Imagine a sun-filled coffeehouse in Prague or Barcelona and you’ve got a good handle on the laid-back European attitude of Empire Café. Young artists mingle with a proliferation of intellectuals and expats and a loyal band of regulars from all walks of life who share an appreciation for stimulating conversation accompanied by an exquisitely brewed cup of coffee. The mellow Italian-American menu offers a variety of pasta, panini, pizza, and frittatas and there’s also beer and wine, plus rich homemade cakes served in humongous portions meant for two. Empire is that rare kind of place in Houston where you are welcome to sit for hours, even if all you want is coffee.
Empire's phenomenal cakes are half-price on Mondays.