treat so I treated myself to the smooth coffee drink and smiled when it was delivered. A creamy leaf embellished the coffee and added a twist of art to the beverage.
Each time an order was announced by the staff and retrieved by the customer, it seemed another party entered the quaint café. For the one-man kitchen crew, it was perfect timing. For my friends and I, it became comical. By the time we relinquished our seats, there were people waiting to use them.
Buona Caffe provides an ideal lunch atmosphere for casual or business conversations. There are no TVs which sometimes robs a restaurant of an opportunity for easy conversation among customers. The $20 bill seemed like a fair price for scrumptious food for three. After a few years on the Augusta eatery scene, Buona Caffé has earned its share of the lunch clientele. It’s proving itself to be more than just a coffee shop.
Food: 4 ½
Noise Level: 4 ½
Café Buona is located at 1858 Central Avenue in Augusta. Their phone number is 706-869-4074. The website is www.buonacaffe.com