Not many restaurant owners would be happy to hear their new establishment described as “geeky,” but like the “S” Superman wears across his chest, owner Nicholas Springham considers the label a badge of honor.
At BAMF Café, which opened in Station North in October, Springham and co-owner Melissa Murphy have created a hangout for fans of comic books, superheroes, science-fiction movies, and pop culture—in other words, nerds like them. But the cafe offers much more than a healthy dose of kitsch. Its caffeinated drinks and healthy food are great companions for events like in-house movie marathons (celebrate Bae Day with Kurt Russell flicks) and TV parties (episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race draw crowds on Mondays).
The menu is highlighted by a smattering of sandwiches. The T-1000 (everything on the menu is named after something in pop culture—in this case, the android assassin in Terminator 2) is the heartiest of the bunch. Turkey, ham, pepperoni, and cheddar are loaded onto a ciabatta roll that’s slathered with Dijon. The HYRULE is the most flavorful. Its turkey, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, and basil pesto mesh perfectly. The KRANG melt’s ham and Muenster cheese contrast nicely with Granny Smith slices between rye bread.
BAMF is an acronym for books, action figures, movies, and friends (though it has a different definition if you consult Urban Dictionary). It is also the sound Nightcrawler from X-Men makes when he teleports.
The cafe prides itself on its vegetarian and vegan options. Rockatansky “the MAX” Powerhouse combines hummus, sprouts, carrots, red onions, and cabbage on seven-grain bread. It’s as satisfying a nonmeat meal as we’ve had in a while. In addition to all-day breakfast, which includes standards like (Yoda) parfait, bagels, and muffins, BAMF serves seriously fun snacks. On a recent visit we munched on popcorn with curry, turmeric, and cayenne. It packs a superhero punch.
Whether you grab a seat at the counter, in a booth, or on one of two couches, Luke Skywalker and R2D2 stare at you from cardboard cutouts above the front door. The memorabilia come largely from Springham’s and Murphy’s personal collections. BAMF Café is the culmination of a dream the duo had to open a place where they—and others like them—feel at home. They’ve succeeded, and there’s nothing nerdy about that.
›› BAMF Café: 1821 N. Charles St., 667-930-3371. Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 12-8 p.m. Prices: $1.75-8.25.