Home-style cooking hallmark of Sylvia’s Café
For Taylor Montigny, running Sylvia’s Café is all about taking care of the people who come through the doors to eat.
“We really do cater to the individual customer in small ways,” said Montigny, who along with his wife, Codie, purchased the popular Mill Mall eatery in 2008. Taylor had worked there for several years before that.
Catering to customer requests — whether for extra-crispy bacon or a mayo-free lobster roll — isn’t considered difficult at Sylvia’s, according to Taylor.
“It’s normal,” he said. “It’s what we do.”
Last fall, the Montignys celebrated the café’s 25th anniversary.
In addition to making the menu affordable, Taylor said he also takes pride in offering good quality food and large portion sizes. The café’s namesake was known for using quality ingredients and making some food from scratch, and Taylor said he’s taken that approach even further.
Biscuits, muffins and bread are among the homemade items. Rather than use deli meats, ham is cut off the bone and turkey is roasted on site.
The latter is used for one of Sylvia’s most popular offerings, a turkey club. Belgian waffles are a popular breakfast choice, as is the No. 4 special.
Taylor also said he makes a point to work with local suppliers as much as possible, whether it’s for paper products or potatoes. As an example, he said the ground beef used in the burgers is all purchased at Friends & Family Market.
A new addition to the menu at Sylvia’s in recent years is “The Hibernator,” described as a “true Downeast eating challenge.”
It includes a tall stack of buttermilk pancakes topped with a scrambler (another menu offering with two eggs and toppings), corned beef hash, two more eggs cooked to the customer’s request, served with bacon, sausage and ham, plus one biscuit.
Here’s how the challenge works: if one person (“No help, no exceptions!” the menu states) can eat the entire meal in less than 30 minutes, the eater gets the meal for free, a T-shirt recognizing his or her feat and a photo on the “Wall of Fame.”
If a person fails, he or she has to pay the $30 menu price and gets a photo on the adjacent “Wall of Shame.”
Taylor said more than 100 people have tried the challenge so far, with a fair number of eaters on either wall. The record belongs to a man who downed “The Hibernator” in 13 minutes. Winners are seen smiling and giving the thumbs up, while losers are frowning and flashing the thumbs down sign.
“It’s a very doable challenge,” said Taylor, who quickly admitted he wouldn’t be able to finish it, however. He said the pancakes alone would likely do him in.
Among those who count Sylvia’s as part of the Ellsworth experience are a loyal base of regular customers that is constantly growing (“We create new regulars every day,” said Taylor) and tourists passing through who heard about Sylvia’s through word of mouth or by reading reviews on a travel website.
Sylvia’s CaféWhere: 248 State St. (The Mill Mall), Suite 8, in EllsworthHours: Monday, 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Contact: Call 667-7014, or search for Sylvia’s Café on Facebook.