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Something’s A-brewin’ in Oswego

Oswego Tea Company has a strong focus on food, not just tea

By Christopher Malone

The gyro omelet, complete with seasoned meat, peppers and onions, feta cheese, and tzatziki sauce.

The Northgate Crossing building on East First Street in Oswego is a difficult one to miss or forget.

Not only does the structure’s name sound like something medieval or something J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis or similar authors could conger up, the red edifice also boasts castle aesthetics. It’s not brooding, but houses an eclectic group of unique local businesses.

The Oswego Tea Company is one of them, joining Misfit Games and Golden Gate Bridal to name a couple.

To enter the café and bakery, patrons use the main entrance at the front of the building — no, there is no drawbridge.

The interior of the bakery is absolutely beautiful. It makes a heckuva first impression with its brick walls, stained glass windows and aroma.

From high-top tables for two to four people, which are placed near the windows welcoming no shortage of natural lighting, to longer non-window tables, there are plenty of places to sit.

Looking back at the title and subtitle of this article: Maybe it’s me but when I hear tea company, I envision a plethora of tea — loose leaf to bagged, several varieties and brands, a whole section with jars and large glass containers filled with loose leaf flavors so people can point their fingers at when deciding what to buy and how much.

This is not that kind of tea emporium. Don’t worry, The Oswego Tea Company has a tea menu with pages filled with teas and descriptions.

Although I did not opt for tea the morning of this review, my personal feelings toward tea are actually greater when compared coffee. In my opinion, tea has more health benefits. The caffeine kick feels different and is greater for non-herbal teas.

Dessert: banana, strawberry, and Nutella crepe is packed with fruit and hazelnut condiment.

Teas also boast more flavor. Don’t shake your head. Many flavored coffees out there are artificially flavored, which is why they taste like garbage and come with a side of headache.

Oswego Tea Company also serves Starbucks Coffee. I went with coffee ($3) here to prove another personal theory, which also relates to flavor. Starbucks’ drip coffee at any location tastes burned. When the brand’s coffee is brewed elsewhere, it tastes normal and good. The café proved me correct.

Moving on to food: The gyro omelet ($10.75), which is complete with seasoned meat, peppers and onions, feta cheese, and tzatziki sauce could be my favorite Greek-styled omelets. The seasoning wasn’t overwhelming or salty and the house-made sauce was light and delightful.

It came with crispy home fries and Oswego Tea Company’s Italian bread. The seasoned starches and carbs were enjoyed guilt-free. The bread was light, fluffy and delicious, withstanding the heaviness of the omelet.

The carbs kept coming with the chicken and biscuits ($12.95). Oswego Tea Company’s homemade biscuits came smothered in the seasoned gravy with tender chicken and vegetables. The menu says the veggies are locally obtained, and I believe it — it’s all in the taste.

The typically heavy breakfast item isn’t overly heavy. The biscuits, going along with the Italian bread, weren’t intimidating. They were hearty but didn’t lack with the airy, lighter homemade aspects.

The trio of specialty pancakes ($5.25/single, $9.25/short stack or two, $12.75/full stack or three) presented a difficult decision. In the end, I opted for the banana nut over the double chocolate or cinnamon swirl.

Pancakes:I opted for the banana nut over the double chocolate or cinnamon swirl.

Start with a couple of large, nut-filled fluffy pancakes. Cue the candied walnuts. Throw on the crème brûlée bananas. The duo of browned pancakes was as filling as tasty. The double trouble flapjacks, being the heaviest items of the meal, achieved the unofficial comfort food award.

And for dessert, the banana, strawberry, and Nutella crepe. ($12.95/full plate, $9.50/half plate). I opted for the half plate, which is one crepe packed with the aforementioned fruit and hazelnut condiment.

The full plate is definitely more cost effective but one crepe is easily shareable between two people. Aside from boasting the sweet ingredients, the crepe had almost savory qualities.

Before tip, the total bill came to exactly $47.

Oswego Tea Company has its offerings down pat and at reasonable prices. It’s a clean and comfortable year-round spot, which is probably extra cozy in the winter. It’s one of those places which will have visitors wondering why they may not go there as often as they should.

Oswego Tea Company

157 E. First St.

Oswego, N.Y. 13126


Open Thursdays thru Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.