Dining

Food: Cafe at the Crossroads

This coffee house in Haydenville offers wayfarers many good reasons to linger.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011
Photo By Mark Roessler
The Blue House Cafe in Haydenville

True to its name, the Blue House Cafe is located in one corner of a blue house. Standing by the side of the road not far from a crossroads, the building has a welcoming feel, as if it might have once been a tavern or hotel.

As you head north on Route 9, just over the Haydenville border, it's the white two-story porch that you notice first, its arms wide open in greeting. On warmer days, coffee drinkers sit there, watching the stream of traffic heading into and from the hill towns. I must have driven past them a hundred times since the cafe opened in 2007; one morning last week I finally stopped to investigate.

The sense of a public house was replicated inside. The room looking out over the porch is bright and comfortable. Along with the tables and chairs, there are books, a piano and art. The room at the back is darker, with a long bar, behind which is a fully functional espresso machine. Along with an appetizing array of homemade baked goods, a full array of teas, a homemade ginger chai, and juices and sodas are served here.

The walls by the bar are covered with the all-day breakfast and lunch menu. On weekends there is often live local music in the evenings, and when there is, dinner is also served.

The Friday morning I went, the place was humming with activity. There were three of us in the dining room and someone sitting at the bar, and all the while there was a steady flow of patrons coming in from the neighborhood just for the coffee. At one point, the staff of a nearby office came en masse to get their morning fix. Given the specificity of their detailed coffee orders, it appeared this was a daily ritual.

The Blue House Cafe's basic house brew is satisfyingly rich and thick, and if you drink your coffee there, your mug is bottomless.

The cafe is vegetarian, and there are also vegan and gluten-free options. Along with the coffee, many of the ingredients are local and organic.

I tried the huevos rancheros. It was served in a bowl with generous helpings of scrambled eggs and chili divided neatly on top; hidden at the bottom was a tasty homemade corn tortilla. It was thoroughly satisfying, but the look of the waffles being eaten at a nearby table made me think I'd try them next time.

The sandwich selection includes paninis and several brie-based options that will also require further inspection. There are also several Mexican dishes and salads.

Though it has the appearance of a waypoint—a place to stop on a journey to somewhere else—the food, mood and hearty drink the Blue House Cafe provides make it a perfect destination for those looking for warmth and comfort this winter.

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