Two Rivers Cafe
February 10, 2004
Pat Breed is the anti-restaurateur, and I mean that in the best of all possible ways. He does not advertise and he does not accept credit cards and he doesn’t care if people get mad at him for either of those things. He also has a restaurant that is packed to near over flowing on most mornings, so he must be doing something right. He has owned and operated the Two Rivers Cafe in Basalt for over twenty years, and I somehow get the feeling that it has the same funky genuine quality it had back then. Only then the streets were still dirt and they had those places along the sidewalk that you could tie your horses up to. That was before that damn city council started ruining the place … but that’s a whole other story.
Two Rivers is this shimmering oasis in the middle of Midland Avenue. It has an almost intimidating quality to it, like it is the last lair of real locals, locals that know each other and their secrets really well, maybe too well, and to walk in there without actually being from Basalt would be immediately obvious to everyone within. Sort of Twin Peaks meets Mayberry. Not to say that it is in any way exclusive, it is just that at Two Rivers they aren’t there to kiss tourist butt, they are there to make and serve good food. If you want pretense, there are plenty of other options in this valley.It is well worth it to get over the hesitancy of deciding to walk in and just do it, open the door walk through the bar and into the cafe then just charge on through to a table, if you hesitate and wait up front looking for someone to seat you it’s all over, the gig is up and all possibilities of someone thinking you are a local are out the window. So be brave and seat yourself, because it’s worth it. Let me tell you just how worth it it is. Even as I write this I can’t get my mid off of the French toast that I had there yesterday morning. It was perfect. I know that’s a bold statement, but I’m standing behind it, it was absolutely perfect. Cut just right, not too thick or too thin, oozing with butter, lots of maple syrup (I took care of that part) and a glass of orange juice and my day was complete long before noon. In fact, if it weren’t for this deadline, I would seriously consider driving down to Basalt for another piece of that French toast right now. That’s just how I get around French toast. If French toast doesn’t affect you the same way, then perhaps you should consider some culinary therapy. Or, you could try some of the other breakfast choices, I suppose. There are all kinds of egg choices, of course, including a fried egg sandwich, ham and eggs, bacon and eggs, sausage and eggs, steak and eggs or steak only, which does not include eggs. Prices range from the $3.50 one egg, any style to the $8.50 steak and eggs. There are also some two or three egg omelets, depending on how many eggs you want in them, with all of the kinds of things that you would expect to find in such a concoction, like spinach, avocado, ham, bacon, sausage, mushroom, onion, chilis, artichoke hearts, olives. You know, omelet stuff. You can customize one or have the number 6 mushroom and cheese and you can order with the knowledge that you may not be as hungry for lunch as you usually are because all the egg dishes are served with homefries or grits and toast or biscuits. My companion had, from the specialty side of the menu the huevos rancheros, two eggs over homefries with lots of cheese, mushrooms, huevos sauce, onions and sour cream with a flour tortilla. As I said, he wasn’t as enthusiastic about lunch that day, as it was a serious heaping helping of breakfast. You should do whatever it takes to get some Two Rivers homefries into you, like ordering the special homefries with veggies and maybe even cheese.And you wanna talk side orders? I sure do. Somehow side orders just really excite me; a lot of little plates with individual food items on them. You could get one egg, a cinnamon roll, a biscuit with gravy, cottage cheese, yogurt and pork green chili as sides. Maybe even all at once. Hey, it’s your breakfast.Lunch at the Two Rivers will provide you with some hearty cafe grub that could easily include a variety of sandwiches, like turkey, roast beef, tuna melt, salami, reuben, grilled cheese, hamburger, cheeseburger or a veggie garden burger. All sandwiches are in the $5.25-$6 range and come with a choice of a side order.Some of the specialty sandwiches include the chopped sirloin on toast with mushrooms, patty melt, fish burger, French dip and teriyaki chicken, and if you want a soup or a salad then consider the chicken noodle (soup, that is), spinach salad or chef’s salad. By the time you read this, Two Rivers will probably be closed for to do a little remodeling. But have no fear, fellow French toast fanatics, they will be back with a fresh coat of paint in two weeks.If it all sounds so simple, it’s because it is. There is nothing complex about Two Rivers. Seat yourself. Eat in the bar if you want to smoke. Order up from the well loved menu and enjoy the fact that you are in one of those fleeting reservoirs of remaining realness in this Valley, one that just happens to deliver the goods when it comes to hearty, straightforward fare.