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Town & Gown Bistro: Solid Meals for Any Style!

The building at 119 N.
River Road in West
Lafayette has always
been a bit of an odd
duck. Getting in or out
is tricky. The first floor
is tiny. Parking is … a
gamble. (More on that
later.)

Several businesses have come and gone.
But in its third year of tenure, Town &
Gown Bistro capably caters to differing
demographics for quick breakfast, upscale
dinner and everything in between. (Plus,
breakfast all day? Yes, please.)

[widgetkit id=”96″ name=”2018-07 Town & Gown Bistro”]

Town & Gown is owned by Chef Matt
O’Neill, an Ireland native who also owns
Bloomington’s Runcible Spoon. O’Neill has
shrewdly separated space on a relatively
small lot with a staircase on which servers
get more than their daily recommended
steps. There’s quiet café seating downstairs,
a bustling full room and bar upstairs and
a patio with gardens of herbs and lettuces.
(Yes, it overlooks River Road. But you can
still enjoy a few more weeks of comparative
quiet.)

O’Neill makes good use of plates, too …
namely covering every inch of them. I’ve yet
to try the dinner menu, but Town & Gown’s
breakfast, brunch and lunch options are
outstanding.

So jammed with bacon, potato and onions
is the Bonne Femme Omelet that they
practically pop up from the light, fluffy
eggs. Much like auto parts stores sprout up
across from one another, West Lafayette’s
best Reubens are adjacent. Town & Gown’s
has that perfect sour crunch with copious
amounts of corned beef. From-scratch
pancakes and French toast are a divine
indulgence. On a healthier tip, their fruit
cup is packed with the premium stuff it’s
elsewhere hard to find.

On this most recent visit, I started off with an
Old Fashioned — a tough drink to muff, but
it’s been done around here. (No snitching in
print, but I can tell you in person.) Town &
Gown has the perfect fruit muddle to keep
the flavor throughout — the right balance of
clean and busy, stinging and sweet.

I then chose a menu staple I hadn’t yet
sampled: Smoked salmon, here thinly sliced
(with capers and dill) atop a hefty breakfast
hash with horseradish caper sauce on the
side — all topped with eggs over-easy and a
side of hickory bacon for a dash of traditional
breakfast. The yolk softened the hash just
right while the horseradish added some
noteworthy kick to yet another delectably
flavorful and definitively filling meal there.
Oh yeah, the bacon was good, too.

Town & Gown’s biggest downside: Parking.
You will be tempted by all those open spots at
the fast food place next door. Don’t. I’ve seen
tow trucks hovering in anticipation and cars
hauled away. To their credit on busy days,
Town & Gown has had eagle-eyed scouts
helping people find spots. Other times, they
have a sign out front that warns you of the
towing fee. Upside: That’s the only thing that
could otherwise sour the many good meals at
Town & Gown.

IF YOU GO

Hours

  • 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday–Friday
  • 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday–Sunday

MENU

  • Breakfast (served all day), lunch and dinner
  • Full bar and coffee bar available

RECOMMENDED

  • Bonne Femme Omelet
  • French Toast
  • Pancakes
  • Reuben Sandwich
  • Smoked Salmon Hash with
    Horseradish Caper Sauce

Picture of Nick Rogers

Nick Rogers

Nick Rogers is Tipmont's Communication Manager. He joined Tipmont in 2021. Nick has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In a previous life, he covered arts & entertainment and continues to publish film reviews. He loves movies (big shocker!) as well as rooting for the Chicago Cubs and trying new restaurants. He lives in Lafayette with his wife and dogs.

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July 3, 2024
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