Where: 1126 S. State Street, Orem, UT (near University Mall across State Street)
Distance: 2.7 Miles
Restaurant Type: Single Location
Cuisine: Breakfast/Brunch, Southern/Soul, Burgers
My Frequency: First and Second Time
Who: John and Brent
Food: Pancake Combo, Biscuits and Gravy, a side of Grits, and Orange Juices. Second visit: Mushroom Swiss Burger
Price: $26.70 for two for breakfast with drinks and with tip (plan on between about $5-10 per person, we just tried a lot the first time)
Joe's Cafe is so small I almost missed it. Look for the orange sign on the left hand side of State Street if you're heading north. It's situated between a tanning parlor and a dress store. You can park right out front or in the back. This is a one-man show, and I'm not just calling it that because only one person is working. Joe is the show. From the moment we walked in, we knew we were somewhere special.
The interior and decorations are pretty simple. On the wall there are hundreds of pictures of previous guests with our main man, Joe. He really makes you feel at home. We ordered OJ both times we've been there. Each time, Joe's given us a half glass or so, had us bottom up right at the counter, and then topped us off. This place is beaming with southern hospitality that can't be matched.
You can tell by just looking that these aren't your typical biscuits and gravy. These are straight from the south. The sausage has a perfect spice and is very flavorful. The biscuits are hidden under this heaven of a gravy and are cut ready for perfect bites. Brent tried to order a side of hash browns, but Joe insisted that he try the grits, promising that if he didn't like them that he'd give him some hash browns for free. We didn't like the grits, we LOVED them. They are very tasty and a perfect complement to the biscuits and gravy or the pancakes because they are more mild and not as loaded with butter, but still very good.
These pancakes are out of this world. I feel that pancakes at most places are pretty similar, but Joe's are amazing. They are somehow both crispy and fluffy at the same time. Also, you get a ton. This is the "3 stack," which was more than I could handle. You see the pool of butter on the left hand side of the plate? That's just what dripped off. These are the butteriest bits of deliciousness I have ever tasted. Load it up with syrup and the fluffy, crispy, buttery combination just melts in your mouth.
I thought after the pancakes, grits, and gravy, how are these sides going to fare? The eggs and sausage link were both great, but honestly fairly ordinary after the other delectable dishes. BUT the bacon was to die for. Thick, crispy, and cooked to perfection. Your heart may not feel great afterwards, but your stomach sure will.
After this amazing breakfast experience, I had to go back for a burger. I was going to wait after what my heart was feeling, but Brent and I only lasted two days. I figured if you have a dream about a place, you should probably go back, right? Brent even tried to go the day in-between. The burger was thick and juicy. I added bacon after my experience with it a couple days earlier. It was seasoned very well, and the mushrooms were fresh and sautéed perfectly. The garnishes were piled on the side of my already colossal burger.
Because Joe has such a unique personality for this area, I thought I ought to include a section of what I'm calling Joe-isms:
"That's what I'm taking about"
"Slap your momma it's good"
"I appreciate you daddy"
"You better believe it"
"Come on back and see me baby"
"How you want your eggs daddy?"
"What you drinking today"
"Y'all got full? That's my main thing"
Do differently next time:
I went for both breakfast and lunch, but I'd recommend breakfast any day of the week. I'd recommend it for every day of the week if health and money weren't an issue. If you're going later in the day and someone's feeling lunch, they'll be happy, but I promise they'll be happier with the breakfast.
Absolutely Go. This place, the food, and the personality are all worth your time and money. Forget Denny's and IHOP, go to Joe's. He serves breakfast all day (open till 4), so if you have a lazy start to your day and need some soul food to get you going, Joe's your man. Even if you're not hungry, I recommend going just to be called "Daddy" or "Princess" by the coolest black guy in town. I promise you won't regret it.