By Kathy Chouteau
You’ve got to love a café that’s named after a couple of adorable dogs.
That’s precisely the case with the Bubbaloo Café, where the owners Gio Gelera and Candice Nguyen named their cafe by combining the names of their beloved French bulldogs Bubba and Lee Loo—and included a mural of them, to boot.
Located at 1402 Marina Way South in Richmond, the Bubbaloo Café has been serving breakfast, lunch and coffee from their eclectic little spot nearby the bay for four years with the goal, per their website, of providing “quality food, cooked and served up with love by our wonderful crew both front and back end.”
The Rich Life recently visited the café on a weekday with some lunch companions. Upon entering, we were greeted with eye-catching artwork, a cool, chic décor and a warm and friendly vibe both from the staff and customers filling the room.
The café’s menus provided plenty of offerings aimed to please any palate—particularly American/Vietnamese/Filipino fusion fare—and staff members deftly took down orders from the line of customers waiting at the counter. The food, which people picked up at the counter, was made and served promptly, and ample seating awaited throughout the dining area, mostly in the form of industrial-style light metal chairs and tables. Adding to the ambience was the sunlight that streamed in the windows along one side of the café.
For lunch, our little party ordered a few lunch menu items for take-out: The Classic Sandwich made with our choice of meat (turkey), cheese (cheddar), mayo, mustard, red onions and lettuce on a Dutch crunch roll; the Blue Ribbon Chicken Sandwich and with crispy fried chicken, ham, Swiss & provolone cheese and honey mustard on a brioche bun; and Fish & Fries, Alaskan cod hand-battered, fried and served with a side of fries.
The café’s portions were very generous and the sandwiches were served with our choice of a salad or fries. Our party member who ordered the Classic Sandwich got it with fries on the side and this reporter had the Blue Ribbon Chicken Sandwich with the salad. Both sandwiches were crowd-pleasers made with fresh ingredients and just the right crisp in the case of the fried chicken. My side salad was also notable in that it consisted of gourmet lettuce cuts served with a delicious green goddess-style dressing.
Our other party member who ordered the Fish & Fries, a play on the popular Fish & Chips dish, was very pleased with his lunch, saying it was both fresh and flavorful. Although the café omitted the tartar sauce promised on its menu, he still gobbled up the dish without a second thought.
Our entire party agreed we would happily return to the café for lunch—perhaps to sample some of its “Far East Favorites” such as the Lemongrass Chicken or the Shaking Beef—or breakfast fare (served until 10:30 a.m.) such as the Bubbarrito or Eggs Blackstone. Check out the Bubbaloo Café’s menu here to see what catches your eye.
The Bubbaloo Café is located at 1402 Marina Way South in Richmond and is open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The café features a patio with numerous umbrella tables outside its front door and is also within short walking distance to the bay, where you can eat a take-out lunch on a bench. Visit the café’s website for more details.