A Perfect Cafe at the Perfect Location

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by Leah Glazer

Demitasse Cafe sits on the Pootatick River in Sandy Hook.

What brings you to a cafe?  Is it the workers, the coffee, the sandwiches, or the entertainment?  If you answered yes to one or more of those reasons, then Demitasse Cafe in Sandy Hook, Connecticut is worth your time.

The cafe is located on the Pootatuck River inside a quaint red two-story building.  The signs and furniture outside the cafe are warm and welcoming, and instantly set the tone for the Demitasse experience before entering the shop.

by Leah Glazer

 


 

What brings you to a cafe?  Is it the workers, the coffee, the sandwiches, or the entertainment?  If you answered yes to one or more of those reasons, then Demitasse Cafe in Sandy Hook, Connecticut is worth your time.

The cafe is located on the Pootatuck River inside a quaint red two-story building.  The signs and furniture outside the cafe are warm and welcoming, and instantly set the tone for the Demitasse experience before entering the shop.Photo by Leah Glazer.

Inside, the smell of freshly brewed coffee with a hint of toasted bread floated under my nose.  I was greeted with smiles by three workers , each of whom kindly offered their assistance.  Before I looked at the menu, I studied the room and found that the lighting and paint color complimented each other well.  The faint sound of conversation led my eyes to the sitting area, which was packed but surprisingly inviting.  I didn’t feel rushed or overwhelmed to order right away, and the customers’ body language showed me that this was a place to relax and genuinely enjoy a nice meal and drink, with or without company.

As I scanned more of the cafe, I discovered what would unknowingly be my favorite item offered.  Gelato.  Eight flavors of gelato.  Hazelnut, vanilla, peanut butter chocolate, or mint stracciatella?  Before deciding what flavor to get, I reminded myself of my last gelato experience.  A Dixie cup-size portion cost me $4.75. I decided to nix the sweet, creamy delicacy until I saw the sign $3.50 for a good size portion. It had to be mine, but I figured to save what I consider dessert for last.

I read over the menu, which displayed a variety of espresso drinks, teas, soups, salads and sandwiches.  The pricing was very reasonable considering the portion of the meals and drinks.  I ordered a chicken sandwich, which consisted of the Demitasse homemade chicken waldorf salad, romaine lettuce, tomato, and dried cranberries, all delicately layered on a croissant with a side of veggie sticks.  I chose to wash it all down with a Foxon Park orange soda.  It would have been wise of me to snap a photo of the meal, but my excitement for the sandwich caused me to inhale it before the idea struck me.  Thankfully, the friends that joined me for lunch allowed me to take a minute to capture a few shots of their chicken quesadilla and iced mocha.

My chicken sandwich tasted fresh with a mix of all my favorite textures.  Every few bites had a nice crunch from the bits of walnut mixed into the salad, but the croissant was a really nice touch for texture — soft and a little buttery after the initial crisp of the top layer.  The dried cranberries were an additional treat.  Just when I thought I was adjusting to the taste of the chicken salad, a burst of sweet tartness pleased my taste buds.

The side of veggie sticks were not only light in weight, but lightly salted and perfect for the salt I’d been craving.  The entire dish was just the right size to fill my stomach.  I wasn’t left hungry, or with the need to unbutton my pants — I was just content and full.

My friend’s chicken quesadilla was cut into four triangles and layered over one another in a circle surrounding Photo by Leah Glazer.the cup of sour cream and chips.  When I say cup of sour cream, I mean a cup of sour cream.  For any of you sour cream lovers, you won’t have to ask for an additional side of the cold, smooth dip.  Demitasse knows what their customers want, and they supply.

The quesadilla consisted of chopped chicken, shredded cheese and a homemade tomato salsa provided by Demitasse’s own assistant manager, Nick Doniger. The quesadilla was this week’s special, thanks to Doniger, who conjures up the cafe’s weekly specials menu. What made this quesadilla stand out was the salsa a mix of yellow scotch bonnet peppers, which are one degree lower in spice than jalapenos — however, the cheese neutralized the spice so it was not too overbearing and hot to eat for a spice-wimp like myself.  The quesadilla was a perfect blend.

Another perfected item from Demitasse is their iced mocha.  “This is one of the best iced mochas I’ve had,” Adam Glazer said in between sips of the cool beverage. “Many mochas’ chocolate is overpowering and sweet, so you can’t taste the espresso.  You get a good balance of both chocolate and espresso here.”


 

“I like the house coffee and their Morning Glory muffins,” said Demitasse morning regular, Tinaz Mody, “But it’s the vibe and the staff, and a nice quiet place to prepare my work before going out that keeps me coming back.”



Not only does Demitasse perform the art of balance in their espresso drinks, but their coffees too offer a blend of multiple flavors.  “Our house blend is a blend of Latin American beans and Kenya.  It has a very smooth, evenly roasted flavor and a hazelnut vibe to it with a touch of that fruity acidity from African coffees, but it’s not overpowering,” said Doniger.

Demitasse’s owner, Mike Landry, has been in the coffee business for 14 years after studying coffee and espresso in Bologna, Italy.  He made the wise choice to have Willoughby’s in New Haven provide their coffee and Danesi Cafe from Rome deliver their espresso.  Demitasse’s house blend is a favorite among the cafe’s regulars.  “I like the house coffee and their Morning Glory muffins,” said Demitasse morning regular, Tinaz Mody, “But it’s the vibe and the staff, and a nice quiet place to prepare my work before going out that keeps me coming back.”Photo by Leah Glazer.

For others it’s the soup that brings them in.  “The soup is incredibly popular,” said Doniger, “People go nuts for the soup.”  Provided from Hale & Hearty from New York City, their soups vary daily, though Demitasse hopes to start serving some homemade soups.

Other popular items are their Harney & Sons high quality, full leaf teas from Millerton, NewYork and their (and my personal favorite) gelato from Gelato Giuliana out of New Haven.  When asked about his favorite flavor Doniger said, “Despite the fact that we’ve got all these crazy flavors like peanut butter chocolate and mint stracciatella and cappuccino to be honest, my favorite one is actually just straight up chocolate.  It is awesome.”  And awesome it was.  My friends and I shared the generous cup of creamy, smooth, and thick chocolate gelato in a matter of minutes.

My prediction is that more than anything else, the weekend entertainment is going to be the most appealing aspect of Demitasse Cafe.  Every Saturday night, live music brings the cafe to life, and starting March 11, the cafe will host their first stand up show.  With warm weather right around the corner, I’m expecting to see people inside the cafe, as well as lounging outside on their balcony that overlooks the Pootatuck River.  The fact that Landry is trying to receive a liquor license shouldn’t hurt my prediction either.

Visit Demistasse at 3 Glen Road in Sandy Hook from 6am to 9pm Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 6am to 8pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 7am to 10pm on Saturdays and 8am to 4:30pm on Sundays.  For more information on the cafe, visit their website here.

 


 

 

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