“The best French toast ever!”
“The best ham and sausage omelette I’ve ever tasted!”
“It’s a great addition to the town — a real neighborhood gathering place.”
“Super food and friendly staff!”
These are just some of the rave reviews that are making the rounds about the hot new coffee house, Cafe 44 on Leigh Avenue.
Opened in March by Jennifer Jefferis, it is located in the former space of Tortuga’s Mexican Village, which has moved across the street, and which Ms. Jefferis also owns.
‘We’ve had a great response,” she says. “There has been great word-of-mouth. People like to come, and they seem to enjoy everything. We have a friendly atmosphere; it’s fun, down-to-earth and good value for the money.”
Manager Matthew Miller has had extensive experience in the cafe business and is a barista. “We roast our own coffee, and it is very popular,” he reports. “People are really commenting on how good the food is, and we have lots of repeat customers. Our staff is excellent, very reliable, and capable.”
The space, which is inviting and relaxing, was totally renovated, he adds. The new wood floors are handsome, and a side room, featuring leather sofas, comfortable chairs, and book shelves, attracts customers who appreciate a cozy “library” setting in which to sip coffee and also take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi.
“The main dining room’s tables and chairs can accommodate 34 people. Together, both rooms provide seating for nearly 50.
The cafe also offers rotating artwork, and on June 3, an artist’s reception will be held for Bucks County photographer Donna Lovely from 2 to 4 p.m.
Other than diners, not many places offer breakfast all day, and this has been a big draw. As a neighborhood customer reports, “There was a need for a place like this to serve breakfast all day. And what they have is delicious — generous portions and very high quality. I love to come for brunch. And you never feel rushed, even when it’s full of people.”
Fresh and Local
Fresh and local ingredients are emphasized, adds Mr. Miller. “This is important. We are a local establishment, and we support area farmers and vendors.”
“Some of the most popular items are the challah French toast, the peasant omelette (with red potato, onion, cheddar cheese, and bacon, ham, sausage or pork roll), and the home fries,” says Ms. Jefferis. Other favorites are pancakes, Belgian waffles, and the variety of omelettes, and scrambled or fried eggs.
Weekends are especially popular for brunch, but lunch is another option, and lunchtime customers are increasing in numbers. “We want people to see what a great place this is to come on week days, too. Parking is not difficult, and you can walk here from nearby offices. It’s just about a 10-minute walk from Nassau Street.”
Soups, sandwiches, and salads are on the lunch menu, and favorites include grilled turkey, brie, and green apple; also, the avocado BLT (with avocado added to the traditional bacon, lettuce and tomato). Other choices are grilled chicken with bacon, Swiss cheese, and honey mustard dressing, and grilled veggies with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Spinach, chef’s, Caesar, and mixed greens are all popular salads.
Cafe 44 is also noted for its scrumptious baked goods from Sweetmama. Muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, brownies, cupcakes, and cookies are all big sellers.
A variety of coffees covers the spectrum, from a cup of Joe to espresso, cappuccino, latte, au lait, mocha, and macchiato, among others. Assorted teas, juices, sodas, and smoothies are also offered.
French Toast Fans
Prices include two eggs any style for $5, pancakes and French toast at $6, grilled sandwiches from $7, and salads from $6.
Take-out and catering service are also provided, and while Ms. Jefferis and Mr. Miller are very happy with the response to their daytime hours, they are looking forward to providing dinner within a few months. “We plan to be open Thursday through Sunday, and we also hope to have live music on Friday and Saturday nights.”
The focus is on Princeton customers, but as word gets out, people are coming from the surrounding area as well. “They really like the unpretentious atmosphere, quality food, and reasonable prices, note Ms. Jefferis and Mr. Miller.
Cafe 44 is very family-friendly, and many parents come in with children. The edibles and the surroundings attract all ages!
The reviews and critiques continue to be excellent, both in person and on-line, such as on Yelp, the user review website.
“We’ve had a great response, and I really enjoy connecting with the people,” says Ms. Jefferis. “I like to see them enjoying themselves. All they have to do is come in and taste what we have, and they’ll be back!”
Cafe 44 is open Tuesday through Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (609) 924-3900. Web: www.cafe44princeton.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/cafe44princeton.