Above: Mike and Krista Pietrafeso
Most Riverside natives have a soft spot for Ada’s and memories of brown paper bags filled with penny candy. Today the historic Victorian house, which was the local post office in the late 1800s before later becoming Ada’s Variety Shop, has been completely remodeled and reopened as Ada’s Kitchen and Coffee. The building is still in the family, owned by the Romaniellos, Ada’s nephew and niece. But the new location dishes out much more than candy and newspapers. You can still satsify your sweet tooth from the self-serve bar of gummies, sour twists and other faves, but most people are there to fuel up on coffee (made with beans from local roaster Path in Port Chester), breakfast and lunch from Chef Mike Pietrafeso.
The new Ada’s retains its old-school feeling, as interior designer Katie Watson kept the original bead board and window moldings and added a few rustic accents, such as vintage pendant lights, natural wood counters and a giant chalkboard displaying the menu, which changes weekly. Breakfast lovers will appreciate the fact that the morning meal is served all day. A must-try: the Ada’s English muffin sandwich, a farm-fresh egg on a baked-in-house English muffin with bacon, Grafton cheddar, arugula and bernaise sauce, one messy and delicious sandwich. There’s also avocado toast, homemade maple-almond granola and a power green smoothie, as well as freshly baked pastries.
While these breakfast choices were expected to be a hit with commuters (the location is so close to the train), families are big customers here, too, and Saturday is the busiest day.
A French Culinary Institute grad, Mike has spent time working at Napa and LeFarm, and his attention to detail shows. For a healthy lunch, try his roasted carrot hummus bowl that’s a rainbow of veggies with avocado, purple cabbage, chickpeas, roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes over a bed of kale. The popular grilled chicken sandwich is served with caramelized onions, arugula and fontina on sourdough, while a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich dabbles in Southern flavors with homemade barbecue sauce, ranch, dill pickles on brioche. His finesse extends to sweets, too, and to the ultimate treat: a homemade ice cream sandwich. It melts quickly. Plan to eat yours sitting out on Ada’s front porch. 112 Riverside Ave; 203-637-1956; adaskitchenandcoffee.com
“WE’VE HAD A GREAT RESPONSE IN THE COMMUNITY RIGHT OFF THE BAT,” SAYS MIKE. “I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER.” SO GOOD, IN FACT, THAT THEY ARE SOON GOING TO BE OPEN ON SUNDAYS, TOO, AS WELL AS ADDING PREPARED DINNERS TO GO.