The narrow storefront of Café Cornucopia elbows its way into the Main Street of Bisbee by the Copper Queen Library. Similarly, the pies, brownies and lemon bars crowd the counter inside. The patrons nudge each other to get to them first in this cozy cafe that seats 25. It’s the perfect size, owner Patty Fishlock explains, to know everybody. With its classic boom-town architecture and home-style menu, Café Cornucopia fits perfectly in its little niche of Bisbee.
The menu is simple and comforting: green chile quiche, meatloaf, fresh baked bread, and stews join at least one vegan special that Fishlock makes daily. Dishes make the rounds on the menu according to what she finds available in the markets of Tucson. (“If I see fresh corn in season, I can’t resist,” she says.) This is how the menu swings from lemon meringue pie to chicken tortilla soup on the hunch of what sounds good. If her regular customers have hankerings, they need only ask. That’s how Fishlock ended up making potato leek soup on a July afternoon after we spoke; some regular ladies who lunch at the cafe from their courthouse jobs had put in a special request. “If you just ask me,” Fishlock says, “I’ll make it. Unless I made it yesterday. It’s easy that way.”
As Fishlock sees it, she’s keeping up the 20-year tradition of Café Cornucopia, a tradition established long before she bought it three years ago. “You don’t want to mess with a good business too much,” she says. Instead, she amended it, adding salads, pies, and cakes to the Bisbee fixture. It’s hard to resist the photos of freshly chilled cheesecake, or carrot cake dripping with orange glaze that she posts on the café’s Facebook page.
But the best perk of Café Cornucopia’s compact size is that Fishlock can do all the cooking herself. When she and her husband stumbled into Bisbee on New Year’s Eve back in 2000, they fell in love with the relaxed atmosphere and perfect weather. They bought a piece of property “supposedly to retire,” Fishlock says, although they ended up permanently moving to Bisbee well before retirement. Now, Patty says, “I have the nicest bunch of customers. The people are rather laid back, which is refreshing after living in the city. It’s a nice little tight community.” It’s also a lovely vintage space to crowd into for a slice of cheesecake.
Café Cornucopia. 14 Main St., Bisbee. 520.432.4820.