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Dining Out: Risen from ashes – Frenchtown Café

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Hearts were broken throughout Frenchtown, N.J., in August of last year when a tractor-trailer struck a telephone pole before causing a fire that destroyed Galasso’s Pizzeria and the Frenchtown Cafe.

Residents who had grown fond of the café during its 24 years in operation were afraid it would not reopen. Owner Rosella Caloiero was worried about that too.

But earlier this month, after a great deal of hard work the café opened its doors with a new menu, a state-of-the-art kitchen and a circa 1900 motif that harkens back to when the building was built.

“Out of the bad came the good,” said Caloiero, who said she was inspired by the town to rebuild.

“People reached out to me,” she said. They made it clear they wanted the café to return. “This is a ‘Cheers’ kind of place,” she said, where everyone knows your name.

Since reopening on Nov. 6, the restaurant has been busy with returning customers who are delighted by the updated menu that includes old favorites as well as new dishes that have quickly been embraced.

The restaurant serves breakfast in the morning, including the perennial customer favorite, Bliss, which is eggs scrambled with diced bacon, cream cheese and chives on an English muffin. A vegetarian version substitutes onion, spinach and mushrooms for the bacon.

Other breakfast favorites include benedicts, pancakes, fruity or Nutella-flavored French toasts, steak tostada, huevos rancheros, make-your-own omelets and the Maya Bowl with soft scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, queso blanco and black beans.

Lunch is served in the afternoon with fresh soups and a variety of sandwiches including Cranberry Turkey with a slice of stuffing tucked inside along with roasted turkey, cranberries, tomato and lettuce. Other customer favorites are the café steak sandwich, fried chicken, avocado toast, Taylor pork roll with cheese, and the pastrami panini.

Customers have embraced salads that are newly added to the menu including the Baja Salad with chicken, romaine lettuce, guacamole, corn, pico de gallo, queso fresco and avocado ranch dressing. Also warmly received is the Turkey Rochelle Salad with fresh greens, turkey salad, cranberries and walnuts.

Vegetarians can choose from the Black Bean Burger Bonanza, the vegetarian kale reuben, a vegetarian panini and a vegetarian quesadilla.

Desserts fill a glass case – diner style – and are made in-house.

Caloiero has extended hours on weekends so that her customers have plenty of time to stop by and enjoy the new décor as well as the new menu.

FRENCHTOWN CAFÉ

44 Bridge St.,

Frenchtown, N.J.

908-996-0663, Facebook

Cost: Breakfast $4.95-$13.25, lunch $7.50-$13.95.

Customer favorites: Baja salad, turkey salad, burgers and the Bliss scrambled egg breakfast.

Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon., Wed., Thu., Fri.; 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Closed Tues.

susan.yeske@gmail.com


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