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Denise Berardi and Petra Travis both share German ancestry and a love for European style cuisine.
Today, the two also share a restaurant in New Town inspired by those similarities.
After operating a Tony’s All-American Grill since 2013, Berardi decided to partner with Travis — a longtime friend — and start a new restaurant venture in the same space at 5203 Center St. in New Town.
Last Wednesday, Corner Cafe opened its doors for the first time during its soft opening.
The same space that once housed 1950s-themed memorabilia has taken a quite few leaps forward into the future.
Corner Cafe’s interior is completely different from Tony’s All-American Grill. What was once a bright and colorful diner is now a dimly-lit, intimate cafe that sports European art on its walls.
“[The diner] wasn’t allowing me to do the things I wanted to do because I was in a little box,” Berardi said. “[Our slogan for Corner Cafe is] ‘two friends, one vision, fabulous food.'”
Being limited by thematic food options is no longer the case for Berardi. With its European style, Corner Cafe features dishes, appetizers and desserts from Italy, France, Belgium and Germany.
From French-inspired beef bourguignon — slow-braised beef tenderloin cooked in pinot noir with mushrooms, carrots and cipollini onions over egg noodles — to an American burger that pays homage to Tony’s All-American Grill, patrons of Corner Cafe will have a wide array of food options from which to choose.
Berardi and Travis also put a big emphasis on using local ingredients in their dishes, as well as sporting a selection of local craft beers.
“We buy local produce and we buy as much local as we can,” Berardi said. “Local was a big deal for us both.”
Berardi described Corner Cafe as “very affordable” and “not high-brow.” She also said the restaurant fills a niche within the Williamsburg community — a restaurant that offers quality food at an affordable price in an intimate setting.
Corner Cafe is open Monday through Saturday. From Monday through Thursday, the cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., or even later if customers keep arriving.
“We’ll stay as long as we need to on those nights,” Berardi joked.
For more information about Corner Cafe, click here.