Birmingham’s Daxton Hotel Unveils New Café Dax

The new full-service café offers fine-dining breakfast and lunch, coffee, sandwiches, and more.
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Photograph courtesy of the Daxton Hotel/Café Dax

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to sit in an open-air café on a warm summer day.

I love the sound of clinking dishes, people talking, beans in the grinder, and the distinct aroma of coffee that trails behind a tray of espresso.  I could watch people coming and going for hours and remain totally entertained.

If this is your kind of scene, you don’t need to book a flight to experience it. It’s close by, in walkable downtown Birmingham, in the lobby of the Daxton Hotel.

You may have seen this posh 202l hotel in full swing on the evenings. The Geode bar pulses with people laughing, eating, and sipping craft cocktails. Perhaps you came in to listen to live jazz on a Thursday or to have a drink before a reservation in their world-class fine dining restaurant —The Daxton is home to the recently crowned culinary jewel Madam, Hour Detroit’s 2023 Restaurant of the Year.

But if you haven’t seen it during the day, then you’re missing out. And the Daxton team wants to change that. Earlier this month, the press was invited to its newest concept to sample the menu and soak up the vibe.

Pulling its culinary masterminds out from behind the curtains of Madam, the team has collaborated on a reimagined breakfast and lunch experience at Café Dax. Café Dax has a range of newly fashioned menu concepts for guests and residents alike. The menu includes largely familiar offerings but with an execution that elevates them to match the hotel’s reputation.

“We know that this is a lively place to be in the evenings and on weekends with live jazz on Thursdays,” says Autumn Griffith, the General Manager of the Daxton Hotel. “We wanted to capture that kind of energy and bring it here during the day too.”

Photograph courtesy of the Daxton Hotel/Café Dax

With their delicious food trickling into the lobby, the culinary team is making its signature tastes convenient and accessible. The lobby menu flexes the same attention to detail and sourcing that’s put into Madam. Madam proudly operates a scratch kitchen, making their own breads, pastries, cured meats, pastas and sauces, something that sets it apart from other restaurants.

That dedication to locally sourced food used in European classics can now be sampled daily from breakfast through lunch in the lobby, accompanied by a side of people-watching.

With the addition of a new walk-up coffee counter, which opens at 6:30 a.m., patrons will now find a barista pouring, frothing, and stirring alongside a gorgeous display of grab-and-go baked goods. A cherry rhubarb Danish with cream cheese baked into layers of buttery pastry, fruit-loaded blueberry muffins, or one of their daily quiche presentations, with a savory custard cooked inside a delicate flaky shell ($18 each), are all perfect to linger over with a steamy cappuccino.

Next to the pastries are Michigan food products for sale like Gus and Grey Jams, Bees in the D Honey, Drought Juice, and Hyperion Coffee Co., which highlights their local food collaborations.

Not feeling like a coffee? How about a bright and refreshing daytime cocktail? It’s five o’clock somewhere, right? For some enlivened daytime fun, try the Morning Spritz ($16) with vodka, grapefruit, citrus, and prosecco, or the innovative Vegan Matchatini, ($16), vodka again plus matcha, green tea, and almond milk.

“We wanted to bring our pastry program into the forefront,” says culinary director Josh Stockton. You can treat this like a coffee shop and get one of the quiches or Danishes that we’re making every day or sit down to have a full breakfast or lunch.”

The 36-seat full-service restaurant serves breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. with impeccably-created classic diner dishes such as eggs any style, potatoes, bacon or sausage and sourdough toast ($18), or buttermilk pancakes with seasonal toppings and local maple syrup ($17).

Photograph courtesy of the Daxton Hotel/Café Dax

Familiar but with a twist, is the Madam Bec breakfast sandwich ($18), built inside an English muffin, with house-made bacon, scrambled eggs, and a zesty pop of creamy pimento cheese. The avocado toast is structured on a slice of sourdough and topped with a grilled Mexican elote-style sweetcorn salsa and a tangy pickled onion accent ($15).

Lunch is offered between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and features a variety of salads including the classic Umbrian panzanella ($15), a refreshing mixture of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, and chunks of toasted house made bread, or the burrata ($22) with heirloom tomatoes and sauce vierge — a French sauce made from olive oil, lemon juice, tomato, and basil.

Satisfying warm sandwiches on the menu include the grilled salmon ($21), which comes on a house-made brioche with arugula, cucumber, and herbed tomato aioli. There is also a crispy chicken sandwich ($18) for something bolder, which is rolled in a spicy BBQ rub tempered by bread and butter pickles and creamy slaw that has a sweet-heat edge.

Café Dax features more substantial lunch dishes too, including the steak frites ($36) and two house-made pasta selections, one vegan and one vegetarian, including the Aglio E Olio, with pappardelle, Calabrian chili sofrito and arugula, and rapini pesto, a flower-shaped cone pasta with pecorino cheese and golden breadcrumbs. ($26).

The menu has a build-your-own protein option to upgrade salads and pastas including chicken ($10), salmon ($12), steak ($18), and shrimp ($18).

Café Dax is your invitation to slip into the hustle and bustle of a big city vibe, complete with the people stepping off the elevators and walking through valet-held front doors. You can watch it all from your lobby perch, with the sunlight coming through the front windows and illuminating the room, the food, and original artworks by Adrian Landon, Karin Vermeer. Bollee Patino, and Federico Bepper.

You’ll be transported by a chic atmosphere that feels like it could be in a cosmopolitan hotel anywhere in the world.

Café Dax is open daily at the Daxton Hotel located at 298 S. Old Woodward Ave. in Birmingham. Call (248) 283-4200 or visit daxtonhotel.com for more information.