Readers now have another reason to visit the most talked-out new business on Charles Street, with the opening of the Café at Beacon Hill Books on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
The garden-level café, which seats 20 inside and another 12 at the patio, is the latest endeavor from Chef Colleen Suhanosky, the head chef and owner of Rifrullo Café, a farm-fresh restaurant in Brookline.
Suhanosky started her celebrated culinary career more than two decades ago on Beacon Hill, working under Lydia Shire at her bygone Biba restaurant. Suhanosky baked with Gramercy Tavern pastry chef Claudia Fleming after graduating from New York’s esteemed Culinary Institute of America in 1994. Suhanosky also jointly launched Sfoglia restaurant on Nantucket and Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 2007. She opened Rifrullo in 2013.
“My customers here are concerned or confused that Rifrullo might be going away, but it’s actually going to be supporting so much more,” Suhanosky said Friday, Nov. 11, from her Brookline restaurant. “It’s an upgrade, not a downgrade.”
Rifrullo will “really be like the cornerstone, the hub,” said Suhanosky, by supplying the other restaurant with baked goods and dough, which can’t be produced in large numbers within the tight confines of the Charles Street space.
“It’s so small, which in many respects, I’m excited about,” Suhanosky said of the Beacon Hill restaurant. “We’ll be able to really welcome people like they’re coming to my home and have that [same level of] care and control as I do over my dining room. I really feel like it can embody hospitality, and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Café at Beacon Hill Books is open Tuesday through Saturday for breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m., and for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (The bookstore, including the café, is closed Mondays.)
Breakfast offerings this week include The Charles comprising scrambled eggs, Savenor’s ham, jammy onions, and cheddar on a brioche bun; Good Morning Greens, made up of crispy greens with poached eggs and shitake miso vinaigrette; and Salty Oats, New England oats topped with walnuts, maple syrup and diced apples. Blended shakes and baked goods are also available for breakfast.
Lunch choices include salads, like the Tarragon Chicken, with picked green apple, spiced walnuts; and greens; sandwiches, including, The 71 Chevre, with roasted mushrooms, balsamic, onions, and mixed greens on toasted sourdough; or a leek-and-potato quiche, served with a salad of local greens. The lunch menu also features soups, as well as a selection of freshly baked cookies and pastries for dessert.
Beginning Sunday, Nov. 20, the café will begin offering Afternoon Tea from noon to 5 p.m., which, in addition to a selection of teas, will also include tea sandwiches, as well as scones and other baked good. Afternoon Tea will also be offered Tuesday through Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m.
Sip & Savory will then debut on Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 5 to 7 p.m., featuring what Suhanosky describes as “snacky, little bites,” like cacio e pepe popcorn (made with Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper), charcuterie, cheese, and an eggplant mezze platter, all of which will be served with wine and beer.
Melissa Fetter, owner of Beacon Hill Books & Café, said from the very beginning, her vision for the business has included a restaurant to “round out a full, highly aesthetic retail experience.”
Said Fetter: “We have shaped the menu to provide many different ways in which in which to enjoy our space. From breakfast in the morning, to lunch, to afternoon tea to wine and beer served with savory treats in the evening, we’re offering a full complement of delicious food throughout the day.”
Fetter describes the return of Chef Suhanosky to Beacon Hill as a “win for everyone.”
For her part, Suhanosky is well aware of the buzz surrounding the opening of the Café at Beacon Hill Books.
“I’m just overwhelmed with the response, and I’m just looking forward to making community,” she said. “I don’t want it to be rushed and want people to come in and enjoy the experience. I just want to express that I’m looking forward to bringing something fresh into the neighborhood, and I’ve tried very to curate local and seasonal product. I look forward to showcasing that and giving it some play.”
Follow Beacon Hill Books and Café on Instagram, or visit the business online at bhbooks.com.