“This is…delicious! Where did it come from?” cooed voices from my former job. They were inquiring about the lunches I’d bring on sales calls to doctor’s offices. I’d order hot and cold lunch buffets and adorable, individually packaged gourmet lunches for the busy offices to enjoy on their lunch break and every time there were rave reviews. My personal favorite every time is the chicken salad with grapes and walnuts with dill on soft buttery croissants. Perfect. From where you ask? Here’s the scoop on one of my favorite caterers and tea rooms in West Chester.
Arianna’s Gourmet Cafe and Catering
323 East Gay St., in the Cambridge Square Shopping Center
Hours: Monday through Friday
Open for Breakfast and Lunch 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.
Catering 7 days a week
It was timing that brought sisters Beth Henderson and Brenda Moser into the restaurant and catering business. Beth worked for 10 years in the hotel and restaurant management industry (what she went to school for) and Brenda had a change in careers, so after working for restaurants and contracted food-service companies for 10 years Beth decided it was time to open her own business, and Brenda was her right-hand woman.
How did you feel about going from the management end of hospitality to being in the kitchen?
Well, when you have your own restaurant it’s sort of a necessity to wear all the hats but I love being in the kitchen. I also love being front of house and talking with our customers and interacting with people that love what we do.
Does Brenda ever do the cooking?
Well, she has no food background. But since we’ve opened she’s been in charge of our famous desserts and now she’s our head pastry chef and does an amazing job. People love our peaches and cream pie, coconut custard pie or chocolate cake with buttercream icing.
It was a tea room when you bought the restaurant; do you still consider it a tea room?
The business we bought was a quaint tea room that we now call a café, so it’s not as limited. It’s just grown into what it is today and we made it our own. We have a gift shop and everything has a very feminine touch with mismatched china and Victorian décor, so it certainly has the “feel” of a tea room but we offer gourmet breakfasts and lunches.
I’ve loved using you for catering; is that a big part of your business right now?
Off-site catering is actually 60% of our business right now. A lot of people come in for lunch and they end up loving the food and want us to do a party or event for them. We provide the food and the staff, depending on the needs of our customers.
Your food tastes just like a perfect breakfast or lunch my mom would make. What is your secret?
We don’t use prepared foods, we make it all here, so everything is fresh and made from scratch. We don’t do “trendy” foods, we do classics and and use quality products and it works. It’s just good!
A Few Menu Favorites:
Quiche du Jour – always a perfect dish for breakfast or lunch, served with fresh fruit or soup . Flavors change daily.
Holiday Salad – red leaf lettuce topped with red onions, red grapes, craisins, pistachios and gorgonzola cheese w/ balsamic vinaigrette
Baked Brie – topped w/ a mixture of brown sugar, butter & pecans, baked and served with apple slices & french bread
The “Elle” – tender all white-meat chicken breast, provolone cheese & honey mustard served hot on a fresh ciabatta bread
For more information on Arianna’s Gourmet Cafe and Catering check out the restaurant page on WC Dish here.