Minton’s is a modest little restaurant with arty décor, mildly challenging parking and limited hours.
The good news is that it’s on a thriving little stretch of North Limestone, and the service is excellent, in part because the dining room is so tiny the staff can see every customer, even those on the patio. Entrees with drink are about $10.
The other good news is that its hand-chalked menu presents some real treats.
Minton’s opened in 2012 and was dubbed a “treasure” by reviewer Wendy Miller in 2013. But we were curious about how the tiny restaurant was faring in the rapidly changing neighborhood of North Limestone. It no longer serves dinner, concentrating instead on an extended brunch and lunch business, and its food truck.
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On our first visit, the barbecue chicken and creamy cole slaw topping three cornbread patties was tasty and nicely balanced. The chicken had a tangy North Carolina vinegary sauce, and the cole slaw was thickly mayonnaised, not that milky gunk some restaurants serve.
We also liked the “jeesh” omelet, a vegetarian omelet that was more a frittata, full of vegetables and a much-appreciated smoked vegetarian sausage. The omelet was served with plain toast.
Minton’s offers both vegetarian and vegan options. Soft drinks including Ale-8-One are available via a stand-alone cooler.
We have but one complaint about Minton’s: It’s charming and, for lunch, it falls into that sweet $10 tab area, but the entrees are on the plainish side, and sometimes on the smallish side as well. It’s nice to take a stand against bulky restaurant portions, but the barbecue chicken/corn bread item was so light it didn’t do a good job of weighing down the plate on which it was served.
And the jeesh omelet could have used some kind of adornment, perhaps a cut strawberry or sprig of parsley, or even a pat of butter for the toast.
On the second visit, we had a daily special BLT with goat cheese spread, which was tasty and was served with huge slices of fresh tomato on a bed of chips. Some reviewers on online sites have beefed about chips instead of a side with Minton’s sandwich, but it seemed no big deal to us for a neighborhood café.
A bigger deal was the absence of desserts, which we would surely have tried. In 2013, our reviewer was over the moon for banana-walnut cake and molten chocolate cake. Minton’s website lists scrumptious desserts for order, with ingredients including caramel sauce and mascarpone.
Ashley Minton, the owner, is a pastry chef, and the second time we visited, a big and clearly custom cake was boxed up on the counter, but the menu listed no desserts. The first time we visited, there was a single slice of dessert available in the back, so we passed.
From the breakfast menu, we tried the stuffed French toast with chunky peanut butter and apple butter. The food was tasty, but a more generous hand with the fillings would have helped — the chunky peanut butter was delicious, but I didn’t taste the apple butter at all, and I grew up with apple butter used as frequently as ketchup. A Minton’s customer will be quickly disabused of the notion that French toast comes with a thick eggy coating. Ours was light and airy.
Service was friendly and consistently attentive. Our entrees were a bit slow to arrive on one visit, which was odd given that our order was relatively uncomplicated, but service was quick on the second visit, even given the presence of a large party on the patio.
Minton’s is near Broomwagon Kentucky for Kentucky and The Wild Fig Bookstore. It’s a nice place to land between wanderings around North Limestone. It’s unobtrusive but worth your time.
There’s no beer or wine, but then, with a closing time of 3 p.m., the restaurant isn’t courting the cocktail business. Also, Minton’s is too small for a Kentucky wine and beer license.
Where: 760 North Limestone
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tues.-Sun.