Lunch at Montevallos Eclipse Coffee and Books

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lunch at the Eclipse Coffee & Books is a real Montevallo &8220;community experience.&8221;

We meet there often for a good soup-salad-sandwich lunch seated on the wonderful front porch overlooking Main Street.

Recently, after giving our orders to friendly college-student workers, we made our way through the hallway filled with used books to the porch where we found a real mix of more college kids, professors, business people, cycle riders and ladies who had stopped by on their way to their bridge game.

It was too early for the &8220;Old Men&8217;s Club&8221; who meet in the late afternoon for beer and cokes.

The menu lists a wide variety of healthy foods and daily specials.

One member of our group ordered the Eclipse salad ($5) &045; with a variety of greens, peppers, tomatoes, bean sprouts, eggs, turkey and cheese.

She remarked &8220;This is my favorite, it&8217;s always good.&8221;

Another friend had the traditional Reuben sandwich ($5).

She proclaimed it terrible for her diet but worth every calorie.

I had ordered the special 1/2 sandwich with a cup of soup or small salad ($5.00).

Mine was chicken gumbo soup and 1/2 veggie sandwich.

The warm soup was good on that chilly day and the &8220;salad in a sandwich&8221; had a nice variety of vegetables along with some cheese – very tasty. Two of us had iced tea ($1) and the other a regular coffee ($1.25).

Quesadillas and wraps are added at 2 p.m.

Breakfast is available all day and there are wonderful milkshakes. The Cake Batter milkshake was voted &8220;Birmingham&8217;s Best&8221; in Birmingham Magazine. The features listed on the Eclipse&8217;s Yahoo web site are interesting:

view, great beer list, bar, happy hour, outdoor seating, private rooms, catering, healthy options, entertainment, great wine list, late night and take out.

Cheryl and Michael Patton own and manage the Eclipse.

They built it in 2001, starting with an unfinished house with wonderful stained glass windows that they had moved to the site.

Cheryl said &8220;We really bought the lot at a yard sale.&8221;

She explained that they had tried to reach the owner, Lloyd Harris, and had been unsuccessful because he was sick, but when they visited his granddaughter&8217;s yard sale, he was there, and they made a deal.

When asked about their goal in opening the caf/, she responded

&8220;We really tried to do something for the community &045; wanted it to be open for everyone &045; tried to do a varied menu with healthy food and things like pimento cheese and peanut-butter for the kids all the way to vegan fare.&8221;

The Eclipse, located at 1032 Main Street, is truly the place Montevallo folks get together for food, conversation, coffee, bar fare, meetings, study and to take advantage of the wireless service.

Many also come for the special events like wine tastings, readings, karaoke, spellings bees, games and musicals.

Hours are M-W 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Th.-F 7 a.m.-Midnight, Sat. 8 a.m.-Midnight