Taste Buds: City Lights Cafe

The smell of cinnamon fills the room as owner Bernadette Peters moves around the kitchen. A relaxing ambiance embraces you as you wait for your order. A group of ladies reads over the menu, deciding what they want. City Lights Café is, in our opinion, the perfect place. 
A delightful café on the corner of Spring Street and Jackson Street in Sylva, City Lights Café has a variety of food and drink options for anyone interested in stopping by.
The shop has been around roughly 15 years but has only been City Lights Café since April 2011. Prior to April, the shop was closed since October 2010 before owners Peters and Patricia Thomas rented the shop to create City Lights Café
The idea for City Lights Café came from many restaurants in the city of Decatur, Ga. Peters spent some time in Decatur and was inspired by these different restaurants and wanted to bring it here. Peters was told to try out her idea in a small town before spreading outwards, thus City Lights Café was born.
The café offers food selections range from savory crêpe s, grilled Paninis, soups and gourmet pasta dish.
The coffee and espresso is made from Tribal Grounds, and all their smoothies are homemade with real fruit. 
Their savory crêpes range from $6.95 to $10.95, the Big Fat Greek, a customer favorite, comes with hormone-free antibiotic-free grilled chicken, organic spinach, feta, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers and their own Greek dressing.
City Lights Café makes all of their dressing. They have lemon-vinaigrette, honey balsamic, Greek and Tahini, which is peanut butter made with sesame seeds.
Peters and Thomas made sure to take in allergy precautions with all their food. Many items can be made dairy-free, marked with a DF; gluten-free, marked GF; and vegetarian, marked with Veg. They also mark on their menu to let them know of any other allergies you might have.
City Lights Café’s ingredients, besides their meat, are all local. Their meat is from a natural supplier.
Grilled Paninis range from their grilled cheese, vegetarian with cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella and feta, for $6.95, to their Totally Tempeh, organic tempeh, roasted red peppers, organic spinach, Swiss and their spicy honey mustard, for $10.95.
One of the fan favorites is the Downtown Turkey Club Panini for $9.95, which is made from all-natural turkey breast, crispy bacon, organic spinach, Swiss cheese, fresh guacamole and mayo. The plate also comes with a choice of tortilla chips and their house-made salsa or a simple green salad.
We were treated to the Downtown Turkey Club with a strawberry-banana smoothie found on the lunch menu. From the breakfast menu, we tried a cinnamon toast crêpe  with a Juicy Fruit smoothie. 
The strawberry-banana smoothie was unbelievably fresh as if the restaurant has some secret garden to grow their fruit onsite. The Juicy Fruit smoothie immediately woke you up with its tangy, tart flavor. The refreshing drink is made from freshly cut seasonal fruits mixed with orange juice. After taking a few sips, you feel energized and ready to run a marathon. Smoothie prices are $3.95 for a small, $4.95 for a medium and $5.95 for a large. 
The Downtown Turkey Club, cut into a diagonal, was lightly toasted and lightly covered in chives. A handful of tortilla chips lay beside the Panini with a cup of their house-made salsa on the side. 
None of the ingredients stuck out with the Panini. They all blended together and complimented the turkey. The bread was not too hard or too soft. For us, who are extremely picky eaters-one of us who does not eat anything but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches-extremely enjoyed this tasty sandwich. 
The tortilla chips were a delicious side to the sandwich. The salsa was not too spicy and was just the perfect touch to the meal.
The cinnamon toast crêpe melted in your mouth. Decorated with three sprints of whipped cream at each corner, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and dusted with powdered sugar, the breakfast/dessert item will make you come back for more. The papery thin crêpe is perfect to the last bite. 
Other crêpes offered include: apple pie crêpe, baked apples with cinnamon and caramel topped with whipped cream, for $5.95; eggs benedict crêpe , scrambled farm fresh eggs, ham and Swiss with hollandaise sauce inside and out, for $8.95; and strawberry cheese crêpe , fresh strawberries, preserves and sweet cream cheese, for $$5.95. They also cook arriba breakfast burritos, farm-fresh scrambled eggs with cheddar, black beans, salsa, organic spinach and fresh guacamole, for $7.95 and power waffle sandwich, which consists of two whole grain waffles stuffed with peanut butter, cream cheese, honey and bananas, for $5.95. 
Dinner is served after 5 p.m. and consists of pasta and salads from their olive oil & parmesan penne for $9.95 to the Big Fat Greek pasta for $14.95.
Most of their food is in the $4.95-$10.95 price range. When coming up with the ideas for the recipes, Peters and Thomas made sure that all of their ingredients could be used with multiple recipes but still create many flavors.
The Café also offers catering, private parties, and gourmet to-go.
“We can do platters for visiting athletic teams, hospitals or to house parties,” said Peters.
City Lights Café also offers live music, poetry readings and art.
“We wanted to make a community space,” said Peters.
A stage was built to accommodate musicians and occasionally host poetry slams for the high school if they need a space. Artists can get space on the walls, with no commission, for one month. The café will also host the reception for the artist.
If you are also a dog owner, City Lights Café hosts a “Yappy Hour & Puppuccino Day” every fourth Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. Bring your dog to the patio to meet other dog owners and enjoy drink specials and dog treats.
Other events include “Thirsty Thursday,” where all wine and beer is a dollar off. Friday and Saturdays is host to the live music.
This is a place that one could sit at for hours, in our opinion. The staff makes sure you’re taken care of, the food is amazing and the atmosphere is delightful. Play one of the many board games like Monopoly or Candyland. Study in a leather couch, go upstairs to the bookstore and curl up with the store cats in front of the fireplace, or enjoy the mountain breeze on their outdoor patio. If you want to continue supporting the local business, purchase one of their purple T-shirts, travel mugs (which include a free brewed coffee with your purchase) and dog biscuits.  
For more information, check out their website at citylightscafe.com or call 828-587-2233.