Cafe Wonder

Wonder Ballroom
Wonder Ballroom

If you have ever been on Russell Street between MLK and Williams after dark you have probably noticed the orange neon sign near the corner of Russell and Rodney.  Just about every night it lights up for the Wonder Ballroom and Cafe Wonder.

Cafe Wonder is located in the basement of the recently restored Historic Hibernian Hall – now the Wonder Ballroom.  When you’re down there it doesn’t feel like a basement.  Instead it feels like a fun casual bar/restaurant.   Inside, the lighting is nicely dark with a prominent bar.  You can sit at the bar in bar stools, at bar tables, in booths, or in standard chairs – take your pick.  It’s a smaller sized, quaint  space, that just feels comfortable and is smoke free!

I really like Cafe Wonder.  I like the atmosphere, I like the menu and I like the service.  I considered it a real find the first time I visited.  Since then, I have become a regular.  I almost expect the entire place to yell “Clint!” when I walk it, but they don’t just yet.

The menu features affordable, quality food.  Virtually everything is under $15 and there is a happy hour menu between 5 and 6:30 and a late night menu that starts around 10.  The food is great!  My wife always orders the mac and cheese spicy style.  I’m glad she does because I usually get a few bites when she is done.  If I’m in a more casual mood I order the Spicy Gyro with Fries or a burger.  Otherwise I really like the Ahi Tuna or the Draper Chicken.

We visit Cafe Wonder 3 – 4 times a month, usually on Friday.  It’s the perfect Friday after work, hang out, get a drink and good food kind of place. It’s generally best to go when the Wonder Ballroom is not having a show that night, or if they are, go a little earlier.  Normally it’s not too crowded.

Being a regular I’m not sure I want to share this little bit of information.  However, to be nice, for those who have not ventured down into Cafe Wonder, there is a mirror on the left side of the entryway when you walk in.  It’s not unusual for people to nearly run into it before they realize it’s a mirror.  I have even seen people talking to it thinking they are greeting their friends on the other side of the room.  Pure entertainment – it’s the simple things!  Be careful of the mirror.

Cafe Wonder is located at 128 NE Russell Street just below the Wonder Ballroom.  It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm until “late” and for lunch 11 am – 2  pm.