When you step into Bella Rose Cafe on New Main Street in Haverstraw, you step back in time. The beautiful tin molding on the ceiling, exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and classic décor will remind many lifelong Haverstraw residents of how things used to be. It stands as a testament to the area’s resiliency, as well as its recent rejuvenation and improvement.
It is not only ascetically beautiful, but holds pieces of history for Haverstraw as well as The Rockland County Times. The building itself is actually the old location of the Rockland County Times office and printing press. In the basement, the original printing wheels still hang from when they were used by the paper, when printing was still done in house. The cafe hopes to integrate this into the customer portion of the establishment soon.
The owners have an interesting taste in design and are conscious of the value of tactful aesthetic recycling.
For example, behind the front counter there is tile due to it being a food area. Any hardwood floor that was ripped up was then subsequently used in building other things in the cafe. A large dresser sits in the middle of the cafe constructed from this very wood. The table surface of the dresser is also repurposed. It is actually an old slab of Haverstraw sidewalk.
If the cafe wasn’t teeming with Haverstraw history enough, the chairs are even from the Haverstraw Chair factory, which used to be down near to Emeline Park.
The staff is very friendly and attentive. If you choose to stay and enjoy your coffee in house, they will deliver it to right where you sit.
When you are done, someone comes and takes your food away quickly. More than a typical coffee house, you get the luxury of a restaurant united with a traditional cafe feel.
There is a large selection of snacks, foods, and drinks for people to partake in at a moderate price. The pumpkin spice latte in particular that they offer, has a rich, bold flavor, joined with the taste of fresh pumpkin. This latte far exceeds in flavor and quality what you would receive at a large chain like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, both of which offer far less satisfying pumpkin spice lattes.
The adult Mac n Cheese also will not disappoint. The dish contains an Italian cheese blend melted with cream and imported prosciutto; tossed with pasta and accompanied by garlic Asiago crusting. Everything tastes very fresh and delicious. A server even will come around to offer you grated cheese, adding a nice touch.
In addition to the food, Bella Rose sell their own line of handmade bags called “bella-bags.” The bags keep with the antique feel and come in a variety of styles and patterns.
When you sit down on one of the large leather armchairs that are situated around the coffee shop, books and magazines are stacked around for reading and even some for the taking. There is a small magazine rack near an armchair that has copies of the most recent issues of local newspapers, holding true to the location’s roots as the home of North Rockland’s weekly newspaper. On some coffee tables, situated amidst the chairs, a few tasteful board games are set up for patrons to indulge in while they sip on their premium coffee.
Owners and brothers Matt and John Lima, lifelong Haverstraw residents, are happy to be setting up shop in the up-and-coming Haverstraw downtown. They join some of the
best local restaurants around, like Union and Antoine McGuire’s, both of whom they say have been very welcoming and supportive.
“Our original plan was to start a smaller place upstate and then within a year or so to open one in Haverstraw. Our purpose always was to have a place in Haverstraw,” said Matt.
The two spent the summer cleaning and decorating the space. It is hard to imagine that when they arrived, the building was just a “shell” as John put it. Now, the immensely beautiful space is open to the public as of their Tuesday grand opening. The Bella Rose Cafe is located at 11 New Main Street in Haverstraw. They are open Tuesday through Sunday.