After more than a year of setbacks, a new Windsor Place cafe is poised to start serving stellar coffee and fresh, local fare to hungry foodies by the end of summer.
The concept for Savor Brooklyn, slated to open at 199 Windsor Place in September, had long been brewing in the minds of co-owners Helen Traversi and Richard Degaetano. So when last year Traversi stumbled upon the vacant space—both she and Degaetano live in Windsor Terrace—they decided to act on the ideas they'd bandied for so long.
"It was something we thought of years ago, and our lives took different paths," Degaetano told Patch on Wednesday. "Now we seem to have joined them together at this juncture. Fate took us to this point."
But even fate was no match for the challenges that would face Traversi, a former caterer and Degaetano, a co-owner at Williamsburg's D.O.C. Wine Bar.
No sooner had they signed the lease then they were hit with 2011's storied winter snow storm, burying any hope they had for a timely opening.
"We couldn’t work because we had flooding in the basement," Degaetano said. "Our hands were tied, and we lost a lot of time."
Also interfering with the eatery's opening was the only force possibly more powerful than the weather: contractors.
"We’ve had some bad luck, we’ve had some problems, and dealing with the city and contractors can get to be a daunting task, even on a good day," he said.
But both owners are optimistic that Savor Brooklyn's darkest days are behind them. Their focus now is on renovating the interior of the space and preparing a menu, which Degaetano said will consist of breakfast and lunch, and eventually grow to include a light selection of dinner options.
"We’re going to develop the menu as we go along," he said. "We'll start small, but also concentrate on good quality more than on huge quantity and a huge menu."
Each item on the menu will be crafted with locally-sourced ingredients, primarily from Brooklyn farmers' markets, though Degaetano said he's certainly not above making the trek to a Long Island farm if it means getting the freshest possible bunch of tomatos or head of lettuce.
"Sometimes if you go right to the horses mouth, you get a little bit better deal, a little bit fresher picked," he said. "That morning maybe versus the day before, just little things like that that make a little bit of difference."
In fact, farm-fresh ingredients and high quality menu offerings are about the eatery's only certainty—both owners are eager to see what the neighborhood craves before etching Savor Brooklyn's destiny in stone.
"We’re not tied into a straight format at this juncture—we'll see what works, what doesn’t work, that type of thing," he said. "Our main goal is to have very good quality."