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“This place has slid down dramatically, and it used to be great” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of City Lights Cafe

City Lights Cafe
Ranked #11 of 66 Restaurants in Sylva
Price range: US$1 - US$13
Cuisines: American, Cafe, Healthy
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Kids, Local cuisine, Child-friendly
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Brunch, Breakfast, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Delivery, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Takeout, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Description: We are a casual counter-service cafe with local and organic selections, as well as gluten-free and dairy-free options. We serve local draft beer, wine by the glass and bottle as well as locally roasted coffees and espresso drinks. We have a pet-friendly patio and free wifi.
North Carolina Mountains, North Carolina
Level Contributor
603 reviews
440 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 243 helpful votes
“This place has slid down dramatically, and it used to be great”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 July 2014

Years ago, before the new management, this was an awesome place to go for lunch, brunch or dinner. Unfortunately, it has slid downhill....fast, and that is sad.

I went for lunch and was the only customer inside. Two others were sitting outside. No one was behind the counter. Finally I was approached and asked to order at the counter, but there was no indication of where. I asked and an employee said, "at the cash register". I was handed a menu and made a selection which included ice tea. I was handed a cup with ice. I asked where the tea was, and was told "it is around the corner". After searching without success, I re-approached the employee and apologized for not being able to find it. She went to look and said "oops, we haven't put it out" and ultimately got the container.

I walked downstairs to the area where the tables are and sat down. In a while, my lunch was brought to me. I had to get my own utensils from a container that should not have been public. A big bucket sat on a counter with the word "water" written on it, and it looked like it was for cleaning floors.

The employees played games behind the service counter, singing and clapping hands which was quite annoying. No quiet lunch for me! At no time did anyone ever ask me if I needed anything, if everything was OK or any interpersonal contact, I was on my own and they didn't care.

The place looked dingy, cluttered and unclean. Not for me. My sandwich was fine, and I didn't balk at the $12.50 price with an ice tea. I went to get a refill on the tea and there was a stainless container with three pieces of melted ice sitting in water, yet the employees couldn't find the time to fill it due to their games and other interests.

I will not be coming back here anytime soon.......

  • Visited July 2014
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank OpinionGuru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bernadette P, Owner at City Lights Cafe, responded to this review, 16 July 2014
I am sorry that you did not have a positive experience at City Lights Cafe. Spring Street Cafe closed in October of 2010. We rented the space in 2011 and started a new counter-service restaurant. Because it is the same space, occasional visitors to Sylva still think it is Spring Street with new owners. Because Spring Street's table service model was not sustainable, we created an interactive cafe with self-service components in order to employee a slim staff at a living wage so that we could remain open in Sylva for years to come.

As small family-owned businesses, we prefer immediate feedback from our customers so we can correct the situation right then and make things right. After some research and clues from your review, employees on that shift are currently on probation to ensure this will not happen again.

Sincerely, Bernadette Peters, Owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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96 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    46
    27
    12
    9
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Surpringly good vegetarian food”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 May 2014

In town for business, i wanted something different that the typical burger and beer joint. City Lights did not disappoint. I had a delicious vegetable curry soup and whole wheat penne pasta with oil and wilted fresh spinach. Perfectly done, it was tasty, filling and reasonably priced. The big plus was a great selection of local beers on tap and in bottles. Definitely will be back again.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank BobKarp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lakeland, Florida
Level Contributor
204 reviews
148 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Well Done Cafe Food”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 February 2014

This restaurant is on the bottom floor of the City Lights Bookstore a block off of Main Street. Parking is limited immediately around the Cafe. More parking can be found back on Main treet, but it is an uphill walk from there to the cafe. The lunch menu includes such items as crepes, panini sandwiches, wraps, salads, soup and a nice collection of desert bakery items. We had a well prepared and tasty ham and cheese panini with a mild spicy feta sauce that came with a side of tri-colored tortilla chips with very good homemade salsa. They also serve a good locally branded coffee and have a relatively small, selective wine list intended more (I think) for their dinner menu. Service was friendly - but, it does include some self-service. It has a neighborhood, regular customer feel to it. Restroom was clean and well appointed. This appears to be a nicely run independent small business and has the advantage of a bookstore right above it from which you can access the cafe. I recommend this to anyone interested in a reasonably priced, well prepared, somewhat creative casual lunch.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank James R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
28 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Crepes are the YUM!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 January 2014

My husband ordered strawberry cheesecake and I ordered banana/nutella. HOLY COW! These are the best crepes I have ever put in my mouth! The coffee was awesome too, and if I remember correctly, it comes locally from Asheville. (Coffee connoisseur here.)

The ladies that morning were friendly and the atmosphere is very laid back. A place to enjoy! FYI: Pet friendly.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Pam D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Good atmosphere and food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 January 2014

This is a quaint little restaurant that has excellent food that has a different flair. I've eaten there several times and each time the food has been tasteful and well presented. It is not a service restaurant, but you order at the counter and they bring you the food. They have a little area for wine and talking. They also have lattes, etc.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank bailey1110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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