St. Augustine is a foodie town in my opinion, however, the best places are those located outside of the tourist downtown district. On a recent trip, we sought out this quaint little cafe known to be vegetarian friendly called The Back 40 Urban Cafe. This place is hidden on a remote street behind U.S. Rt 1- a very popular and busy thoroughfare through town. If you blink, you may miss the street and the cafe. However, it is worth the find.
The Back 40 Urban Cafe looks like somebody’s house and as we walked in I was convinced that it probably was at some point. Three separate dining rooms with about six tables in each make it cozy and inviting. We chose a booth in the front room facing out into the front yard. I truly felt like I was in someone’s house and couldn’t wait for some home Tex Mex cooking.
The menu is quite eclectic featuring tacos, salads, quesadillas and vegetarian chili. We started with the black bean hummus which was served with toasted pita bread, carrots and celery. It was very good- just like something I would make at home. Hummus has become a comfort food for us and we really liked this. It was creamy, tangy and just a little bit spicy. I was excited for what was next.
We saw a lady at another table that had the world’s largest burrito sitting in front of her. Turns out it was their popular Wet Burrito which we also ended up ordering. This thing was STUFFED with black beans, brown rice, roasted red peppers, cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes and lettuce and topped with red chili sauce. (For an additional charge you can add chicken, shrimp or mahi mahi) The jalapenos made it spicy, the beans and rice made it filling and the red chili sauce made it terrific. Yes, I just described food as “terrific”. It was. The wet burrito was so large that not even two of us could finish it. For the $7 price, this was a great value that would stretch over two full meals.
We also ordered the avocado and roasted red pepper tacos with a side of black beans and rice. (Yes black beans were the main staple of our entire meal) While they sound rather boring, there was nothing boring about it. There was nothing skimpy about these tacos. They too were stuffed with plenty of avocado, red peppers, cheese and fresh cilantro. Also topped with a cilantro white sauce this isn’t for the cilantro-ey challenged folk. And for $8 this too was quite filling.
After we ate I took a quick stroll around the restaurant to admire all the art hanging on the walls (which is all available for purchase and I am assuming it was all done by a local artist- I should have asked about it.)
Overall, this was a great place. A couple had walked in shortly after us and struck up a conversation. They were locals and loved this place. The gentleman told us this is his go-to spot for business lunches and I get it. Large portions and low price. I can see why The Black 40 Urban Cafe has a loyal following. This is surely a place we will visit again. 4 1/2 out of 5 sprouts.