A Shopping and Dining Guide to Westchester’s
By Judith Hausman
Photography by Phil Mansfield
The souvenir T-shirt from the 25th reunion of my class in
a community whose very name evokes images
of mansions, manicured lawns and Mercedes.
But we grew up. Now we know better. We know why our parents, and so many post-war families freed from the cities by cars, parkways and commuter rail, chose to raise their families here. Many of my classmates have come back to this community of six and a half square miles, bordered by Eastchester,
“There’s not one, but three big selling points to living in
There are precious few apartments within the town borders (although there are plenty of co-ops for young professionals and empty nesters just across the border in
The town received national attention for the 1980 murder of Herman Tarnower, better
known as the “Scarsdale Diet Doctor,” by Jean Harris, former headmistress of the
the other side. Current denizens of
NBA David Stern, lawyer Barry Slotnick, opera singer Joe Kaiser and Black Enterprise Magazine publisher Earl G. Graves.
Zoning restrictions ensure that
, 914-723-1308) in the central
Just outside the
, a small park in the center of the Village. The train station and the greenway of the
beyond the tracks border the far side. On the block facing the station, the Zacharias family has run Zachys (
; 914-723-0241), the popular and revered wine and liquor shop since 1944. Son, grandson and other family members have recently remodeled the store and are becoming well known in the fine wines auction business. The well-trained staff will help you with Zachys own label of French table wine in two-liter bottles as graciously as with
Just beyond Zachys is La Dentelliere (
, 914-723-2902), a shop that should delight most any Francophile. I coveted the thick jacquard dish towels, the serving pieces with ProvenÃ§al-patterned handles and other beautiful home accessories. A stroll through the nearby curved arcade leads to the Women’s Exchange (
; 914-723-4728). Founded in 1931 as an outlet for women’s handicrafts, the Women’s Exchange offers tea sandwiches—try them, they are a famous treat—and the Exchange’s collection of hand-knit baby sweaters is precious. When I was a child, their hand-smocked dresses were my favorite for birthday parties. A few shops away is the Dark Horse (
, 914-722-2599) for unusual home and garden dÃ©cor. You’ll find English country, French tapestries, pieces with an Asian flair (love the high back empress-style black lacquer chairs), even items with a hint of contemporary. “It’s a fun mix of old world meets new,” declares manager Cynthia Battf. “And new pieces are coming in every day.”
Because the town is so family oriented, you would also expect some exceptional toy stores.
, 914-723-4396); I even saw a miniature, working washing machine there! Fast-track kids learn while they play games from Learning Express (
, 914-723-3700) across the street. On the other side of town, Big Top (
, 914-723-1244) on
has long been a reliable source for Barbie supplies, squirt guns or plastic animals.
Upscale is an understatement when it comes to the seriously elegant shops for women’s clothes in the village. Pamela Robbins (
, 914-472-4033) outfits many of
, 914-722-0185) across the street is also pricey—and grown-up. “Their pants are staples—you can wear them for ten years,” testifies Irene Stahl, local realtor at Julia B. Fee. Great Stuff (
, 914-723-0504) carries Harari and other designers of original, flowing garments for style-conscious women. Footstock (
, 914-722-4846) next door carries my kind of comfortable shoes: Dansko, Mephisto and more. For a great selection of bathing suits, you can’t beat
Men will not be left out on this shopping trip. Rothman’s (
, 914-713-0300) will supply those new gray flannels easily, as well as hip new designer duds. If he finishes his purchases before you do, there are a number of well-reputed and exciting jewelry shops nearby, such as Holsten Jewelers (5 Harwood Court, 914-472-4554), Wilson & Son (18 Chase Road, 914-723-0327), Sam Lehr (28 Harwood Court, 914-472-8158) and Daniele Trissi (14-16 Spencer Place, 914-723-4500) to pick up a sparkly surprise.
Time for a nibble? Parkway Cafe (
, 914-723-9008) really takes me back with its turquoise banquettes and swirling stools. Yes, you can relax with an egg cream and nova on a bagel, but you can also order a gourmet salad at this popular lunch spot. If it’s too crowded, walk the other way down
to Scarsdale Metro (
, 914-713-0309) for a homemade spinach pie or a buffalo burger. Coffee Tree (
, 914-722-0423) does a land office business in lattes too. Reunion (
, 914-725-5388) at
, 914-472-0330) is a village institution. The local high school boys love The Grand Canyon, a cholesterol-boosting combo of breaded chicken cutlet, bacon, American cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Across town, the Heathcote Delicatessen (
, 914-723-3160) still makes the best thick pastrami sandwiches on rye. Hay Day Gourmet Market (
, 914-722-0200) across the street redefines take-out with a vast selection, from Thai chicken to Irish cheese to French madeleines in a lovely wooden gift box.
“The bistro meals are very popular here,” says Michael Rafferty, Hay Day’s general manager. “The convenience of having high-quality food just ready for you strikes a chord in a place like
A more refined, leisurely meal, such as rotolo montarnara stuffed with spinach, ricotta and porcini mushrooms served in a pink sauce and Tuscan salad with chicken livers, can be found at Moscato (
, 914-723-5700), the Lusardi family’s most recent venture. In the warmer months, enjoy your chicken scarparillo or pollo al porto dining under an umbrella on the outside patio. Or enjoy fusion seafood at the popular Heathcote Tavern (
, 914-722-4508), such as lemongrass poached striped bass, coconut shrimp or charred yellowfin tuna. Or just go to soak up the atmosphere. Heathcote’s was originally an inn in the early 1920s, evolved into a speakeasy, then a bordello in the ’30s before settling down to the restaurant trade. A ghost is rumored to haunt the place as well, confides manager Mark Saljanin. “Marcy is a nice ghost,” he assures, only causing unexplained computer glitches and occasional odd noises. Don’t miss the mural of monkeys smoking cigars and playing golf in the Monkey Room.
, 914-472-8484) serves up spaghetti with olives and anchovies or melting osso buco. Some people say that this is the best home-cooked Italian food in
The Other Side of the Tracks
Cross the bridge over the train tracks to
and discover some wonderful little gems. Just opened is Lulu’s Patisserie and Espresso (
, 914-722-8300). Chef/owner Jay Muse (who’s trained with some of the top toques at the French Culinary Institute before cutting his pastry at a few of the world’s finest kitchens, including the original Le Cirque, Chanterelle and Lespinasse) whips up homemade organic breads and delectable confections with sweet butter, eggs and seasonal fruits from local farmers. “We wanted to bring the fusion element to the bakery level,” says Muse. “Our goal is to bring urban flair and edge to
On a diet? Not to worry—Lulu’s sells a sugar-free, low-fat cheesecake that is to, uhm, live for, leaving you free to splurge on the calories up the block at EnjoÃ¹ Chocolate (
, 914-723-9292). They sell every kind of chocolate imaginable, in all sizes and shapes (the shop does a banner business with corporate promotions and wedding and party favors). According to owner Ron Rieder, they shipped three tons of their chocolate dipped pretzels around the country last holiday season. (For more on EnjoÃ¹ and other local chocolate shops, see page 70.)
Want something a little more substantial than desserts? Sakura (
, 914-723-8484) and Gyosai (
, 914-725-3730) offer beautiful bento box lunches, plenty of sushi or tempura and other Japanese specialties.
Devra Bader Skin Care and Beauty Spa (38 Garth Road, 914-725-1158), just opened in January, right above the Ultimate Image Salon (914-725-3011), a Village favorite for 16 years (owner Gina Fini is a genius with scissors). “We shared so many of the same clients, it made sense to open my business right above the salon so our clients can have their hair cut downstairs, then come up for spa treatments and make-up,” says Bader. “The services and products we offer are high-end—like bringing a little bit of
Judith Hausman, food critic for the Journal News, spent her formative years in