Urban Chez is a locally owned fast-casual restaurant offering a new style of food and service to Madison, Alabama. I really want to go into more detail, but if I did, this review would be miles long. You simply have to experience it for yourself. So here is what I loved the most:
- Everything is made from scratch
- A lot of the ingredients are locally-sourced
- Gluten-free options are available
- They have the highest quality soft serve ice cream on the market
- They utilize technology in a whole new way, making the ordering of your food easy and fun
- They have a terrific kids menu
- They bus the tables
I spoke with Manager Rebel Judge who recommended some items to try. We started with a Bubble Waffle, which can be ordered with all kinds of toppings. It was light, airy and slightly sweet. And we simply had to try their funnel cake fries! These are a less messy way to eat funnel cake and they came with both a honey sauce (our favorite) and a marshmallow sauce. They were quite addictive and make a yummy dessert even though they are listed under their “Small Plates” menu.
I really want to go into more detail, but if I did, this review would be MILES long. You simply have to experience it for yourself.
We also tried the Chips & Queso which was delicious and we love that their chips are friend in-house. Their Pasta Chips Marinara are bow tie pasta that is battered and crispy, served with a bowl of made-from-scratch marinara with goat cheese from Belle Chevre. We were very impressed as a good marinara isn’t easy to make, and our four year-old loved it! The Soft Pretzel Sticks & Beer Cheese Dip was the best I’ve ever had anywhere—the pretzels were light and fluffy and the cheese sauce was scrumptious. The Madison County Sandwich was amazing too! And I’m told it seems to be a big favorite along with their Spicy Cajun Pasta.
I had to try their Bubble Tea, which apparently is very popular in places like Taiwan, Japan and New York City. The options for ordering a Bubble Tea were pretty mind-blowing to this small town, southern gal, so Ms. Judge helped me choose a black tea and white peach with tapioca pearls. The restaurant has a fancy machine that makes these drinks and the cup is sealed on top with a cartoon character—very trendy and popular in the bigger cities. It was creamy and I liked the peach flavor, but I don’t know if I’m quite ready to chew while I’m drinking… Maybe I’ll try a different add-on next time.
In the next couple of weeks, Urban Chez is going to build up to offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their liquor license is coming and they’ll be able to offer wine and beer (19 bottles, three on-tap, and three canned). They also hope to offer a nice brunch at a later date, and they have an outside patio that would be nice to sit on. Soon, customers will be able to park in designated parking spots and use a phone app to place their order and employees will bring it to their cars. Don’t like to stand in line at the counter? Soon, they will have a kiosk near the front door where customers can order and pay and then have a seat. Decide you want to order something else after you’ve already sat down? Wait staff will walk around with iPods and be able to swipe your credit card at your table.
Urban Chez has high chairs and booster seats. I love the fact that they have a changing table and a step stool in both the men’s and women’s restrooms and that their booster seats are washed in a dishwasher after every use. (How many times have you tried to wipe them down with wet wipes at other restaurants?!)
But the best thing about Urban Chez is that it’s not a chain restaurant, so they can listen to what diners want and change up their menu whenever they need to. In fact, Ms. Judge told me that they are currently keeping a list of what customers are saying and each week they review the list to see if they need to add something to the menu or change something. So, it will interesting to see how they evolve over the next year, depending on what kind of feedback they hear from their customers!