By Angelina Perez, Contributor
Jon Beqiraj, one of the co-owners of Riverdale’s up-and-coming bistro, was able to bring his vision of a European-styled café in America to life, opening Savor Cafe only six months ago.
“It’s a family business, most of us have lived in the area for 4 years,” Beqiraj told The Quadrangle. “I’ve worked in a coffee shop before and one of my partners who used to own a coffee shop back home in Albania always said how he wanted to open up a coffee shop in America.”
This café has been a dream come true for Beqiraj and his co-owner who have spent the past few years hand-selecting everything to perfection. From the vines over the cash register to the tree trunk plates, he tried to make a welcoming and well-organized environment.
“Everything was done by ourselves, even the constructions and the design” Beqiraj explained, “It took five months.”
The menu offers many vegetarian, kosher, and gluten-free options, from salads to paninis and flatbreads. When starting a restaurant, the owner’s priority is the menu. Jon wanted a variety of foods so that everyone would have something to enjoy.
Matthew Rosa, a sophomore Childhood Education major, shared what his go-to items on the diverse menu are.
“The ambiance is great and the place has a modern, upscale look to it,” Rosa said. “I tried a cappuccino and pesto chicken sandwich, both of which were amazing. I definitely recommend it to anyone in the area looking to try a new coffee shop.”
In addition to their espresso bar, Savor also serves alcohol. Beqiraj said that the menu includes some of his favorite items to sip on and added that their wine is locally dispensed from Yonkers, a very popular dispensary for restaurants in Riverdale.
“Being able to have a little bit of everything that you would find roaming the streets of Europe – beer, wine, and dessert,” Beqiraj stated.
They pride themselves on their ability to be a fun place to hang out with friends at night while also being a relaxing atmosphere for students to study.
Harrison Kampfe, a freshman engineering major, is a regular at the café.
“The red velvet cake was very delicious and I would definitely order it again,” Kampfe said. “It’s a nice atmosphere to do homework with friends as well.”
Savor’s unique quality is that they “value their ingredients” and get them from local businesses and small, trusted companies in the area. This helps keep all their ingredients fresh and better-tasting for their customers.
Friday, Feb. 25 was the first big event that they hosted. Right on brand for Savor, their first big event was celebrating Albania’s Independence Day. The event had food, alcohol and even live music.
Being connected to the community around Savor is very important to the owners. A big part of that community is the surrounding colleges since they recognize that students play a huge role in the neighborhood. They want to start hosting and have talked about organizing more events that would include Manhattan College students.
Beqiraj pointed out that there are already many Manhattan college regulars, despite only being open for six months.
“Students will call on the phone and we will immediately recognize their names and what they want to order,” Beqiraj stated.
There are already multiple workers from Manhattan College, and Beqiraj said they are open to hiring those willing to work part-time schedules. For more information on the cafe, visit their Instagram page, @savor_coffee_and_more.