Cafe Cornucopia Draws Crowds from All Over the Valley
Don’t let the modest appearance keep you from stepping into this quaint cafe located on the southeast corner of Ray Road and Rural. And, don’t let the small menu fool you as the fresh ingredients are packed with wonderful flavors. Café Cornucopia is a hidden treasure with an atmosphere that is cheerful, homey and inviting with food that will bring a smile to the most discerning diner.
Owners Patti O’Donnell and Jeanie Reed met years ago when Reed was attending school in Marquette, Michigan. O’Donnell, originally from Michigan, and Reed, from Wisconsin, moved to Arizona 27 years ago. Little did they know the day O’Donnell took a trip to Bisbee, life would present a detour from their corporate jobs into restaurant ownership. O’Donnell stopped for coffee at a place called Café Cornucopia and started talking with the owner. She commented how charming the restaurant was and the owner said, “It’s for sale.” The rest is history.
O’Donnell and Reed operated the cafe for 11 years. Everything they prepared was homemade from scratch with no preservatives. The cozy café had a wonderful ambiance being in a building that was 110 years old, with stained glass windows and an apartment above. Each day brought in tourists from all over the world. When they decided it was time to bring Café Cornucopia to the Valley, they found a local buyer. In November 2012, they opened their new location in Chandler.
"Our customers are loyal jewels, they come from Cave Creek to Gold Canyon,” says Reed.
Made with Love, from Scratch
The day I visited, the soup du jour was tomato basil, a favorite of mine and I wasn’t disappointed. I equally enjoyed the split pea soup. Other popular soups include Thai chicken, peanut sweet potato, green chili pork, chicken tortilla and butternut squash. Reed carefully prepares all the soups and proudly claims to have prepared thousands of them.
The café is known for having the best quiche in town. After sampling their deep dish green chili cheddar quiche, which is thick and fluffy, I can attest it’s probably the best I’ve ever had. All made from scratch, I savored each bite. It is also available gluten-free, custless and is equally delicious.
On the menu board are sandwiches which include meatloaf; turkey, cheese and avocado; vegetarian; chili Jack; tuna; and egg salad. The fresh salads include potato, cole slaw (made with buttermilk not mayonnaise), fresh garden, Greek and a tuna platter. Their signature salad dressing is made with fresh lemon and garlic infused extra virgin olive oil and is fresh pressed each morning. Unlike most salad dressings, this simple dressing enhances the flavors of the salad ingredients and not masking them like most dressings.
Meals are served with a slice of their popular homemade rolled oats and honey bread that is light with a slightly sweet flavor. It’s so delicious you’ll find yourself wanting to take a loaf home, but you will need to place an order a day in advance. O’Donnell bakes the bread fresh daily.
With the warmer weather be sure to order one of the freshly squeezed lemonades that are made with fresh fruit, not syrup. Some flavors include tangerine, strawberry, peach and watermelon. There’s a daily special which may include entrées like lasagna, gnocchi, green chili pork stew, chicken breast salad and homemade chili with corn bread.
If you like lemon bars, you are in for a real treat. These homemade bars have a wonderful lemon flavor, are not too sweet, and have a wonderful thick crust. They’re so yummy, they could become habit forming. Other desserts include cookies, brownies, pies and cobblers.
Living a Dream
It is obvious that it’s a labor of love that motivates this duo to continue picking the finest ingredients to make all the food fresh every day.
“We love people, we love to cook and we love cooking good food for our customers," says O'Donnell. "We feel blessed living the dream – waking up happy and doing what we love to do."
Yes, Café Cornucopia lives up to its name of as being a House of Plenty….plenty of flavor! You may come in a stranger, but by the time you leave O’Donnell and Reed will treat you like you’re a new friend. I wish I lived in the neighborhood, as I’d be visiting this café regularly for the wonderfully prepared, delicious meals and friendly service.
Hours: Mon – Fri 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
4959 W. Ray Road, Suite 38
Chandler, AZ 85226