There’s more to Staten Island than top-tier Italian cuisine (we were surprised too). Some of the city’s coolest cafés—think artisan design markets, gourmet sandwich slingers, and “slutty” brownies—call this borough home base. Here are 10 cafés worth savoring in Staten Island.
Serving the kind of community-centric charm not available on Manhattan menus, Every Thing Goes Back Book Cafe embodies everything that’s special about Staten Island. This “home of used books and organic espresso” often hosts free musical performances, open mic nights, and meet-ups for local activists, mediators, and more. Come for the fair-trade coffee and over 30 tea options (and bring old books to donate while you’re at it), and stay for the café’s unique neighborhood flavor.
Come hungry for more than just one piece at Piece-A-Cake, a locally beloved bakery and café. Iced cinnamon bun coffee, Thanksgiving sandwiches, and the fan favorite “slutty brownie” (don’t ask, just try) are only a small sampling of the café’s unique offerings. Sure, the menu features every classic coffee drink you could want, but between those and options such as red velvet and toffee coffee, the choice is a piece of cake.
Friendly New York City baristas, a rare breed, make every experience at Beans and Leaves Cafe a memorable one. Culinary school grads and bean-brewing vets man the counter here, where Staten Island locals savor cake batter frappes, peanut butter waffles, and cafe cocoa drinks. Offering over 20 strange-flavored sweeteners, Beans and Leaves could convert even the snobbiest coffee purist.
Fuel your body with the nutritious café fare at Fab Cup. Here, gluten-free crepes come stuffed with ingredients such as coconut, eggs or honey, while protein shakes and smoothie bowls feature good-for-you ingredients such as dragonfruit and goji berries. Wash it all down with the café’s bulletproof coffee, an addictive concoction created with coconut oil and grass-fed butter.
Coffee bar and ethical design market SIPS + MAKER could easily fit in with the artsy-chic cafés of Greenwich Village and Williamsburg. Indulge in complex zucchini nut loafs and salted caramel lattes as you peruse the café’s highly curated selection of artisan offerings. Natural shell jewelry, multi-use textiles from India, and simmered wine vegan chocolate all make great gifts.
As any islander will tell you, the borough’s best breakfast snack is at Country Donuts Amboy, a family-owned business serving Staten Island for over 30 years. Open 24 hours a day, the spot serves an array of savory items (including a chicken salad hailed as “The Best on Staten Island”), but it’s the early morning offerings that shine here. Fresh donuts in classic varieties such as old-fashioned, glazed, and chocolate pair well with kooky-flavored “whipped” cappuccinos.
Bringing care back to the café experience, Duzer’s Local invites you to sample the very best of the borough. From bacon-loaded split pea soup to Twinkies, everything is homemade at this café-cum-general store. While Duzer’s does offer free wifi, you’ll be too busy perusing the shop’s selection of specialty pasta, gourmet candies, and more to fuss with your phone.
The Sweet Life Bake Shop | Courtesy of The Sweet Life Bake Shop
With The Sweet Life Bakeshop, husband-and-wife team Gene and Grace Provenzano set out to make Staten Islanders’ days a little sweeter. Grace’s “straightforward American desserts,” including chocolate-peanut butter brownies, black-and-white cookies, and homemade pop tarts with fillings such as raspberry and Nutella®, have attracted the attention (and appetites) of stockists in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and beyond.
Part of the same family as cult-favorite Italian bakery Royal Crown, Filoncino Cafe is a favorite destination of sandwich-seeking islanders. Fresh bread, mozzarella, and the Crown’s famous balsamic glaze are made daily on-site at this local hot spot, which serves up balsamic fried chicken, hot capicola, and tuna and soft cheese sandwiches.
At Harvest Café, “great food with a mission” is what’s on the menu. Part of A Very Special Place, Inc., the restaurant supports developmentally disabled individuals by providing hands-on experience in the food service industry, helping to facilitate job placement. Cooking up quality all-American fare, including buttermilk griddle cakes, open-faced tuna melts, and fresh crab cake sandwiches, Harvest Café is a special place, indeed.