WILMINGTON — As boutique cafes and coffee shops continue to pop up across the Port City, a new shop, the Brooklyn Café, is looking to take the art of the breakfast pastry back to basics.
The Brooklyn Café, formerly Folk’s Café, is owned and operated by Wilmington businessman Rodney Robbins and his family, who once operated the Murrayville restaurant “Ollie’s.”
According to Robbins’ grandson Aaron English, after the family closed down Ollie’s in 2009 they began to seek a new outlet for their old-fashioned recipes and passion for running restaurants. When Robbins heard his friend Juan Pacini, the former owner of Folk’s, was looking to sell the business, “he hopped on it right away.”
Back to basics
English, who helps run the café’s day to day operations, said that the store specializes in donuts and a “light, crispy, French style” pastry called a beignet. All of the food is homemade and prepared fresh right in front of customers.
“The beignets are mimicked from a recipe my grandfather picked up in New Orleans,” English said. “And the donuts are actually my great grandmother’s recipe, which is over 100 years old, and made from mashed potatoes and sour cream.”
English, a vegan, said he has managed to perfect vegan forms of the family’s recipes, creating a different take on the traditional breakfast treats.
“As a vegan, I’m always looking for new vegan things to try. So, when I started working here, I said, ‘well, can I see the donut’s and beignet’s ingredients list, and see how you make them, so I can try to veganize them,'” he said. “So, before we opened, I practiced making the beignets and donuts, and tried to see what the options were, and what ingredients I could swap out.
“And so, I was able to swap the non-vegan ingredients out with vegan ones, and I made vegan donuts and beignets.”
At Brooklyn Café, you won’t find any fancy toppings. According to English, they offer “simple cake doughnuts,” that can be ordered plain, or with cinnamon or powdered sugar.
In addition to their staples, the restaurant offers fresh-brewed coffee, cappuccinos and espresso, as well as iced coffee and a special “slow brew” recipe.
English said that each week the shop will feature different selection of homemade pastries, cooked fresh by his mother and grandmother. These will include items such as breakfast cookies, banana balls and fruit tarts.
The café also looks to cater to an afternoon crowd, serving fruit smoothies, craft beers and over a dozen different wines by the glass.
“We’re just really excited to be here, and very excited to be in this neighborhood,” English said. “We love the Brooklyn Arts District, and we’re happy to serve people donuts, beignets, and coffee.”
The Brooklyn Café is located at 704 N. 4th street, and is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.
For more information, and to see the cafe’s latest creations, follow them on Facebook.