The Borgognone family has been on a journey from sweet to savory ever since 2017. That's when they added a cafe area to their Manhasset Buttercooky Bakery so that customers could have a seat and enjoy not only the renowned pastries and cakes, but also a new roster of homemade soups, salads and sandwiches. Earlier this year, they established a cafe at the Huntington Buttercooky and, now, the journey has come full circle with the opening of BC Bistro, an elegant New American restaurant located adjacent to the original Buttercooky (est. 1967) in Floral Park.
The restaurant is an emphatically family affair. When the florist at 225 Jericho went out of business, Buttercooky’s owner, Ben Borgognone, intended to expand the bakery into it. But his sons, Francesco and Ben Jr., convinced him to open a restaurant. When BC Bistro opened this summer, the boys put their time where their mouths were: Once Francesco finishes the day managing Huntington, he assumes his position as kitchen expediter; Ben Jr., who manages Manhasset, creates and plates the desserts.
But the Borgognones knew that to ensure that BC Bistro was not just a savory afterthought to a sweet empire, they needed a heavy hitter in the kitchen and so they hired chef Jorge Madrid, whose previous gigs include Restaurant Daniel and Union Square Cafe in Manhattan. "My bakery isn’t ordinary," said Borgognone the elder, "I didn’t want the restaurant to be ordinary."
Madrid’s menu is assured amalgam of Italian (baked clams, homemade pastas, chicken Parmesan), American comfort (crab cakes, burger with hand-cut fries, lobster roll) and contemporary classics (roasted beets with goat cheese and prosciutto, roasted salmon with sauteed spinach and Swiss chard, grilled shrimp tacos). Most starters are under $16; most mains are under $30.
The lunch menu ($14 to $21) leans hard on brunch favorites such as lemon-ricotta pancakes, challah French toast with berry-maple compote, a hash of short ribs and eggs and a proper croque madame, that incomparable griddled sandwich of ham, Gruyère cheese, béchamel sauce and a fried egg. Desserts are a combination of pastries from next door and restaurant-only creations.
Like its cuisine, BC Bistro’s décor is classic but contemporary — lots of white tile and warm wood — which doesn’t pull too much focus away from the artistry on the plates.
Buttercooky is one of Long Island’s best and longest-running bakeries. Ben Borgognone, scion of Alba bakery in Brooklyn as well as a former pastry chef at the Plaza Hotel, bought it from its original owners in 1994 and gradually expanded it into neighboring storefronts; it now occupies more than half its block of Jericho Turnpike. In 2005, he opened a Buttercooky in Manhasset and, in 2017, took over Reinwald's Bakery in Huntington.
BC Bistro is at 225 Jericho Tpke., Floral Park, 516-502-2478, bcbistro.com.