There's always room for a new breakfast place, especially when it's of good quality and even better, independently owned. Welcome to Mimi's Star Cafe, a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch that opened in early December at 19177 Preston Rd., in a center at the intersection of Mapleshade Road, a block south of the George Bush Turnpike, in what used to be a Chinese restaurant called China Wok.
The restaurant has been given a fresh, clean update, with modern gray tiles, and is convenient to the Turnpike — one of the factors that made it an appealing location, says co-owner Jessie Demiri.
Mimi's is a family-owned venture from Jessie and and her husband Chipi; and her cousin Afrim Ibisihi and his wife Tina. Afrim and Jessie are restaurant industry veterans; Afrim owns a restaurant in Illinois called Marseilles Family Restaurant.
They bring with them an exacting eye for quality that's evident in the fresh ingredients used on dishes such as chicken poblano soup and a wrap sandwich made with fresh spinach and chunks of tender white-meat chicken. They take things like fresh-squeezed orange juice for granted; of course it would be fresh-squeezed.
Their menu includes pancakes, omelets, benedicts, Belgian waffles, skillets, banana-Nutella crepes, biscuits, and French toast. At lunch, there are sandwiches, salads, panini, burgers, wraps, and melts. There's Chicago-style Italian beef and a gyro plate on pita bread.
They do a different soup daily along with specials such as fried chicken and waffles served with a side of sausage gravy.
It's a little bit American diner mixed with Middle-Eastern and some Southern thrown in for good measure. But there's also a touch of gourmet that includes espresso drinks such as macchiatos, cappuccinos, and lattes. And if you like variety breads beyond dull white, there's raisin toast, sourdough bread, English muffins, and biscuits and gravy made in-house.
"We also have fresh fruit as a side for any item, and we do berry versions of our breakfast dishes like berry French toast, and waffles that we serve with fresh berries," Jessie says. "We're going for food that's healthy and good."
The hottest seller so far has been a bit of a surprise. "Our avocado toast with smoked salmon has been our best-seller, it's something unique," she says.
She says they feel like they're on the right track, based on the positive reaction they've received.
"I've been in the restaurant business all my life, but this is the first place that I've opened, and it's very gratifying, because all we've heard is how amazing the food is," she says.