When Tammy Salvatore opened Café 109 and Uptown Balsamics and Olive Oils, at 109 E. Main St. in Beckley, she planned on serving mostly health-conscious fare.
After getting multiple requests for some fried options, the welcoming café added options like mozzarella sticks and french fries to the menu, making the café exactly what the City of Beckley wanted, while keeping some of its original health-conscious options.
Tammy, who’s married to local attorney Anthony Salvatore, was a paralegal prior to the couple opening the café in April 2017.
A year after opening, the Salvatores decided to expand the business and add imported balsamics and olive oils to the menu.
Upon entering the café, it’s hard to miss the large unit of shelving filled with a variety of glass balsamics and olive oil bottles neatly lining the shelves.
“People love them, and we didn’t have anything like that in this area,” Tammy said. “We thought it would be perfect.”
Unique options like a bacon or lemon-flavored olive oil and bananas foster, raspberry or blueberry balsamic are sure to please, the café says.
All the oils the Salvatores sell in their café are imported from places like Italy and Chile but shipped from a company in Arizona.
Tammy’s daughter, Concord University alumna Makayla Radford, helped open the business, and continues to work in house. She says the lemon flavor oil is boundless — so great that it’s currently sold out but will be restocked soon.
The bananas foster balsamic is also exceptional when added to desserts, pancakes, waffles, or french toast, Tammy says.
“I really like the blueberry balsamic too,” Makayla added. “I’ve used it on pancakes. It’s actually really, really good.”
While balsamics and oils are certainly a staple, the menu also includes breakfast and lunch items, such as turkey spinach wraps and chicken salad sandwiches – both of which are made fresh daily.
“Our most popular breakfast item is the breakfast wrap,” Tammy said.
Made to order with the choice of sausage or bacon, the Café 109 breakfast wrap is grilled up with hash browns, cheese, salsa and sour cream.
Another crowd favorite is the egg white avocado spinach sandwich — served just like it sounds with pepper jack cheese and choice of mayo or Tabasco sauce.
“I might be a little biased, but the food is great,” said Makayla. “It is home cooked, and it gives you that homey feel… I think Beckley has a lot more to offer than people realize.”
In addition to their regular menu, Café 109 and Uptown Balsamics and Olive Oils also has specials throughout the week, such as Taco Tuesdays, when patrons can purchase a traditional style taco salad with all the fixings.
It’s been a huge hit with locals, Tammy says.
“A lot of our crowds wanted fried foods, so we decided on Wednesdays we would have home-cooked meals,” Tammy said.
Offering a different special each week, Tammy says the meatloaf and mashed potatoes, her family chicken and dumpling recipe, chicken fajita pasta and lasagna are part of what’s become a great rotating Wednesday special lineup.
“It’s nothing that will come out of a freezer,” Tammy said. “It’s mostly all made from scratch… Prices vary, but most of our meals are $5.95 to $9.95.”
Café 109 and Uptown Balsamics and Olive Oils also offers what Tammy says is one of the largest coffees, espresso and tea selections in the area.
With unique flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Crème De Banana, Italian Egg Nog, S’more and Lavender Vanilla, the cafe says they wanted to offer something for everyone’s palate.
Tammy says some of the customers who have sampled their large menu of coffees are now “hooked.”
“We’ve had people from out of state find us and tell us we’re a hidden gem,” Tammy said. “We have regulars. They come back and are faithful… The customers have been great.”
Café 109 and Uptown Balsamics and Olive Oils is open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit them on Facebook.