When Pleasantville resident Naomi Seulowitz couldn’t put her finger on what was different about the mini, cookie-crust pecan pies at Pleasantville Bakery and Café, owner Kemar Newell, known as “Q,” happily made ones with traditional pie crust for her, instead.
Having moved from Scarsdale to Pleasantville a year and a half ago, Seulowitz frequents Pleasantville Bakery often, not just for the sweet treats, but because of the hospitality Newell brings to the table. “Q has been one of the most welcoming people since I moved here,” Seulowitz says. Though she’s currently trying to cut back on how often she stops in, “it’s very tempting,” she says with a laugh. “He remembers my order.”
Seulowitz isn’t the only one who’s been charmed by the hospitality and baked goods at Pleasantville Bakery. Born in Jamaica, Newell moved to the US in 1993 when he was 4 years old. Now 29, he’s living in Valhalla, having opened Pleasantville Bakery in 2017. Each morning, he arrives at 3 a.m. to prepare for the day’s hustle and bustle. “What one cookie can do for a child’s day is what makes it worth it for me,” he says. And while the baked goods are tasty (they can’t keep enough cupcakes and black and white cookies on the shelves), his character is what keeps patrons coming back.
Barbara DiMarco, the bakery’s landlord, owned the bakery years ago. “I know cake, and I know people,” she says. “He is the best and his personality is unbeatable.” Lorraine Cifuentes, who works at the bakery, agrees. “His personality attracts people. People have a habit of stopping in just to say hello,” she says.
The lineup of baked goods is traditional: chocolate chip cookies, layer cakes, apple pies, mini fruit tarts sporting ripe berries and a dusting of powdered sugar, and the universal favorite black and white cookies.
If you haven’t stepped foot in this village bakery before, it is most definitely worth the visit — if not for the sweet fruit tarts, then for the man behind the counter. During a lull, he sat down to play a game with an elderly customer, stopping to tell another, “you’re family here.” It’s all part of his mission: “If customers can come into a place a feel like home, I want to create that,” he says.
Pleasantville Bakery and Café
57 Wheeler Ave
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