Blackbird Cafe is home to a delicious variety of baked goods, which is no surprise considering owner Dan Cook has a strong background in pastries. While all food offered at the cafe is high quality, Darcy Scully of Valparaiso especially enjoys the scones.
“We like the blueberry, cranberry and cinnamon, but we started with the blueberry,” Scully said. “My girlfriend and I tried to figure out how they make it. They’re just so fluffy! We went online and tried all kinds of recipes to try to repeat it but were never able to get them just right.”
Scones are not the only hit at Blackbird Cafe. With a beautiful crust and consistent quality, quiche is another popular dish that gets high marks from regulars and newbies.
“There was a customer who is a regular and is a business owner in town. She came in for years. The first couple of months she was coming in, she ate quiche every day. And she actually lost weight,” Cook said.
Cook is committed to making sure that his variety of quiches comprise high quality ingredients every time, no matter the flavor.
“There’s something at the core of everything that I make – that it should bring some kind of pleasure, and that you’re satisfied when you eat it. It’s satisfying to the palate, and a normal portion fills you up,” Cook said. “When there’s no dynamic to the flavor, we end up overeating because we are searching for that pleasure from food. So, I look for dynamic flavors.”
Cook uses a variety of flavors to make his quiches, which vary throughout the seasons.
“I believe in butter. There’s the classic – spinach feta and mushroom, or the Loraine with bacon, onion, and swiss. Sometimes there are seasonal options. We’re using lighter quiches featuring ingredients like tomatoes now because it’s summer. We use sausage and red pepper often in the colder months. A lot of times it’s whatever I have in stock that’s going into the next quiche.”
Cook holds fast to his vision of how Blackbird Cafe can grow and further establish itself as a staple of Valparaiso.
“Right now, we are working with our one, basic crust. We are working toward becoming known as a pie shop – a selection of seven or eight pies that customers can buy any time,” he said.
Cook revealed that he was encouraged to experiment with making pies while his cafe was closed in accordance with social distancing.
“During the beginning of the pandemic, we were closed for about a month around the Easter holiday. A friend encouraged me to make pies. I made about as many pies as I could make, and it had a great reception,” Cook said. “Everyone loves apple pie. I could say with some seriousness that it’s the pie that my grandma and my mom made – with a little of my own influence.”
Blackbird Cafe uses quality ingredients, including Boar’s Head meat, European-style butter, King Arthur Flour, and high-end cheeses.
“We take what other restaurants are doing and we bump it up in quality because we want to offer the best.”