I had dinner at Phat Cakes & Cafe for the first time in downtown Tiffin last night, and it didn’t disappoint. The decor is clean and neat with a hint of urban vibe. College students, residents, visitors – a nice mix of people who come to the two-year old restaurant started by Pittsburgh culinary graduate Natalie Wertz, who honed her skills in Columbus and Pittsburgh before choosing to move back to Tiffin.
There’s a glint in her eye as she discusses one of the new dinner specials–the Cali French Toast–and how a visit to California and the taste of orange-infused French Toast inspired her to create it. She’s pleased one of her regular patrons–who always orders the house famous Black Jac, a blackened chicken breast on a panko-crusted pepper jack macaroni and cheese dish–ventures to try her new creation. They were glad they did. It’s also worth mentioning that they have a nice wine and beer selection (on tap…on this night I had the Magic Hat #9.)
Wertz’s local fame grew because of her custom cakes (wedding, birthday, shaped cakes) and cupcakes, which is still a passion of hers. Cupcake choices available during my visit included the warm fudgy Red Velvet and a Bananas Foster, among others (I had the bread pudding, though). A nice selection of tempting cheesecakes, brownies, and cookies were also there for dessert.
Thursday nights also feature live jazz, which often showcases local jazz band Zarathustra. Phat Cakes also gets a lot of traffic from people attending one of the shows at the $6.6M renovated Ritz Theatre. In the future, Wertz hopes to add more tables and perhaps a party/gathering/overflow room. She is definitely a “Seneca Success.”