Preview: Chappaqua Station
A former waiting area for Metro-North riders, this classic café celebrates sustainable bounty and artisanal fare
Boards of cheese and charcuterie look almost too good to eat
It’s no surprise that there are breakfast offerings at Chappaqua Station, located in the 1902 New York Central Railroad depot, which is splendid outside (fieldstone, tile roof) and in (exposed rafter ceiling, original oak). What had been a waiting area for Metro-North riders before being converted to a restaurant late in 2015 is now a daily source for fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh-baked croissants and muffins (the vegan and gluten-free banana-nut muffin made with avocado is a favorite), La Colombe coffee, and artisan Camellia Sinensis brand teas.
Beef sliders with spicy onions
But the approximately 60-seat (13 of them at a handsome ticket-booth-turned-bar) eatery is more than a commuter breakfast stop.
“It’s a community hub,” says Peter Chase, a Chappaqua resident who owns the café along with wife Erin and Chef Alan Ashkinaze. “We knew from the moment we saw the station that we wanted to safeguard the history of the space, so we created a concept that works within that context.”
To this end, there is local art rotating quarterly that is showcased on the walls, charity events in support of the New Castle Historical Society, a surplus of outlets and USB chargers to facilitate community meetings (e.g., local PTA, political gatherings) and “office space” for business types on the move. The restaurant is also a pickup spot for Field Goods, a provider of local, small-farm produce.
Beyond breakfast, there’s a café-style menu of simple, affordable dishes (the priciest item is $16), including snacks (the hot-smoked-paprika popcorn is a must), cheese and charcuterie boards, flatbreads, creative salads, sandwiches, a handful of plated entrées, and handcrafted ice cream and sodas from nearby sherry b dessert studio. Ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible, including some from the weekly farmers’ market in the adjacent commuter lot. Master Mixologist Eben Klemm designed a cocktail list with inspired choices, such as the Old Cuban (Sag Harbor rum, lime juice, bitters, fresh mint leaves) and the Manhattan Bound (McKenzie rye, Dolin sweet vermouth, Averna, bitters).
The beverage program includes artisan products and sustainable ingredients from local purveyors such as Sherry B Dessert Studio
“When Erin and Peter asked me to partner with them, they had already fostered relationships with local farmers and producers,” says Ashkinaze, who was previously executive chef at Gallagher’s Steakhouse. “The menu’s keystone is to work with as many local ingredients as possible, harvested at their peak and prepared simply.”
The Chases know a thing or two about running a hospitality business; they also own bpc, a hospitality development and management company whose work includes the W Montréal’s être avec toi seafood restaurant/art gallery and its onsite nightclub, Wunderbar, as well as Skybar Miami, MGM Grand Casinos in Las Vegas, and Millesime at the Carlton hotel in Manhattan.
“Our programming is developed to bring energy to our hamlet’s downtown core at night and hopefully spur growth,” says Peter, referencing their Wine Down Wednesdays with half-off wine and beer, Mexican-themed menu Thursdays, and Live Jazz Saturdays.
Note: Ordering is British-pub style, meaning you check off your selections on the menu card and hand it in at the bar.
1 Station Plz, Chappaqua (914) 861-8001; www.chappaquastation.com