Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on May 13, 2022.
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East Liberty's recent growth always has made us wonder what will open in the neighborhood next. One thing East Liberty felt like it was lacking was a large, approachable coffee shop where you could both hang out for hours to work or stop by for a quick drink in a unique ambiance.
When Margaux opened, we knew it would be just that- this spacious cafe, bar, and restaurant space satisfies the need for a space to hang out as much as it is to drink and dine.
While we will need several visits to truly work our way through the menu here, on the first visit we visited for a light brunch and coffee.
Margaux is Worth a Visit for the Space as Much as the Menu
One of the highlights of Margaux is not necessarily the dining options, but the space. It is bright, airy, and is quite roomy as well.
In one quick glimpse around the building, we saw students studying, folks having casual business meetings, others enjoying a drink at a bar, and a few having a full breakfast as well. As many of the businesses in East Liberty are quite small such that you often feel a bit rushed, this one came with an ambiance you may not even realize the neighborhood needed until you see it. (Note: I did not take a photo of the space purely because of how busy it was.)
During our first visit, we went for brunch primarily to enjoy their coffee but also added on a few small plates for a light meal.
Margaux's coffee menu runs the spectrum of traditional coffee beverages without straying too far into unique creations, and our espresso and cortado were prepared nicely with a nice medium roast on the beans; however, in trying to figure out what roaster was used or any further information on our coffees beyond that was tricky (the online menu leaves us wanting a bit more on that front).
For food, we opted for the breakfast sandwich and mushroom toast.
The breakfast sandwich featured an herbed biscuit, a fried egg, cheese, arugula, and pepper jam which had a nice balance as the jam helped cut the flavors of the thick biscuit nicely (and, dare we say, a perfectly cooked dippy egg really made the order). The mushroom toast included a mushroom puree with fried onion and herbs which, while simple in terms of ingredients, was surprisingly rich and complex for only having such limited ingredients- we really could've eaten three of these it was that good!
Our only real concern with the food here is that the portions are rather small for their respective prices, but they satisfied our cravings all the same.
Likewise, while looking at the wine list we thought the lack of any wine from the Margaux wine region on the bar menu felt like an odd miss considering the cafe's name (would've loved that to be a premium house red). But we can get over that as the libations menu looks pretty respectable all the same despite not sampling it on this visit.
Overall, while we look forward to returning to Margaux for an evening visit for cocktails and more small plates, we have to admit that this one feels more like a place to start the evening with a round of beverages and a light appetizer as opposed to making a night out all the same (especially if food is on your radar as this one does not appear to have appreciable entree-sized dishes).
That being said, Margaux still serves a need in the neighborhood and we love that this one is open at all hours of the day be it as a cafe, brunch spot, or as a bar with some snack dishes as well. We see a coffee, cocktail, and mushroom toast for our next brunch visit without hesitation!
Margaux is located at 5947 Penn Avenue in East Liberty.
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