Restaurant Review: Restaurant Reviews
Walton's Fancy and Staple pulls out all the stops in its newly refurbished West Sixth Street building
Reviewed by Kate Thornberry, Fri., July 17, 2009
Mon.-Wed., 7am-7pm; Thu.-Sat., 7am-9:30pm; Sun., 8am-4pm
Walton's Fancy and Staple609 W. Sixth, 542-3380
It's difficult – no, it's impossible – to write about Walton's without praising the loving restoration of the historic West Sixth Street building it now occupies. Clearly, no expense was spared and no corners cut; from the creamy restored white woodwork of the doors and windows to the solid brass bathroom fixtures, every detail is satisfyingly complete. The overall atmosphere is lovely and prosperous in a way rarely encountered in today's cost-cutting business environment.
Walton's is a dual concern: It's a bakery, coffee shop, and sandwich counter, as well as a florist and gift shop. The floral aspect offers some great bargains (a dozen gigantic roses for $15, 10 stems of Gerber daisies for $8), but it primarily functions as a serene setting for the cafe. Thanks to excellent financial backing (as part of Sandra Bullock's business empire), Walton's is able to offer its wares at competitive prices in spite of the money lavished on the fixtures. For example, the La Marzoco espresso machine is top-notch, and the espresso itself is strong, low-acid, and heavenly; nevertheless, all of the espresso drinks are priced from $2.25 to $3.85.
The sandwich counter offers six hot, nine cold, and six panini sandwiches, priced from $5.50 to $12.50, with most less than $7. Pretty standard, until you consider that Walton's is using only the choicest premium ingredients: Niman Ranch, Applegate Farms, and Applewood deli meats; Maytag blue, imported Stilton, Saint-André Brie, and Vermont cheddar cheese. The dressings and spreads are made in-house, as are the meatballs, eggplant Parmesan, roasted vegetables, and, of course, all the breads.
The building houses a good-sized working bakery in the back, where all the bakery items and sandwich breads are made. Walton's bakes multigrain, French white, baguettes, ciabatta, brioche, sourdough, foccacia, challah, and rye, supplying not only itself but a few other restaurants around town (see "Max's Wine Dive"). Bread can be bought by the loaf ($4-6) or half-loaf. The pastries, muffins, scones, cupcakes, cheesecakes, and cakes are reasonably priced as well. The lemon tart ($3) is a standout, with a crisp, short pastry and a tart, deeply lemony filling, as are the Golden Egg ($1), a delicately spice-flavored sponge cake, and the fresh-daily croissants ($2.25). Walton's is well-staffed with an enthusiastic crew that will steer you toward the freshest baked goods and make sandwich recommendations if you ask.
On the downside, Walton's has no free Wi-Fi and no free parking: You either have to pay $5 to park in the lot next to the building or seek out a meter and hoof it.