Judging from the increasing number of shops pouring coffee in this town, Armonk is no longer the sleepy village it was a decade ago. Main street is bustling with folks on the go, and few are more animated than those leaving Tazza Café, an espresso and coffee bar.
Customers need go no farther than the front door to catch the heady, slightly bitter, chocolate scent of the dark bean — and there is no turning back.
James Monica, the owner, has installed a first-rate espresso machine at the counter of this pleasant corner shop, reminiscent of coffee bars throughout Italy, where customers pop in throughout the day for a shot of high-test espresso. But Tazza offers more than a quick caffeine hit. Mr. Monica says that gentler cappuccinos and lattes are equally appealing to his patrons, many of whom like to add chocolate or eggnog or one of the other available flavorings.
A display case shows off the freshly baked goods of the day — scones, croissants and muffins. Wraps, some low-fat, can be made to order, if none on display suit, and paninis stand ready to be grilled. Quiche of the day, salads — turkey Cobb, Mediterranean chicken, Italiano, to name a few — as well as other items can be packed up to go or enjoyed at one of Tazza’s tables. The breakfast menu is particularly appealing and includes pancakes, hallah French toast, hot oatmeal and a breakfast panini of egg, cheese and bacon.
Whole beans for more than a dozen different coffees, a large collection of teas in pretty tins, cookies and mugs are also for sale.
Tazza Café, 400 Main Street, Armonk; (914) 273-0788. For ordering ahead of time or for large orders fax (914) 273-0789. Open Monday to Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. M.H. REED
”Customers appreciate that all of our baking is done on the premises and everything has passed my own ‘tastes great’ test.”’ Monica said.
The café’s gleaming display cases offers a wide array of fresh-baked goods including plain, chocolate and strawberry-cheese croissants; muffins that come in unique flavors such as pistachio-walnut and cappuccino, scones; and some family favorites including his wife Geraldina’s rainbow cookies and his mother’s pumpkin bread.
For those who crave hearty morning fare, Tazza serves up egg sandwiches, breakfast paninis, pancakes, French toast and hot oatmeal. Lunch choices range from signature gourmet sandwiches such as Chicken Gorgonzola on Ciabatta to inventive salads like the Briar—a healthy mix of walnuts, cranberries, gorgonzola, grape tomatoes and fresh greens.
Before his Tazza venture, Monica spent 20 years in retail operations, working for giants such as The Gap and Tommy Hilfiger.
”I always wanted to have my own business and Tazza was a natural transition for me,” he said.
Monica’s vision has always been to have more than one location, and so far he is succeeding. In addition to its flagship Armonk café, Tazza has branches in Millwood and Somers. Monica’s mornings begin in Armonk before he makes the rounds to his other locations.
”Customers like to see the owner and I like to see them,” he said, before smiling and waving at another regular who had just walked in.
Tazza Café is located at 382 Main St. in Armonk; 230 Saw Mill River Road in Millwood; and at 6 Heritage Center/Route 202 in Somers. Hours: Mon.-Sat. 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sun. 7:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can also order pancakes, hot oatmeal, and panini, which a Iot of IBM folks, whose offices are nearby, often relish before a long day in front of the computer. Dark wood chairs and tables aren’t too close together-so you don’t have to whisper when it comes to office gossip-and, come warm weather, there’s plenty of outdoor seating. For those highly caffeinated individuals, you can also buy your beans to go.