For a long time, I thought Pembroke Bakery, located inside the Auer Center on Main Street, was just that – a bakery. I knew it specialized in gluten-free baked goods that my gluten-intolerant friends enjoy, but I had no idea it has a tasty café menu that caters to vegans and vegetarians. Pembroke also offers “regular” baked goods, and I can attest that the bagels are delicious. Now that I work in the same building as the small eatery, I find myself there for lunch several times a week, and I have never been disappointed. While you may wait awhile as they prepare your food, the service is always friendly and you’re bound to run into someone you know. Plus, you can watch the dancers at the Fort Wayne Ballet while you wait or pop into Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery to see me. There are a few tables available inside the café and additional seating in the lobby of the Auer Center.
Here are my top picks from the menu:
Beet Burger ($6.50): Made with roasted beets, black beans and onions and topped with vegan pickled veggie mayo, lettuce and tomato on a house-made bun, this may be the most unique “burger” in town. If you aren’t a fan of beets, it’s not for you, but if you like them even a little bit, you have to try it. Earthy, savory and a little spicy, this burger hits the spot and doesn’t weigh you down like a typical burger.
Black Bean Burger ($6.50): This patty is made with black beans, onions, garlic, red bell pepper, poblano chili peppers, chili molido, oregano, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil and topped with avocado vinaigrette and red cabbage-cilantro slaw. A little bit spicy, a little bit sweet and a whole lot of yummy. According to Pembroke staff, this has quickly become the most popular item on the menu – and for good reason. The avocado vinaigrette is so good I could drink it.
Teriyaki Bento ($6.75): When I am looking for something light and filling, this combination of sautéed vegetables and tofu with teriyaki sauce and seasoned Japanese rice is my go-to. I love the tangy teriyaki sauce and the crunchy fresh vegetables. The sticky Japanese rice adds some filler to soak up the sauce without being too heavy.
Chickpea Salad ($6.50): Slow cooked chickpeas, onions, celery, dill pickles and vegenaise are served on house-made herb whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato and balsamic vinaigrette. I often opt to have this served as a salad instead of a sandwich, but it’s good either way, providing just enough energy to propel you through the afternoon.
While the above mentioned items top my list from the regular menu, Pembroke offers rotating daily specials, including some creative soups made from house-made stocks and organic ingredients, that have really wowed me. You never know what to expect, but you won’t be disappointed. Pembroke also offers a full catering menu for your event or party with options like falafel, Thai lettuce rolls, butternut squash ravioli and curried red lentils, just to name a few.