Café derived from catering business opens in Woodbury
Growing up in a family of cooks, Angela Verrastro learned from the best, especially grandma Angelina.
"Food was almost always at the center of any family gathering," she said.
In a small town in New York, Verrastro grew up learning how to make authentic Italian sauces, pastas, breads, and all natural meats and poultry dishes. But she never took cooking seriously until well into her adult life.
Inspired by cooks in the family and her time living in Brussels, Belgium, Verrastro opened up Angelina's Kitchen in Woodbury about five years ago.
Then just a couple of weeks ago, she turned the former Beans and Bakery into Angelina's Café right across the street from her existing catering and takeout business.
"For me it was a perfect example of small businesses working together to survive and thrive in a challenging environment," she said.
The former Beans and Bakery owner worked with Verrastro on remodeling the place to turn it into a whole new coffee shop with many items on the menu now prepared at Angelina's Kitchen and served at Angelina's Cafe, located in the Eagle Valley Marketplace
"It was really important to us to represent small neighborhood businesses on this side of Woodbury," Verrastro said.
Angelina's Café is now a hangout spot for those looking to enjoy some good company, home cooked meals, baked goods and coffee drinks.
Most of the heavy-duty sauces, baked lasagnas and grilled meats are prepared at Angelina's Kitchen and sold at Angelina's Café. But paninis, wraps, salads and sandwiches are done right at the coffee shop.
The café represents a whole new independent business in Woodbury, but is still serving some of the most popular entrees from Angelina's Kitchen -- a place where all natural ingredients are emphasized.
"For years my customers have asked me 'When are you going to open a place where we can actually come in and dine in?'" Verrastro said. "I want this to be a place where people feel comfortable."
Customer feedback has been a vital part in Verrastro's career as a chef. Before opening Angelina's Kitchen, she did a test run for about seven months for family and friends who gave her honest criticism.
"I cooked, oh my goodness, for lots of people," she said.
Her motivation to open Angelina's Kitchen was to provide clean, natural ingredients for busy families.
With Angelina's Café now open with a drive-through, Verrastro said it's "an alternative to the fast food dilemma."
The café is open Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours will be extended until 8 p.m. beginning next month.
Angelina's Café will have a grand opening Friday, March 25, where customers will be able to sample foods and purchase specials.