What’s good here?
Charm oozes from this lunchtime cafe housed in a historic homestead on North Lake Drive in Lexington.
Although the menu is simple, the items are substantial, distinct, and elegantly presented. A chicken Panini with artichoke hearts, pimento mayonnaise and havarti cheese is served warm with a choice of sides such as a greens salad, pasta salad or fruit.
A personal chicken pot pie takes a few minutes longer, but it features chunks of chicken and vegetables topped with a tall, flaky crust. A variety of salad choices include Asian, Southwestern, or chicken, with pineapples and pecans. A ham and brie sandwich includes peach preserves. Quiche Lorraine is a staple on the menu, as is corn chowder. Chocolate bread pudding is offered for dessert. There are special entrée daily and dessert items.
The carriage house, garden tent, garden and house can all be rented. Buffets, luncheons, and three-course dinners are available for special events.
How did the business get its start?
The grand antebellum-style home was built in 1914 by the Wingard family, prominent in the Lexington area. Rodney Huber and his wife, Marci, bought the home from the original family owners in December 2007. The couple updated some aspects of the home while maintaining the early 20th century charm. Rodney says the previous owners had already started the “bones” of the wedding business. To add more event space, the Hubers built the carriage house/reception hall that has capacity for more than 250 – with an adjacent 1,450-square-foot tent. Weddings are the primary business, but the couple opened the house up for a cafe about three years ago. Rodney completed a one-year culinary program at USC and is the chef for Café 403. “For someone who takes an interest in the culinary world, the Southern region is actually the one area where foods are distinct. I wanted to offer some of those dishes,” says Rodney. “I enjoy working with this type of food.” Marci oversees event planning and is a busy mother to their first child, born nine months ago. Another employee currently coordinates many of the events. Marci’s mother, Gail Seagle, is the waitress/manager.
What does the place look like?
Walls are painted in bright jewel tones to contrast with polished wood floors. Tall windows flood the rooms with light. Crystal chandeliers are surrounded by decorative ceiling medallions. The walls of one room are covered in stained wood bead board. A painting of the home is hung over the foyer’s entryway. In the hall is an elaborate bookcase with books that customers can borrow. Upstairs is an area for a bride and her bridal party to dress for a wedding.
Who eats here?
Even though Cafe 403 is just off U.S. 378 near downtown Lexington, it feels like a destination place for families, business associates, and couples because of the historic atmosphere and lush gardens. Customers are encouraged to linger in the relaxing ambiance. Clubs and groups find Cafe 403 to be an ideal place for lunch gatherings.