A 20-something self-taught baker has combined her hobby and beloved aunt's knack for baking to open a quaint cafe, this after losing her fashion job at Kate Spade due to the pandemic.
Jenna Napolitano, whose always baked "for fun," said after her aunt’s sudden passing in 2020, she started baking with a purpose. "I started making her recipes just to help my family cope with it and to reminisce," she said, adding that she kickedstarted her business by first offering boxed cookies, miniature pies, muffins and cakes at her parents’ antique shop, Back in Time in Farmingdale.
By June, the Napolitanos extended their store a few hundred feet into the parking lot and officially debuted Elise’s Niece’s Cafe, a warm and welcoming cafe with hints of emerald, white and wood throughout — and a showcase stacked with goods mainly produced by Napolitano herself.
You’ll find bakery staples including chocolate chip cookies, biscotti, linzer tarts and coconut cake daily; outside of these options, the menu changes weekly and at times has included muffins (blueberry crumb); loaves (banana chocolate chip); cakes (pistachio and ricotta Italian sponge cake; crumb cake) and scones, like peanut butter flavored with grape jelly-filled pipettes. Prices range from $1 a cookie to $4.50 for a slice of cake.
Then there’s slow-roasted candied pecans; pint-size ice cream infused with some of Napolitano’s baked goods; and loaves of bread, too. As for drinks, expect hot and iced coffee, as well as some teas.
Grab some breadstuff and take a walk around the store or pull up a chair to the counter overlooking "the barn," an expansion of Back in Time. For those who can master the winter chill — there are tables set up outside, as well as a fire pit.
Elise’s Niece’s Cafe is at 441 Main St. in Farmingdale; open Wednesdays to Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info: 516-455-7775. elisesniece.wixsite.com