This Movie Theater Café Should Be Your New Go-To Lunch Spot

The Playhouse Café is a star, bringing the community a place to mingle.

With sleek good looks and an inventive food and drink menu, you’ll forget that you’re sitting in the lobby of a movie theater when you dine and drink at the Playhouse Café.

Launched in 2019, a year after Bedford Playhouse opened its doors, the Café continues to fulfill the Bedford Playhouse’s mission of “bringing people together,” says executive director Nicole Gardner. The opening of the space allows people to recognize that “we’re about more than movies,” she says.

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The Café offers seating for approximately 50 customers in a cool gray space, with banquette seating and high tops. On the walls is a rotating array of artwork from local artists and gallerists. Adding even more classiness is the grand piano donated to the Playhouse by Bedford resident Paul Shaffer. It was the one he played while on The Late Show with David Letterman.

At the helm of the venture is café manager Keelin Maniscalco, a Bedford native, who previously worked at Chappaqua’s Susan Lawrence for more than 20 years. “I learned over the years that you want to make people welcome when they sit down, that you want to present them with great tasting food, and a great looking presentation.”

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In keeping with the movie-theater vibe, the menu is divided into Previews (appetizers) and Main Features (light entrées). Dishes, to use acting lingo, hit all their marks, including a delectable sweet-and-creamy strawberry-brie grilled cheese on sourdough bread; the chicken quesadilla with guacamole and salsa; and a fall salad of roasted squash, pumpkin and pomegranate seeds, dried apricots, and Humboldt Fog cheese.

A refreshing pomegranate lemonade was the ideal accompaniment. “I’m always looking to serve something delicious and a little bit different,” says Maniscalco, adding that patrons’ favorite offerings include the Buffalo chicken dip and pizza. (During the month of October, also look out for a number of weekly specials.)

Nobody dining at the Café would realize that the kitchen doesn’t have a stove — all the dishes are created using just an industrial hot plate and a small rapid-cook oven. “My years in the catering business taught me to think outside the box,” Maniscalco says. “You never knew what type of cooking situation you’d find yourself in.”

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Both individuals and groups can find a niche, whether it’s sipping a coffee and eating a scone in the morning, or ordering a Scarlett O’Hara cocktail (rye, Cherry Heering, Cointreau, and orange bitters) at Bambi’s Bar and noshing on a snacking platter. “The Café gives people in the community the opportunity to break bread,” Gardner says. As of October, expanded hours — the Playhouse Café is now open 9 a.m. to close — will give them the opportunity to do so more often.


Playhouse Café
633 Old Post Rd


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