Beat the Mondays With Coffee and Cake at this Under-the-Radar Café
Pelham’s latest hidden gem gets bonus points for the charming atmosphere.
Photos courtesy of Pelville Coffee & Pastry
Walk into Pelham’s Pelville Coffee & Pastry, and you immediately feel like you’re home. Well, if home had a gorgeous tin ceiling, lively paisley wallpaper, and a glass case crammed with mouthwatering homemade baked goods. Buoyant, jazz-era music is piped in at just the right volume.
“Who wants to go eat in a place that’s not as nice or even nicer than where they live, you know?” says Jim Evangelos, co-owner of the nine-month-old eatery. His partner, Robert DeJesus, nods in agreement. “This place was a real labor of love,” Evangelos continues. “It used to be a Greek restaurant, and we spent about eight months renovating it.” The effort — Evangelos did most of the work himself — shows in every detail, from the gleaming carved chair rails to the old-fashioned cherry-stained pine counter.
And then there’s the food, which sparkles as much as the décor. Pelville goes far above and beyond what its name implies, offering a raft of appealing breakfast and lunch choices. I tuck into a pair of pancakes, the fluffy batter loaded with fresh blueberries that burst on the tongue.
“Of course, we have genuine maple syrup,” says DeJesus, who does the baking. (Evangelos handles the savories.) As part of their strategy to set Pelville apart in Westchester’s competitive restaurant scene, the duo uses only top-notch ingredients, including Callebaut chocolate and Cabot butter.
Next I sample another breakfast favorite, the avocado toast. Crunchy slices of multigrain bread cradle perfectly ripened avocado, enlivened by mild, melted cheddar, plus red onion and tomato. “People come in and tell me, ‘I’ve been dreaming of the avocado toast,’” says Evangelos, and it’s quite believable.
Yet the dish that will populate my personal food fantasies is the New England clam chowder. Sweet clams and chunks of tender red potatoes bob in the creamy soup, whispering of the sea — it’s no surprise when Evangelos tells me that he and DeJesus used to work at a popular restaurant on Cape Cod.
It’s hard to imagine eating anything more (sorry to have missed you, Reuben sandwich and signature cobb salad). But looking at the gleaming sweets case, I can’t pass up the chance to end the meal on a sweet note. After some deliberation — Should I have the chocolate-carrot cake or Russian tea cookies? — I go with the Nutella chocolate cake. It’s light and airy, chocolately but not overwhelmingly so, and topped with crunchy whole hazelnuts.
One bite, and I’ve sadly hit my limit of what I can sample in a single sitting. Yet I haven’t had my fill of Pelville. Neither have many others who’ve tried its fare — the restaurant, which has been open only since last April, already boasts a cast of regulars, from businesspeople who stop in for breakfast daily to ladies who lunch. Come on a Saturday morning and you’ll fight the crowds for a table (the restaurant seats 20) and the chance to try the waffles with custom toppings.
Pelville Coffee & Pastry
300 Fifth Ave
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