Genuine Yum Cafe

Posted on: February 25th, 2011

This wonderful write up is for one of our graduates, Dawn Smith.

Written by Scott Joseph,
Orlando Restaurant Guide

I found a nice little cafe the other day. And by found I mean someone told me about it. And by someone I mean the owner of the cafe.

Restaurant owners regularly send me notes about their places, and I always enjoy hearing about them. In case you haven’t noticed, Central Florida was one whopping-big place. Driving up and down every street looking for new and interesting eateries just isn’t practical. I depend on readers and restaurateurs to give me a heads up.

Of course, that can be a dangerous thing, too. There have been many times that restaurant owners or chefs have invited me to come by and check their places out only to be disappointed at my take on their restauranting of cheffing skills.

But the e-mail from Dawn Smith was different. It had no braggadocio nor did it smack of desperation. It was…well, I’ll let Dawn tell you:

“Our philosophy for food is simple. We believe in genuine food – that is to say – no prepared foods, no preservatives, (no kidding).  We roast our own turkeys – yes, they taste like turkey, smoke turkey breasts, use only fresh Angus half pound burgers.  Our breads are made for us daily by Shannon Talty’s bakery – Olde Hearth Bakery — we make our soups from scratch daily.  We make our stocks from BONES.  We believe in the slow food movement….

“I would like to think more people out there want to know about us.”

I think so, too. So I’m glad to tell you about Genuine Yum Cafe. OK, it’s not the greatest name, but you can’t have everything. And considering that it’s a new name, designed to delineate it from the main business, Incredibly Edible Catering, it’s probably an improvement.

GYC is located on Sligh Boulevard across the street from the Amtrak station — you know, the place where the non-high-speed-rail trains come in. If you haven’t been on this stretch of road, which runs from Gore to Miller Street, you’re missing a fun and funky neighborhood. It’s well hidden behind the Orlando Health complex, whose employees benefit from the little eateries along the three block stretch.

Genuine Yum is not a full-service restaurant. You order your food at the counter and then take a seat in the other room or at one of the tables on the sidewalk outside. When your order is ready, one of the friendly staffers will bring it to you. It’s open only for breakfast and lunch, with the noontime menu being mainly sandwiches, soups, wraps and a quiche or two. And you’ll find some daily specials.

That’s what I focused on when I visited recently. I chose the teriyaki chicken soup and a chicken cordon bleu sandwich. The soup had an obvious fresh-made quality, and the teriyakiness of it, which for many restaurants means just adding a load of soy sauce, was more nuanced.

The sandwich was very good, a thick breast topped with ham and a thick slice of melted cheese. The saltiness of the ham really brought out the other flavors. The fries that accompanied the sandwich were merely OK.

The cafe isn’t the prettiest of places, but it fits into the funkiness of the neighborhood. The walls are a lime green, and the counter has a slap-dash sort of look. But I like the bright and open feel of the place.

Genuine Yum Cafe is at 1321 Sligh Blvd., Orlando. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Here’s a link to the Genuine Yum Cafe Web site. The phone number is 407-835-7172.