In the past few weeks local new sites have been abuzz about the Bloomfield Center Renaissance: a collection of old buildings adjacent to the Bloomfield Train Station have been demolished and a new mixed residential/retail complex is slated to occupy that block. With camera in hand I had to see what the fuss was about and discovered a foodie wonderland that apparently has slipped under the radar of pretty much everyone with an opinion about Bloomfield.
While taking note of the Glenwood Diner, Southern Belle Barbeque, and Senorita’s Mexican Grill I spotted Anthony’s Cheesecake on Washington St. Anthony’s Cheesecake is real!
Like pretty much everyone in the area I have had Anthony’s Cheesecake at countless parties, and church socials, and fundraisers galore, but I’ve never been there. Before stumbling upon Anthony’s, I imagined a commercial kitchen in a business district that sends out cheesecake to the adoring public. (Think Willie Wonka with cheesecake instead of candy, and without the Oompah Loompahs) Instead I found a charming café, a huge kitchen, and a menu that consisted of so much more than just cheesecake!
My timing could not have been more perfect, I arrived in the late morning and was in time to have breakfast and see the start of lunch. To start the day Anthony’s serves up traditional breakfast faire like Bacon, Egg, and Spinach Melt on Flatbread or how about a breakfast burrito with your choice of breakfast meat (both are $4.95). There are bagels, French toast, and a breakfast quinoa cup made to order (call in advance so you don’t have to wait). I opted for the Belgian Waffles with Cookie Butter. Toasted Belgian Waffles with a thin layer of delicious cookie butter, they then add fresh strawberries and bananas with warm maple syrup. (No further discussion is needed, just check out the picture). Being quite particular about coffee I was pleased to see Green Mountain Coffee on the menu.
Lunch preparation was underway when I finished so I had to see what Anthony Lauro and his business partner Phil Byrne were working on in the kitchen. Everything is made the day its served, or in the case of some baked or cold items the afternoon before. The lunch menu changes greatly everyday depending on season, customer interest, and inspiration of the chefs. Recent featured items include pulled pork burritos, a buttermilk chicken and waffle sandwich, portabella & spinach fajita, and lasagna Bolognese. There are some items that are always there for lunch, Anthony explained that having some items always available makes it easier for people who call quickly and just want to order their favorite.
Lauro embraces technology. Since the menu at Anthony’s changes frequently, the website AnthonysCheesecake.com is updated each afternoon to reflect the next day’s offerings. Some days there will be major changes, others only a special or two will change. For National Cheesecake Day for instance, the extra special special is a mini cheesecake included with each lunch entrée.
And that brings us to the cheesecake. Like me you’ll have to wait until the weather cools to dig into Sweet Potato Cheesecake: Fresh baked sweet potatoes with nutmeg and other spices blended throughout the classic cheesecake batter. In the meantime favorites include Brownie Explosion which features a brownie crust and bits of brownie throughout the cheesecake; Caramel Apple and Classic New York Cheesecake. There are all manner of variations available featuring various fruits as well as Italian Style cakes made with Ricotta. Anthony’s Red Velvet and Carrot Cake are top drawer as well! To see the full menu check the website.
Here’s a cool trick, to make sure the variety of cake you want is available for your event call 2 days in advance and pay via credit card. Since parking is tight at times call Anthony’s with your mobile phone as you pull onto Washington Street, there is a loading zone right in front of the shop and they can bring your cheesecake right to the car. This makes quick pickups really easy.
In the near future the block immediately across the street will change dramatically. A parking deck and mixed residential/retail complex is slowly being built. While endless nuisance lawsuits to stop construction have been filed, each has been thrown out of court. Laura and Byrne, and many in the business community in that end of town are looking forward to a real start in construction as it will not only bring lots of short term construction jobs to the area, but eventually will bring new residents and potential new customers to the area. But until that happens Anthony’s Cheesecake will be our little secret.