Delicious Dining and a Warm Welcome Await Visitors at the Blawenburg Bistro
TEAM WORK: “Our goal is to provide the absolute pinnacle of food quality and services. Our logo is pineapple (the Colonial universal sign of welcome) and tulips (traditional flowers from Holland that represent the Dutch family of John Blaw, the settler of Blawenburg).” Jennifer Cifelli, far left, owner of the new Blawenburg Bistro, is shown with staff members, from left, Rebecca, Kenia, and Kelly.
By Jean Stratton
I am glad to come to work every single day! And I am here every day. I am inspired by this opportunity.”
The many customers of the Blawenburg Bistro share owner Jennifer Cifelli’s enthusiasm. They are coming from all over the Princeton area and beyond, stopping in for coffee and a croissant early in the morning as they commute to work, or later in the day for a leisurely lunch.
Opened in April, the Bistro is a dream come true for owner Cifelli, who always loved cooking, but who took a detour before owning her own restaurant. She had a previous career as a teacher, but as she says, “I wanted to make a change, and this was the time to do it. I was always interested in cooking and different kinds of food. I was a foodie from day one!
“Also, we found just the right location at 391 County Route 518 in the Blawenburg Village section of Skillman. Our iconic corner building has a long history over more than 250 years. It has been a post office, general store, dry cleaner, deli, antique shop, newspaper headquarters, dog groomer, catering company, and cafe. We are proud to have a legacy of successful and welcoming businesses that have come before us. We want to keep that tradition.”
In fact, the tradition is well under way. High quality choices are available all day long for sit down and takeout, and in addition, a very busy catering business has been established.
“Blawenburg Bistro is an upscale, yet casual establishment that focuses on gourmet cafe-style offerings,” explains Cifelli. “We feel we are an elevated-style cafe. We are all about flavor, and everything is well executed by our great staff and excellent chef.
“We have our own recipes, and all our dishes are unique — we are not boring. For example, we have special herbed mayo, exceptional curried chicken salad, and we make our own sourdough. We offer allergen-friendly choices, and gluten-free. A lot of our customers are vegetarian and vegan, and we have pastry alternatives for vegans.”
The customers like everything, adds Cifelli, herself a hands-on cook at the Bistro.
“We have many regulars and repeat customers, and some even come every day. It’s interesting: some people order the same thing every time, and others are working their way through the menu.”
They will all find numerous choices to please the palate.
Breakfast offers everything from egg and cheddar sandwiches on a croissant to gluten-free quiche cups with ham, Swiss cheese, and spinach to avocado toast to the very popular veggie bowls (a combination of assorted cooked vegetables). A tempting variety of bagels, muffins, and croissants are available, and two other specialties are croissant bread pudding, and chocolate babka.
Salads and sandwiches highlight lunchtime, and they offer intriguing and often unexpected combinations. Mixed greens with pears, candied pecans, and bleu cheese, served with balsamic vinaigrette is in demand, as is Romaine lettuce with parmesan cheese and garlic brioche croutons, served with Caesar dressing.
Spinach salad with walnuts, Marcona almonds, apple, local cheddar, bacon and eggs, served with apple cider vinaigrette is a real crowd pleaser, and chicken or salmon can be added to each salad.
Sandwiches are served with truffle chips, and many delicious opportunities await. Turkey with cranberry aioli and basil on grain bread; grilled chicken with brie, caramelized onions, and raspberry jam on a baguette; and ham with goat cheese, red pepper jam, and arugula on a baguette.
The Bistro’s unique grilled cheese with fig and brie is a fan favorite; also, chicken tacos with mango salsa; salmon cake with herbed mayo and pickled red onion on a brioche bun; and hummus, cucumber, and tomatoes with sprouts in a bowl, served with bagel chips or wrap are additional favorites.
The display case is filled with an assortment of all kinds of pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and tortes, including gluten-free and vegan choices, to tempt the taste buds.
“All our pastries are made here,” says Cifelli, “and we have custom-baked cakes and pies. You can order a slice or a whole cake or pie.”
The variety of beverages includes assorted coffees, tea, fresh-squeezed orange juice, lemonade, imported sodas, sparkling water, and more.
Prices include a range, with breakfasts starting at $6, muffins at $3, and lunches up to $13.
In addition, the catering side of the business has been expanding, especially for private residential events. “We do all size parties and gatherings, and offer all kinds of choices, including elevated food for special parties and events, and hot and cold sandwiches for informal gatherings,” points out Cifelli.
“We were very busy for Thanksgiving dinners, and are now getting set up for Christmas and New Year’s. We also have a private room here for small groups.”
The Bistro can seat 35 (including at the counter), and there are eight tables outdoors for warm weather dining. Sophisticated food choices blend very nicely with the down-to-earth decor and friendly atmosphere.
Cifelli looks forward to many years serving customers and introducing them to her special dishes.
“We are planning for the long-term. We are here to stay. I enjoy getting to know our clientele so much. They are all ages, including families — it’s a real melting pot here. People are so glad to be out again after having to be inside during the last year. They really started coming here right away, and they keep coming.
“We do our best to offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and I am truly blessed with our staff. I love working with them, and I am so lucky. No wonder I like to be here every day!”
Blawenburg Bistro is open Monday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. On weekdays, the kitchen closes at 2:30 p.m., but pastries and coffee are available until closing.
For more information, call (609) 309-5317. Website: blawenburgbistro.com.