Face it, Roselle Park loves to eat. For a one-square mile town, we have more than our share of eateries. We run the gambit from sit down formal restaurants where the ambiance is as appealing as the meal to take-out places that serve good food in a small space. A new addition to the cuisine of Roselle Park has opened right across the street from Borough Hall.
Nestled right on Roselle Park’s busiest road, Westfield Avenue, is Xpress Cafe Gorumet – a warm, cozy little restaurant with its own unique flavor. Open since mid January, Xpress Cafe has incorporated the conveniences of a coffee shop with the service of a restaurant.
Co-owner Jorge Acero recalled how he, his wife, and his sister-in-law Ana Palma choose the location, “I was going towards the Parkway and I saw the leasing sign. My wife and I walked up and down the streets around town and it seemed like it was missing the Spanish cuisine.”
Originally, Jorge was going to have a small restaurant in New York City but final negotiations with the landlord and his family left everything at a dead end standstill. Almost a year passed when he came upon Roselle Park. He said, “We thought the location was excellent. The size was great because we wanted a small restaurant.”
Signing the lease midyear in 2014, the business entrepreneurs got to work on their vision by having Jorge’s sister – who is an architect – create the design, which is based on Colombian coffee houses. Then came the name. Jorge went on to explain, “The concept was a stop, grab, and go for the morning rush where you could come in and get a cup of coffee and something to take with you. But if you wanted to take time to enjoy a meal, we could accommodate that, too.”
Press Cafe Gourmet is open from 5 a.m. – 9 p.m. for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and coffee.
Breakfast has a hot buffet or sit-down option and ranges from a cup of coffee to a full meal with sausage, scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns.
Lunch – along with paninis, tortas, and sandwiches – offers three main plates of beef, pork, or chicken along with sides. The sides range from rice, beans, tostones, plantains, patacon, and fries. Their famous empanadas are also available.
Dinner has everything from steak to barbecue ribs to Peruvian-seasoned chicken to brisket to the three-plate specials of beef, pork, and chicken that come with two sides, soup or salad, drink, and dessert.
For those who want to come in for a cup of coffee and dessert have a range to choice from, including cakes, mousse, flan, New York-style cheesecake, creme brulee, tiramisu, dulce de leche, and cookies along with other pastries. Cappuccino, lattes, espresso, frappe, iced coffee, and tea are also available.
But if ever you would want eggs at night, Xpress Cafe can accommodate. Ana, who is also the head chef, recalls living in New York City for 10 years, “There you could have anything whenever you wanted however you wanted it. I was spoiled that way. I remember when I moved here, one day I wanted arepas with chocolate. It was four o’clock in the afternoon and all I wanted was that and the lady said they couldn’t make it. I asked her if she had corn cakes in the back. She said yes. I asked if they had chocolate. She said yes. So I asked why couldn’t I have it and she said because it’s only for the morning menu. I told her ‘says who?’ It was then I said I should open a place where you can come and you can eat any time of the day whatever you want because that’s the way it should be. If you have it in stock, you can make it.”
Ana and Jorge understand that the customer wants what they want – a good meal – the way they want it. That is why the only thing really ever prepared for the day is the rice. Everything else is made on-the-spot to order to maintain freshness and everything is cooked in their open kitchen up front. Ana stated, “It’s important because you have to know how your food is being made.”
Xpress Cafe is set up to allow for privacy as well as camaraderie. There are seats that allow for anyone to sit and relax with a cup of coffee or snacks while looking outside but there is also a large table for those who want to mingle with family, friends, or just other patrons. Jorge and Ana have even thought about having a small gift shop area for those who may need to pick something up last minute.
“You can have a coffee and a pastry if you want to be alone,” Ana remarked about their amenities, “You can sit with your laptop or tablet and enjoy our free wifi. But then you can have a meal if you want, too.”
Although just opened for two months, Xpress Cafe has plans to grow into the community as a part of it. There are plans to have outdoor dining in warm weather, perhaps even to have an acoustic musician night or poetry night for people to have someplace to go in the evenings right in town.
Jorge is busy but is taken aback by the community he is becoming a part of, “The town is very welcoming. The people are so friendly and I’m impressed that everyone seems to know everyone. You cannot find that in New York City.”
Ana added, “When this was planned, it was with the intention to have people to have a place to sit and share a meal, rest after work, grab a bite before going to work. We put our hearts into it and when you do that, it shows. We know that we’re in business to please people and that’s what we’re going to apply here. The customer is the one who’s going to take us where ever this place will go. The customers are going to direct us.”
In addition to a la carte dining, Xpress Cafe does catering.
Cash and credit cards are accepted and delivery is available in town.