It’s been a year in Bloomfield, NJ for Anthony’s Cheesecake, whose repertoire has expanded to breakfast, brunch and lunch, alongside a mouthwatering array of baked goodies. You get all types when it comes to restaurateurs, but I like Anthony’s type best. Friendly and down-to-earth, and it’s nice that we both take food inspiration from our grandmothers. It also helps that he always remembers my (cake loving) son’s name and asks about him.
Here’s the story I wrote about Anthony’s Cheesecake when it opened last year.
I talked to him as the cafe celebrated its first anniversary recently, and here’s what he said:
How has the past year worked out for you?
It’s been better than we expected. When you come to Washington St and you see the redevelopment under way, it’s not the most attractive block right now, but we have hopes of a beautiful street with lots of people shopping and dining when it is all done. We’ve made many friends and customers who come back on a regular basis which is very important in our business. Since we have opened, a yoga studio and hair salon/spa have joined us in this row, and we hope this trend of new stores continues.
What’s changed menu-wise from a year ago?
When we met last year, we thought we would be opening a dessert and coffee spot where customers can relax to enjoy some of our sweet treats. But as soon as we opened, customers were asking for breakfast and lunch. Since (business partner) Phil and I never planned on serving either, we decided why not offer a small breakfast menu.
We started with breakfast sandwiches and expanded to french toast, fresh made breakfast burritos, belgian waffles, quinoa(which has been a big hit) and other breakfast fare. We decided lunch had to be a little different from other places, and we try to offer something for everyone–italian, mexican, vegetarian, gluten free and many other homemade selections from homemade lasagna bolognese to pierogies and grilled portabella quesadillas to roasted vegetable quinoa.
Click on the link below for a slideshow of Anthony’s Cheesecakes goodies: http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=107931
We now have our website where our customers can sign up to receive our specials sent to them daily. I am also taking advantage of social media by taking pictures regularly of our food and talking about them on Twitter and Facebook. The response has been huge.
So, the location’s working out?
It’s a good location for now. In a few years when redevelopment is done–I believe it will be a great move that we came here. I have lived in Bloomfield for over 20 years and we opened our first store by Bloomfield high school, so we have made so many friends here. We did look at several places in Montclair and found the rents to be very high.
Mainly business people who come for breakfast before getting on the train and also many who work in the area who come here for lunch. Many of our customers are from the college or yoga students taking classes upstairs and from the salon next door. A friend said the traffic here has picked up a lot since we opened and other new businesses have opened.
Are you getting visitors from outside of the town?
A lot of our customers are also from Glen Ridge and Montclair. I always ask them how they heard about us and it’s word of mouth – the best source of advertising and we appreciate everyone for doing so.
If you could start over, what would you do differently?
If we could do anything different here it would be to expand our dining area. There are many times during lunch that we have customers who want to dine in but there is no seating available to them. When we close our cafe for private parties we can only host 25 people. I also wish we had room for an area where we can sell our packaged sauces and homemade entrees to go.
What are your three most popular dishes?
Great question! Our lasagna bolognese with meatballs, our pulled pork sliders, our chicken and waffle sandwich with bacon and honey roasted peaches, and mixed green salad with balsamic glazed figs & strawberries with goat cheese and candied pecans. Oops, did you say 3?
What’s your personal favorite?
I’m an Italian food lover and really enjoy our lasagna bolognese with meatballs. For dessert, I have to say the caramel cheesecake with candied walnuts and sea salt crystals is my favorite.
71 Washington St, Bloomfield NJ. 973 415 8885