It’s not easy to put your finger on what The Sidecar at the Tavern (39 N Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson 914-271-8020) is, exactly. “I don’t want to be another breakfast place,” says owner Lynn Panessa. “I want to be a little unorthodox and see if people enjoy it.” The Sidecar is Panessa’s spinoff of The Tavern at Croton Landing, the popular neighborhood bar and grill next door. (She is the sole owner of both, having bought The Tavern 10 years ago.) So, yes, it’s a 9-am-to-4-pm café proffering spinoffs of popular Tavern staples (the Sidecar BLT, for example, is a scaled-down version of the Tavern BLT), but it’s also a gift shop, and a takeout spot.
“On top of the café, there’s what I would like to call my ‘gourmet grocery store’—hand-picked gourmet items with a focus on being able to pick up a great hostess gift,” explains Panessa. “Something that’s one of a kind and wrapped to kill. So when you walk into someone’s house, they’re like, ‘Oh my God! Where’d you get that from?’”
Then there’s cold takeout—prepared, refrigerated Tavern foods: quarts of soup (corn and crab chowder, The Banker’s New England Clam Chowder, white chicken chili); house-made blue cheese dressing and garlic mayo; half-baked pizzas; and lobster salad by the quart (this is our favorite; we gave The Tavern a Best of Westchester last year for its lobster roll). There’s also a good selection of sweets, crumb cake (one of the best around), bread pudding, etc., most of which are baked in-house.
For dining in, the café serves coffee and tea, soups, sandwiches, desserts and sweets, breakfast items, and “fork & knife toasts”—open-faced sandwiches like “The Boop,” toasted brioche topped with ricotta, homemade preserves, and lemon. You won’t find eggs or pancakes or a simple turkey sandwich here, but, hey, that’s the point.