A café, with a cozy ski lodge atmosphere
If you’ve ever jogged, biked or driven along the long stretch of Fairfield Street in the neighboring town of Oakland, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the cozy, log cabin-esque building that is Riverside Farm Market and Café.
During the winter season, only the market is open for regular business, but Riverside also offers a special Cabaret Night on Saturdays with a simple yet delicious dinner menu and live entertainment.
I first heard about Riverside Café when a good friend of mine received a gift basket equipped with a scrumptious strawberry rhubarb pie and freshly baked pastries from his parents. When my parents came into town and I finally had an excuse to visit the more moderately-priced restaurant, I realized that I had been missing out on possibly the best restaurant close to campus.
As you walk into Riverside’s dining room, you immediately feel as if you’ve entered a warm, welcoming ski resort. The floors, walls, tables and chairs are all made of wood, giving off that wonderfully inviting oak aroma that makes me think of curling up with a comfy blanket and some hot cocoa in a log cabin.
The people who work at Riverside Café are also incredibly friendly, and even when the café is crowded the noise level is kept to a minimum, so the atmosphere remains relaxing and pleasant.
For lunch, the café offers a nice selection of sandwiches, paninis, wraps, salads, soups and homemade quiche. I generally tend to lean towards the paninis, but the sandwiches and soups are equally delicious, and arguably some of the best in the area.
One of the best options is the half-sandwich and soup combination, so there’s no need to choose between the crisp, freshly baked foccacia panini crust and the hot, savory soup or stew. For a reasonable price of just under 10 dollars, you can get a hearty, satisfying meal and then hop on over to the adjacent market for dessert.
Walk through the door to the market side and no matter how full you are, your mouth will probably start watering all over again once you see the tempting display of freshly baked pastries. The market also has a decent variety of cheeses, olives, bread and other specialty items like olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Since it is the only part of Riverside that is open during normal hours in the winter months, the market is currently offering a small—but still delicious—selection of what they normally sell in the café during the rest of the year.
Last time my friend and I went to the market, I ordered half of the roasted tomato and goat cheese panini with a cup beef stew (for a grand total of $8.95), and we had a lovely time listening to a table of older ladies chatting at a neighboring table about the curiosities of the up-and-coming generation.
Riverside Café also has its own miniature vineyard (perhaps during the winter, you’ve noticed the bare vineyard stakes sticking out of the ground behind the building), and its wine list features varieties from its own harvest alongside an impressive selection of other varieties from all over the world.
Whether you come to Riverside Farm Market and Café to dine in its beautiful dining room, or stop in to peruse the wide variety of select wines to bring home to your parents, you really shouldn’t need any reason other than the delicious food to visit this cozy café and market.