with gallery: Ellie's Chocolate Cafe an appealing option for sandwiches and sweets
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We decided to venture to Chelsea on a gray Saturday afternoon and were immediately charmed by the employees of Ellie's Chocolate Cafe, who greeted us warmly. Mike Radant is one of the owners who launched Ellie's in November 2010.
This past January, he purchased the Gourmet Chocolate Cafe next door and has broadened the menu to include a variety of chocolate candy as well. With high-backed cozy booths and local art that fills the walls, Ellie's is a quaint sandwich shop that conveys Chelsea's nostalgic, small-town feel. We stood out as the few who didn't seem to be regulars.
The focal point is a large counter in the center of the restaurant that displays a wide array of chocolates as well as several different flavors of ice cream. You place your order here, and then servers bring you the food when it's ready.
The menu focuses on lunch foods: sandwiches, salads, soups, burgers and Coney dogs. We ordered the soup of the day, broccoli/cheddar, which was as thick as a stew and full of flavor. The veggie burger, one of only two vegetarian sandwiches on the menu, also hit the mark, served on a bun that tasted fresh. French fries were crispy and well seasoned, and were delivered well done, in accordance with my husband's specifications.
The heavily-breaded chicken in the crispy chicken club wrap tasted like it had been frozen and then thawed. It wasn't nearly as good as the other key ingredient: the large, thick slabs of bacon. Wrapped in a giant, fresh tortilla, the bacon, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing would have made for a sufficient sandwich without the chicken.
That same, dense portion of perfectly cooked bacon was on my son's bacon cheeseburger — one of a half-dozen burger options — a delicious offering served on the same fresh bun as the veggie burger. Though the server didn't ask how he wanted the burger prepared, it was cooked to my son's liking, on the medium/well side.
None of the sandwiches come with side dishes. Better Made potato chips can be ordered for an extra $1, while French fries are $1.29 for a small portion.
312 N. Main St., Chelsea
- Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Plastic: American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover.
- Prices: Inexpensive.
- Noise level: Quiet.
- Wheelchair access:Yes.
Bread for the grinders is made in-house, and it's worth ordering one of these sandwiches just to sample it. Marshmallow soft, the terrific bread is the perfect foundation for a tasty sandwich.
We tried the turkey and Swiss grinder. The turkey tasted fresh, but was overpowered by the large amount of mayonnaise. More of the meat and less of the topping would have made this even better.
Dessert options are plentiful, ranging from a variety of ice cream flavors, purchased from Independent Dairy in Monroe, to candy. The chocolate shake, topped with whipped cream, was good, though I prefer mine thicker. In the case of candy, I would advise sticking with one of the two dozen chocolates that are made in-house, including the scrumptious chocolate-covered Oreos, the chocolate-covered frogs and the chocolate gummy worms. Dessert items I sampled that were purchased from elsewhere, including the chocolate with a marshmallow interior and the malted milk balls, tasted stale, like they had been sitting far too long.
Service was prompt, with staff eager to assist us. And the prices — under $5 for a burger — cannot be beat. I'd definitely recommend Ellie's an appealing place to stop, either for a light meal or to satisfy your sweet tooth.