Back in 2014, while researching a story about good coffee shops in Central New Jersey, I realized with a tinge of sadness how few spots for coffee and breakfast there are in downtown Trenton. (Café Ole, my intended target, had just closed.)
So, I am happy to report that an exciting newcomer has taken up the mantle: Studio B Bakery & Bistro, which serves breakfast and lunch. It has so many things going for it, first and foremost among which is proprietor Bert Dumas, a veteran chef who brings specialties from his native Louisiana into the mix. And not least of these are good, strong coffee with chicory ($3) and excellent hot beignets ($4 for an order of 3). Those alone comprise a siren song that will have me returning to his place on South Broad Street across from the Sun Center, in part of the quarters that had been Conduit nightclub, next door to Trenton Social. (You can look for the obsolete Conduit sign to help locate the bakery.)
I visited for breakfast on Studio B’s official grand opening day and, in addition to the aforementioned coffee and beignets, I enjoyed both the Orleans Scramble ($5) — three eggs scrambled with andouille and onions — and a version of chicken and waffles that was new to me, since it includes pulled chicken in a fresh-tasting mango chutney ($9). For this dish, diners can choose between gluten-free rice waffles or buttermilk waffles. (I chose the latter and, while fluffy and tasty, I did wish they had crisper exteriors.) Vegan and gluten-free items, such as the rice waffle option, are scattered throughout the menu.
Among the interesting salad choices is the Trenton Chop Shop (pork roll, turkey, avocado, cukes, cheddar, egg, and tomato on romaine with toasted nuts, fried onions, and honey mustard yogurt dressing). Sandwich and panini options include a version of a muffaletta made with pork roll, capicola, salami, mortadella, and olive salad. Mac n cheese with white cheddar, smoked gouda, gruyere, caramelized onions, and grilled chicken is one of three warm pastas on offer. The high-ceilinged room is mostly white — including a white marble counter — with black accents. Glass display counters hold Chef Dumas’s special baked goods, among them macarons, individual fruit tarts, and bread pudding.
The good news during the grand opening was that the place was packed. The bad news was that the good-natured staff was overwhelmed. Hopefully they’ll find their footing soon, because this is the kind of breakfast place that Trenton deserves. Opening hours, which Dumas hopes to expand soon, are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Coming soon in Princeton, Skillman, and beyond
A year ago, I reported in this space that the folks behind Aja Asian Cuisine & Lounge in New Brunswick would open a second Aja on Route 206 in Skillman, in the long-vacant spot that had last been Tusk. Well, it took a year but the restaurant debuted in January.
Not quite as long in the making is the spinoff of Mistral, which is set to open in the King of Prussia [PA] mall the second week of February. As previously reported here, the chef de cuisine is Craig Polignano, whose last gig was the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse. And word from Jim Nawn, whose Fenwick Hospitality Group is behind Agricola and Dinky Bar & Grill, is that construction on Cargot, the French brasserie he will open next to the Dinky Bar, is set to begin this month, with the restaurant itself projected to open in early June. Cargot is located inside a second unused vintage building that had until recently been part of the Princeton train station across from McCarter Theater.
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