Destination Delaware County: Top Cafés

Where To Go For A Great Cup Of Coffee, Pastries, Wraps and The Best Bread In the County

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There’s nothing quite like a steaming “up of Joe” to awaken the senses. Pair it with a buttery croissant, or freshly-made scone, and you have one of life’s many pleasures. Where to go in the Catskills for just such a pleasure? Start in Delaware County, where an influx of visitors and new homeowners are keeping these spots busier than ever. Enjoy!

Dragonfly55
Epicurean Coffee Bistro

Little did this former California surfer girl dream that she would one day become the proprietress of one of the hottest spots in the Catskills. Robyn Ciccone’s  Dragonfly55 Epicurean Coffee Bistro, 55 Main Street, Andes, has attracted a steady stream of customers since it opened two and a half years ago. The bistro has been a labor of love for both Robyn and her husband John. Together, they have created a space with European touches – from classic tin ceiling tiles , hand painted by Robyn, to wrought iron porch railings installed by John a la Parisian apartment balconies and New Orleans’ creole houses. 

Inside, the café is light and airy with inviting tables that beckon one to sit and relax over a cappuccino or a steaming cup of her special medium roast coffee called Zombie Desert Haitian Blue by Café Kreyol. Significantly, each sale of coffee aids workers in Haiti “one cup at a time.” 

During the summer months, customers can enjoy outdoor dining at tables on the front lawn and porch or on the backyard deck, overlooking a babbling brook. Robyn’s genuine Italian espresso machine, plus a Bunn coffee grinder and drip maker, assures a perfect grind every time. The cafe’s motto, “Change Your Grind” not only refers to her rich aromatic coffee, but can be taken as wise advice for life itself. The bistro is open: Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wilson’s Bread

The heavenly aroma of fresh-baked bread emanates from the small storefront at 143 Main Street in Andes. It’s 8 a.m. Saturday morning and a line of eager customers is already waiting in front of Wilson’s Bread at an hour when many of us are still in our warm, cozy beds. Wilson Keenan, a San Francisco and New York City “expat” has, since opening his Main Street, Andes bread store in 2020, earned a well-deserved reputation as a master baker.   

His hearty loaves of peasant, sourdough and semolina bread are crusty on the outside; warm and moist on the inside. Many a customer is heard to remark, “How does he do it?” His croissants are made in the French tradition – flaky and buttery. One bite and it is easy to imagine that you are enjoying a “petit dejeuner” at a sidewalk Parisian café. In good weather, you can have your own petit dejeuner by ordering a cup of coffee at Wilson’s and taking your purchase outside to one of the two wrought-iron tables, comfortably seating six. 

Better get there early. Customers order in advance at Wilson’s online store every Wednesday, starting at 11 a.m., for pick up Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. It is not unusual to spot more than two dozen shopping bags of pre-purchased orders lined up inside the store. Baked-that-day loaves of bread and pastries are also available for store walk-ins. And, they go fast. 

To meet demand, Wilson’s Bread is open on Fridays as well. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Wilson’s Bread can also be purchased on Fridays at Good Cheap Food in Delhi, Home Goods in Margaretville, and Pepacton Natural Foods in Roscoe. His celebrated croissants and pastries can be purchased at Hollow in Delhi on Wednesday and Saturday.

Café Marguerite 

Café Marguerite at 746 Main Street in Margaretville is an amazing little gem of a discovery. And, like a beautiful gem, its pastries and desserts will take your breath away. They are that good. Owners Dina Melendez and Jean Francois Bonnet describe their café as French and Brooklyn style meets Catskill Mountains. The description is quite fitting. Melendez is originally from Brooklyn, and her husband, Jean Francois, is from the south of France. 

Together they bring years of culinary experience to their cozy café. 

Melendez grew up cooking alongside her mother, who worked as a professional chef in fine New York City restaurants and hotels. Melendez learned how to bake from her Italian grandmother. After graduation from culinary school, her first job was at Felicia, a three-star Italian restaurant in Manhattan. 

Bonnet worked as a chef at Michelin restaurants in France, before meeting an American chef who brought him to the states. In New York City, Bonnet served as pastry chef for two of the city’s most famous restaurants - Chef Laurent Tourondel’s Laurent and Daniel Boulud’s, Daniel. The couple met while Bonnet was still at Daniel and Mendez on her way to becoming executive pastry chef at Manhattan’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Melendez always dreamt of owning a small café – a dream that came true when the couple moved to Margaretville, swapping the hectic pace of the city for the beauty and quietude of the country. They opened Café Marguerite on the Fourth of July at the height of the pandemic. Today, customers can be seen waiting in line to take a seat inside at the window counter and small tables, or ordering to go. In warm weather, they can sit at one of the café’s outdoor wrought iron tables.  

Café Marguerite is known for its pastry and desserts made in the French tradition – financier (a small almond cake), croissant, Madeleine, pain au chocolat, tarts and custom-made cakes. Customers also enjoy the café’s light lunch fare such as quiche with salad, salmon on an everything croissant, BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) on a pretzel croissant, and chocolate from Bonnet’s own chocolate company. The coffee menu features both hot and iced Americano coffee, lattes, espresso, and cappuccino.

The Bonnets source ingredients locally. Their coffee is roasted in Albany, the milk is from Delhi, teas from Millerton, and kimchi from Roxbury. Union Grove Distillery in Arkville provided one of their whiskey barrels to produce the café’s whiskey-barrel aged coffee. All of the café’s syrups are made in-house, as is their almond milk.  

A typical day at the café starts long before opening hour with Bonnet making his famous donuts and staff prepping and baking the pastries. Melendez begins the production for custom orders and works the coffee station until her husband takes over. What does Melendez love most about her job? “The guests,” she is quick to respond. “Cooking is an art of gratification. Making people happy by feeding them, also feeds our soul.” Hours are Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5p.m.; Monday 8 a.m. to 2 pm.

Blue Bee Café

Blue Bee Café, 114 Main Street in Delhi, is as busy as a bee, seven days a week. The popular cafe started as a bookstore that morphed into a full-fledged café, thanks to the vision of its owners Stephanie Carter and husband John Halberian, who moved full-time to the Delhi area over a decade ago. The Steinway Book Company, as Carter called it, was a cozy space with floor to ceiling bookshelves and a few tables where customers could relax while skimming the pages of a book.

To the delight of her devoted customers, Carter began offering coffee and sandwiches. The idea was so well-liked that the business outgrew the space, with Carter taking the leap from bookstore to full-service café. Inside, the Blue Bee Café is light and airy, with vintage-style booths, stained glass on one wall and a long counter where customers can order “to go.”

It now serves up large steaming cups of coffee, with scones made just that morning, along with build-your-own omelets and quiche. Daily homemade soups, meal-size salads, plus old-fashioned sandwiches such as the café’s meatloaf sandwich and paninis are on the menu. Ingredients are sourced locally – a fact that earned the café the prestigious New York State Empire Award in 2019 for its support of the local economy, with Senator Jen Metzger making a personal visit.

Stop in and take out a coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte, or macchiato, along with a sweet treat. You’ll love those large-size oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. Or, opt to sit at one of the vintage-style booths. Window tables in each front corner provide cozy seclusion and a view of foot traffic on Main Street. The cafe is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 10a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mountain Dog Café

Mountain Dog Café, just off Main Street at 5 Harper Street in downtown Stamford, is all about the pour - coffee that is, and yes, dogs! The café is aptly named as it is dog-friendly with plenty of outdoor seating and window service where your four-legged friend is welcome to accompany you. And, if your pooch needs extra special treatment, Marilyn’s Mountain Dog Grooming Salon has recently opened right next door to the café. You can watch your dog being washed and “fluffed” through a shared glass window while you sip your coffee.

Inside, the café has a cozy country feeling with wooden tables made by Mike Porter, president of the Catskill Forest Association, who made the outdoor tables as well. Mountain Dog takes its commitment to great coffee seriously. The baristas who man the coffee counter are graduates of the Seattle Barista Academy. The café works with local bakers and providers, offering great pastries and cakes, breakfast wraps, bagels and afternoon soups, along with a full coffee menu.   

Owner Karen Saminski, a lawyer by profession, had little idea that a coffee café was in her future, when she and her family moved from New Jersey to Stamford a few years ago. The couple fell in love with the village and felt that it had everything they needed – beautiful surroundings, peace and quiet, yet with a liveliness about it. They decided that the town could use a coffee shop, so they bought one that had closed and after renovation, opened Mountain Dog Café in July of 2021. They named it Mountain Dog in honor of the three rescue dogs that joined their family; the youngest, Ranger, the café’s mascot. 

Running the café is a family affair. Son Jonathan, 22, who also went to coffee school in Seattle, manages the café while Saminski’s husband, Henry, a retired math teacher, cooks on weekends. The Café has recently added soft seating, a fireplace and additional tables, creating capacity for around 25 people. The café is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 8-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 

Stamford Coffee

Think 1980s Cheers (“(where everybody knows your name”) and you have the kind of camaraderie that describes Stamford Coffee, where locals and visitors go not only for a great cup of coffee and good eats, but to soak up the “vibe” and have fun. Located in a beautifully renovated older building at 79 Main Street, Stamford Coffee is airy and spacious indoors with tables and a window counter that looks out onto Main Street. A multi-level wooden deck with umbrella picnic tables makes for enjoyable outdoor dining in the spring and summer months.  The café has a full espresso bar serving up what customers describe as an “incredible” cup of coffee, as well as coffee specialties and teas. Owner Julian Fleisher, a transplanted Manhattanite, takes pride in the fact that everything served in the café is sourced locally. Nothing is imported further than 20 miles away. 

Special weekend events at the café are not to be missed. This is when local chefs come in with their specialties, serving delicious fare Friday through Sunday.  Albatross Farms, a “regular,” has been known to cater a full meal, everything from corn chowder, chicken pozola (a traditional Mexican stew) to handmade sandwiches with local pork or veggies. Lucky Sparrow, a Margaretville-based caterer, demonstrated during her weekend at this favorite café that the beloved grilled cheese sandwich could have many interesting gourmet variations.  

And for fun, Stamford Coffee hosts Music Mondays and Tarot Tuesdays, where your fortune can be read in the cards. Stamford Coffee also has a “give and take” program called Pay It Forward. Customers can purchase a card so someone needing a “boost” can it in for a coffee, tea or snack. The program has been very successful and the Pay It Forward station is filled with cards to make others happy.

Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Molto Espresso

When local residents Jenny and Ray Bartlett took ownership of the café that had closed at 151 Delaware Street, Walton’s main thoroughfare, they envisioned creating a place where young people and friends in the neighborhood could meet and kick back over a cup of good coffee. Molto Espresso is that place.  

Jenny, a teacher originally from the Schenectady area, had always loved going into coffee shops and imagined what she would do if she actually owned one. What she has done with Molto Espresso is provide a warm, friendly environment for customers where they such can chose to sit at one of the tables or relax in a corner with comfortable soft seating. 

The café has a coffee bar offering coffee specialties, along with original recipes of their own, such as a strawberry cupcake mocha and brown butter vanilla coffee. In the warm weather months, customers come in to cool off with a smoothie or an iced coffee, or take part in the café’s sip and paint program.

Molto Espresso is known for its popular paninis, named by husband Ray, a native of Walton and long-time band director at the Walton Central School. His love of music inspired not only the name of the café (Molto Espressivo means very expressive in the music world), but such gilled paninis on French bread as The Debussy (in-house cooked chicken breast with sliced ham and Swiss cheese) and the Sousa (roast beef, onion and cheese with horseradish or chipotle sauce). You can also order a Vivaldi, Puccini O’Rourke or Copeland. On the menu are eight different gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as salads and other cold sandwiches.

Daughter-in-law Caitlin Jones-Bartlett makes the delicious pastries and sweet treats. Her sinfully delicious blondie brownies topped with mini chocolate chips and pecans are customer favorites, as are the puffed pastries filled with cream cheese and sweet cherries. Eggs and other ingredients are sourced from local farms. 

Hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sundays. The café has an adjacent room that can be booked for meetings and small parties. 

Watershed Café

Watershed Café, 53470 State Highway 30, Roxbury, has everything going for it - inviting atmosphere, friendly servers, excellent breakfast and lunch menu plus great coffee. It is the only coffee-driven café in the area that has liquor among its offerings. Plus, the café has a popular market, where you can buy everything you need to fill your pantry from dairy, dry goods, personal care items to mixers, ciders and six-packs of beer.  

Housed in an historic building in the heart of the village, its inviting front porch has been a gathering place for the community since the house was built in 1845. A black and white image on Watershed’s website shows an earlier rendition of the building, housing The Palms Ice Cream Parlor. The building was actually a couple of structures that, at some point in its history, were merged into one.

The front porch is as popular now as it was back then. Customers linger over a cup of richly brewed coffee or a glass of wine, while viewing the comings and goings in Roxbury. Inside, the café has a cozy dining space with tables that can accommodate up to 30 customers. The café’s inviting atmosphere makes it the perfect place to relax with your laptop or book, while perusing and ordering from its extensive breakfast and lunch menu.  

The café also has a popular bar seating area. Customers report that the music selection is the best outside of New York City. From the dining area, you can walk through to the market, which has its own separate street entrance for the times when it is open beyond the café’s closing hour of 4 p.m. 

Owners Andrew Williams and Peter Ginger, from New York and Australia, purchased the building May 15, 2021, and opened two weeks later on Memorial Day weekend. They named the café Watershed, after the collection of water sources that become the rivers and reservoirs that are so important to the region. Like a watershed, they foresaw their business as becoming important to the ongoing renaissance of Roxbury, one of 843 areas throughout the country designated as a Preserve American Community. 

Watershed’s core business is great coffee. “That’s what got us started. It’s what powers us,” says Williams. The café, liquor sales, market and inn all build from that business. Watershed partners with Abbottsford Road Coffee, out of Brooklyn - coffee specialists for over two decades. Watershed’s baristas are all skilled at working the Faema to create a beautifully crafted, generous pour. The market, which opened the first week in January, was an instant hit. Customers can order from both the market and café online. This spring, Watershed will introduce a renovated three-bedroom, three-bathroom short term rental apartment. Reservations can be made online.  

The key to the café’s success? Quite simply, the owners love what they do. Watershed is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The kitchen closes at 3 p.m. The market stays open until 6 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday.

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