When the Vagabond closed last fall, it left South Park in much better shape than it found her, restaurant-wise. Not only did it prove the market existed for upscale dining south of Switzer Canyon, but its owners opened a sister restaurant that's still in business today: Café Madeleine.
Madeleine sits on the corner of Juniper and 30th (that is, the 30th Street that jumps a block west when it turns into Fern – as if canyon dead ends didn't make navigating these neighborhoods challenging enough already).
The French style café specializes in crêpes, and does a pretty good job at looking and feeling like the sort of café Francophiles dream about — right down to the antiquated looking storefront and quaint patio seating. Inside, it has a sort of shabby chic comfort, with different types of furniture, window seating, old copies of the Reader and large books featuring photographs of Paris.
On a sunny day, I'd have brought my dog to the patio seating and enjoyed curbside encounters with other friendly neighborhood folk walking their dogs to and from the nearby dog park. On this day the weather drove me inside, grabbing a coffee and ordering a slice of quiche Lorraine to enjoy while I read and gazed (what I hope was) enigmatically out the window.
I should profess to being a bit of a quiche snob, having learned to make the egg and crème pastry ten years ago, and insisting a restaurant offering should improve on my own design.
I'm happy to report, this quiche is better than mine. Actually, I'm not entirely happy about it and will soon retire to the kitchen to improve on my own recipe. Nevertheless, I enjoyed myself in true continental fashion other than the fact I ordered an Americano. Café Madeleine can't replace Vagabond, and was never meant to, but it gives a fine neighborhood a fine place to sit, relax, watch the world go by, and order a crêpe.