Fairfield’s Incomparable Cafe Paradiso’s Brunch

Photo of the facade of the Cafe ParadisoWe were traveling to south-east Iowa not long ago and dropped in on Fairfield’s Cafe Paradiso. This is a well-regarded coffee shop right on the northwest corner of the town square. Fairfield is one of those county seat towns that is doing things right. Cafe Paradiso is in a very well restored corner storefront. I doubt that this facade looked this nice when it was built.
Step inside and you are greeted with a comfortable mishmash of styles keying off the Michelangelo’s Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel gracing and dominating the north wall. I’m not sure if there was any particular purpose in choosing this scene, but it somehow fits into the scheme. I didn’t get close enough to figure out if this is an actual painting or a printed reproduction, but it is interesting.

Pass under some engineered bracing installed to punch through the load-bearing wall and you enter the kitchen and order bar. Here you will find a massive and undoubtedly expensive Nuova Simonelli espresso machine ready to serve some of the best coffee anywhere. Cafe Paradiso even roasts its own beans to control the quality.

Thinking that the main dish might be on the lean side (big mistake) given some other experiences with local brunch menus, we decided to start off by splitting a cinnamon roll. Wow. This was no ordinary cinnamon roll. It was pumped full of brown sugar and cinnamon and all sorts of caramelized goodness. If that was all we ate, then I am sure we could have settled with splitting this very large roll for brunch. I can honestly say that this was one of the best rolls I’ve had.

Next up was the French Toast. It was made with organic sourdough and covered with real maple syrup, blueberries and powdered sugar. A full order costs $7.25. If you want to try anything else, I recommend the half order at $4.25. The full order is massive. This is not just three slices of wonderbread dipped in egg product. These are full-on sourdough slices slathered in real eggs. The blueberries were perfect and the whole pile was enough for a hungry lumberjack.
a close up of the french toast at the cafe paradiso
I sampled the cheese omelete. It is made with locally laid organic eggs and full of Radiance Diary Jack cheese. ($6.75). It was fabulous as well. The brunch menus change around between Saturday and Sunday so be sure to check the twitter feed or website for an update.

Fairfield is lucky to have such a nice cafe. It was obvious that the Cafe has a devoted following. Of course Fairfield attracts some interesting people who are not your usual small town crowd of bib overalls and Walmart blouses. And where else in Iowa are you going to find a poster of a crystal bowl healing ceremony?

Cafe Paradiso
101 N. Main St
Fairfield, Iowa 52556
Open Monday – Saturday 7 am – 5 pm
Sunday 8 am – 5 pm


5 thoughts on “Fairfield’s Incomparable Cafe Paradiso’s Brunch

  1. Sound delicious!

    Any recommendations for Sunday Brunch in Des Moines? There yesterday with friends, they said that they had good Saturday places but had yet to find a good Sunday. We tried to get into Mullet’s — aside from objecting to the kitschy/classist name, my 13 month old couldn’t take the wait. We ended up at Star Bar. A decent meal but flashbacks of spending a sick morning at a girlfriend’s mom house after a great night there five years back.

  2. Also, Mullet’s is great stuff, but it is always packed on weekends for breakfast. They also do breakfast all during the week from 7-11am, I believe?

  3. I seem to be having trouble getting my own comments posted. I will try this again. First, InthewaterDSM’s comments are on point. Another good brunch is served at the Radish in Grimes. Centro has an “off the menu” brunch, but no buffet. Finally, Mullet’s can be either the hairstyle or the fish called a mullet and the mascot of the restaurant. I’ve not tried their brunch.

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