Whether you’re just passing through, visiting a relative, or work in Danville, you would be remiss if you didn’t stop in to this new-kid-on-the-block bakery, tea room, and lunch spot. Situated on North Street, Red Door Cakes is easy to find if you’re in the downtown area by way of Main or Gilbert Streets. There are several on-street parking spots available across North Street and a parking lot caddy corner to the shop. You certainly can’t miss its unique sign on the standalone building.
Inside, Red Door Cakes is warm and welcoming, with various types of seating and shabby chic decorations. Two chandeliers hang above the main display case, throwing a soft, warm glow onto the eye-catching desserts below. Several tables line up next to a long white bench with throw pillows on it, while others are traditional standalone tables to accommodate different party sizes.
When my husband I stopped in for an early lunch, I asked our waitress about the high tea offered on Wednesdays. She informed us that for the entire day, they only offer the high tea menu, which gets you three different types of sandwiches, three desserts, a pot of tea, and scones. (The sandwiches are small and cut into triangles with the crusts cut off, English tea style.) You can book RDC for special tea parties, too, which you can see pictures of on their Facebook page.
If you dine in and order a hot pot of tea, they serve it in traditional and pretty tea cups with saucers. While I am not usually a tea drinker, I opted for their iced tea to go with lunch and I was not disappointed. They bring in their teas from Paris, France. The iced tea is something called Montego Blue and it is crisp and refreshing, with absolutely no bitterness. My husband and I both drank two glasses apiece ($2.50 with free refills). You don’t even need to add sugar or sweetener, which was a pleasant surprise, since I usually doctor coffee or tea to be sweeter.
The waitstaff were friendly and knowledgeable about all the items on the extensive menu, both food and drink alike. We split an order of deviled eggs, which comes with three halves ($3). The filling is tangy with just the right amount of sweet. They make for a nice snack if you don’t want a full meal. For lunch, I ordered the egg salad sandwich with a cup of soup. My husband got the turkey and Swiss sandwich (cold), which also has a hot pepper jelly spread on it to give it some extra zip. Sandwiches are served with black pepper kettle potato chips. Red Door Cakes rotates their soup offerings; the one I tried was the roasted red pepper and tomato bisque, with a cup priced at $3.99 and a bowl at $4.99. The soup was served nice and hot and had a bright tartness to it from the red peppers and tomatoes. It was not overly creamy or heavy, either. Just the eggs and a bowl of soup would make for a very nice light lunch and be easy on the wallet.
My husband is a more adventurous eater and tried a cup of the grape salad before his sandwich arrived. Purely a sweet salad, it consists of grapes with some kind of yogurt to bind it all together, topped with a brown sugar crumb. Being a much pickier eater, I did not sample it, but my husband said it’s terrific for people who like sugary fruit salads, or those who do not want to eat something as heavy as a baked dessert items.
My husband and I enjoyed our sandwiches, though we both agreed that the egg salad was the winner. The mustard flavor hits you first, followed by a hint of sweetness. Bonus: it wasn’t runny, so I did not have watery mustard running down my arms in order to eat it. The croissant was thick and has more of a sandwich-bread texture, which is perfect for something as messy as egg salad. As adventurous as he is, my husband loathes celery, but he delighted in seeing that this egg salad did not have any hidden celery bits. Celery haters rejoice! It’s a flavorful egg salad with no funky textures or flavors.
While we were getting full, we couldn’t leave without trying some dessert. I had a hard time choosing, as they offer a wide variety of cupcakes, cheesecakes, and layer cakes in the case. They even make a few dessert drinks, such as “Wicked Hot Chocolate,” which is made with Jacques Torres chocolate. (I put that under my hat to try on a chillier day.)
My eye was drawn to the chocolate cake, so I went with that, although the waitress told me they can usually doctor a piece of cheesecake to your liking, e.g. raspberry topping, turtle, etc. My husband got a small piece of their blueberry turnover, which was a light sponge pastry marbled with blueberry filling and topped with a light icing. He enjoyed it quite a bit while I tucked into the triple chocolate cake.
Moist and rich, this cake definitely hit the mark for a chocolate craving. The frosting was a bit on the sweet side and I wasn’t able to finish the whole piece, as the serving size was very generous. While a slice goes for $6.50, they give you your money’s worth. Next time I go for lunch, I will order a piece of the cake to go and enjoy it later in the day.
Open just under a year, I can see this place quickly turning into a local gem.They offer something unique by way of the high tea menu, which is not easy to find in East Central Illinois. Other offerings are bread puddings, creme puffs, muffins, and pies. There is something for everyone, including gluten-free options. A cupcake is priced at $2.50, which is a bargain compared to the usual $4 you see nowadays, while a dozen costs $25 — a solid deal. Birthday cakes and their layer cakes are also available to order for specal occasions.
Put this place on your “must try” list and go find your new favorite treat at Red Door Cakes!
Red Door Cakes
23 East North Street
T-Sa 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.