Summer arrives this weekend. I have been in an American pie-picnic-state-of-mind on account of the patriotic holiday season beginning with Memorial Day, then Flag Day and lastly, Independence Day.
This time of year signifies anything with a gingham print, big floppy sun hats, BBQ and grilled anything. You won’t find me barbecuing or cleaning off a grill. Rather I prefer to show up at someone’s backyard grill-fest and say “Here, bought a nice cold six pack to go with a plate of ribs. Oh, and don’t forget the wet wipes and bib.”
Last weekend, there wasn’t a BBQ party to be found. My friends were away, but I still needed to show off my newest gingham number and had a hankering to eat traditional American food. Where can you find this fare? The diner! So I decided to go on one hot Sunday afternoon.
I chose Rosie’s Coffee Shop, a hybrid coffee shop-diner, family owned with the best inspired vintage signage around. Quaint, unpretentious with a loyal following, this is the perfect affordably priced place to eat.
Deceptively small on the outside, the interior is considerably larger. The walls are swathed in pink with warm wood panelling creating a down home atmosphere.
Owner Rosie, who runs the cash register (and is camera shy), is as kind and charismatic as her name. I chatted with her and wanted to find out a little more about her business which many in Rockland County, NY refer to as “the area’s best family-owned home cooked meals that are served with a smile.” I instantly fell in love with her laugh and sense of humor. What she told me next made me fall for her even harder. She and her sister took care of her quadriplegic brother who was injured in a motorcycle accident in 1972 and passed away January 2014. Caring for someone who can’t move from the shoulders down is a 24/7 job requiring patience, skill and strong will. I found this incredibly heart warming since not everyone can endure the breadth of care-giving.
I wanted to talk to Rosie all afternoon, but I knew she had to get back to work, so I proceeded to my table. The first thing I noticed and love to see on the menu, is a restaurant espouse healthy food options. It was hard to ignore: “NO TRANSFATS – NEVER HAD IT NEVER WILL” written in caps, and “We use quality products to make our food.”
The menu is filled with typical diner fare such as eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, sandwiches of every variety, burgers and steak. I settled on grilled cheese and bacon because bread and cheese are my favorite foods, and this classic combination always leaves me satisfied.
Just as I thought, it took me one minute flat to inhale my meal. The pickle had the perfect crunch, my sandwich was lightly grilled without being too greasy; the bacon was of good quality without being too salty; the cole slaw refreshing and crunchy without being too creamy.
Most importantly, I was elated that the families with children and tweens sat at their tables eating without being distracted by cell phones or pings. Everyone seemed to be immersed in conversation. This is an anomaly in a country where I am used to seeing parents disconnected from their kids in a restaurant setting. I was completely in awe that people were making connections with each other.
For a minute I thought I was in a 1950s Twilight Zone movie. I then realized that it is 2014, a hot, sunny day when once again I was engaged in a memorable hour worthy of documenting.
I couldn’t have asked for a more idyllic Sunday spent eating in an inviting setting. Then again, how could a restaurant not be inviting with a name like Rosie?
Rosie’s Coffee Shop – open 7 days a week 6am-3-pm. 41 South Rt. 9W, West Haverstraw, NY in Rockland County, NY.