Eden has changed location but has kept her favorites card


As if jumping the hurdles to find the right space, get permits and make the desired renovations wasn’t enough for Judy Hysek’s restaurant move, there was the added stress of illness, little things going wrong. and nail down the final details that pushed back its opening. see you, she said.

“The renovation played an important role. We had to do a lot of electrical work, we had COVID in the middle. So that held us back,” Hysek said in an interview with The Batavian Tuesday. “It’s just a cozy space that’s a little different from anything in Batavia. You know, I had a Pinterest vision in mind, and I didn’t want to copy it exactly. But we got the vibe I wanted. I’m really happy with how things turned out.”

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His place, Eden Cafe & Bakeshop, has settled into its new home at 242 Ellicott St., Batavia for about a month now since leaving Eli Fish Brewery on Main Street. His vision unfolded in colors of cream and pink melon, light olive green and two shocks of cobalt blue from the wall art piece made of recycled plastic Domino sugar bags.

A stereotypical description, perhaps, for a plant-based dining venue, but there is a light and airy feel upon entering. Light cream and melon furniture includes a row of banquettes along the wall, with light oak-colored chairs on the opposite side. Flat beige baskets with bold black patterns hang on the walls behind while bright blankets of the same hue — featuring what appear to be leaves that form a circular light fixture — hang overhead.

Was its theme tropical? Apparently not, she says, although it exudes a slowed-down vacation-type vibe, especially with the cluster of green plants and charming seating in front of two large front windows.

“That’s not really what I was looking for. I was just thinking like, boho chic,” she said. “Something not very trendy.”

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For those unfamiliar with Eden Cafe, it offers a plant-based menu with a twist of old tried-and-true dishes. There are cauliflower wings, breaded, cooked to order and served with a mild-to-tangy sauce or house-made sweet maple mustard or Cattleman’s Gold. Cauliflower is the new darling of the food industry, and cauliflower wings, as they’re called, deliver a meaty bite with seasonings and sauce.

There’s a selection of burgers – made with a Beyond Meat-branded patty that Hysek says is “really, really close” to the real thing – served with grilled pineapple, house pickled onions, teriyaki and mayonnaise, or with lettuce, tomato and French fried onions. There are also homemade black bean and chipotle chickpea patties, crunchwraps, salads, bowls, and Eden’s popular carrots.

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Hysek’s original idea was to go more upscale with its new location, but customers threatened to boycott. They demanded his crunchwraps — the southwest includes a black bean patty, seasoned rice, lettuce, tomato, onion and chipotle ranch — and carrot dogs.

Served in the size of a typical hot dog and marinated in a liquid smoke and amino acid combo with a hot sauce flavor, grilled and served on a bun (homemade and perfected by Hysek’s father), it replicates a chewy, smoky grilled hot dog. Want something adventurous? Try the Picnic, topped with a mix of homemade macaroni salad and crunchy potato chips, or the Sassy with homemade sweet maple mustard, pickled jalapeños and fried onions. People love mac salad, she says.

Hysek hasn’t always been vegan. It wasn’t until 2015 that she made the gradual transition after realizing that animals are animals, whether it’s a chicken, a pig or her pet dog, a- she declared. She had bought chickens for fresh eggs and the resident of Batavia fed them every day. She began to make an association with them as living creatures, and how their body parts were something she had eaten.

“I felt them on my hands. I felt them growing and it felt like, I finally made the connection and admitted, ‘Oh, that’s a boob right there. Yeah, the drumstick I like to eat. And then I looked at my Chihuahua…so I quit eating chicken, then I quit eating pork, beef, and fish, and finally I went straight to veganism.

ball_cap.jpgThere won’t be any pressure to follow Eden’s lead, but she thinks most people can find something nice to eat there.

“I think people would be surprised what a great meal they could get and satisfy their palate even if they’re not vegan or vegetarian,” she said. “I think if you have an open mind, you should find something you really enjoy.”

She has a loyal clientele and many of those clients will bring newcomers to try the meals. Others will come to experience the plant-based options for lunch, dinner and/or dessert, she said.

“There was definitely a need for something like this at Batavia. I think there is a community for people who want to eat healthier or more plant-based foods,” she said. “And then I think there’s definitely a crowd coming in that’s really willing to try.”

edencafemay242022_2200wide-2.jpgBusiness has been good so far, and Eden can also accommodate up to 200 people offsite and up to 25 inside the cafe. Although the food is generally healthy, that doesn’t mean it’s boring or ordinary. Pies and cakes are regularly baked on site and served individually, including the lemon meringue. A soft and fluffy meringue is poured over a bed of sweetened lemon curd and slipped into a golden homemade crust. None of this is made with animal products, she said.

Nicole DellaPenna is head chef and manager, and there are prep and line cooks, as well as a baker, to keep up with demand, Hysek said. With an entrepreneurial spirit since she was in elementary school, Hysek started by collecting and then selling pencils and paper to her siblings. She grew up to operate her first brick-and-mortar establishment, she said.

“Our volume has definitely increased since we left (Main Street); it’s fantastic,” she said. “I was kind of, it’s going to go both ways, we have no idea how it’s going to go, and we’re really happy with the (outcome).”

Eden Cafe & Bakeshop is at 242 Ellicott St., Batavia. Opening hours are from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday for meals on site or to take away. For more information, call (585) 815-4487.

Top photo: Judy Hysek, owner of Eden Cafe & Bakeshop, in her new location at 242 Ellicott St., Batavia. Cabbage wings, carrots, lemon meringue pie and strawberry salad are just a few of the many plant-based dishes awaiting hungry diners.

Photos by Howard Owens.

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