Bakery’s popularity leads to tasty meals

The Atcha Bakery & Cafe, an unpretentious and lovingly run Greek and Lebanese café near the LSU campus (corner of Nicholson Drive and Aster Street), had a steady stream of customers early on a recent Thursday evening.

The place started out as a bakery, making Mediterranean bread and pastries when it opened in a former Pizza Hut building in 1998, but followed customer requests to expand the menu, according to the restaurant’s story charmingly told on its website, http://www.atchabakery.com.

Choosing from the dishes pictured in glossy prints on the wall behind the counter, we chose the vegetarian special ($8.49); chicken shawarma plate ($6.99); a gyro plate ($6.99); and a chicken sandwich meal ($4.49).

The vegetarian special came with lots of goodies that ended up being shared around the table: three servings of falafel, the deep-fried patty of ground chickpeas and spices, and three servings of seasoned rice rolled in grape leaves, along with a feta salad, hummus and the eggplant dish baba ganoush.

It was a light but satisfying meal, especially with all the variety.

The chicken schwarma, the dish grilled and thinly shaved from the vertical spit, was moist and flavorful.

Our guest who chose the beef gyros, served with white sauce, also found it well-seasoned and cooked the perfect amount of time.

The chicken sandwich was a wrap loaded with slender, tender slices of chicken.

Homemade hummos and pita bread and a good feta salad, not drenched with dressing, came with the plates.

We also enjoyed the delicately flavored yellow rice, typically made with saffron, that accompanied all the dishes.

For dessert, Atcha offers a brownie topped with chocolate icing and the traditional baklava, the layers of thin, flaky phylo pastry filled with chopped nuts.

We went with the latter and it was a light, sweet ending to a nice meal.

We’ve learned that the online menu presently on the restaurant’s website has changed and it’s more accurate to go in to check out the menu on the wall.

For a comfortable, relaxed meal at good prices, Atcha is a natural, especially for students and those living in the LSU area.