It’s always a good sign when a café makes its own bread and pastries. At the recently opened Frida’s Bakery & Café in Milton, those duties are divided between “Dave-the-Baker” Meltzer, who comes in by midnight every evening to bake fresh bread for the morning, and on-site pastry chefs, Diana Matias and Jordan Polumbo. “They’re our superstars here,” says café manager Sofia Mayonove. “They each have their own unique style, but they work together really well.”
Of the two pastry chefs, Polumbo handles the artisanal baked goods; homemade pies, both sweet and savory — her chicken pot pies and pulled pork pies with dough made from scratch are particularly popular, says Mayonove — and Polumbo makes the chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies and cakes. Diana Matias is responsible for the bakery’s flourless chocolate cake and their signature “Frida’s” chocolate cake along with delicacies like macaroons.
Meltzer creates an array of artisanal breads from French baguettes to sourdough to brioche rolls and challah every Friday. He’s also known for his bagels, says Mayonove.
The café manager is a chef as well, and has done a lot of the recipe development on site. Her “pie-in-a-jar” — assembled in a jar and ready to eat —comes in Mississippi Mudpie, key lime, cheesecake and strawberry shortcake variations.
Frida’s Bakery & Café opened the first week in October of 2014. Breakfast and lunch are served, with daily specials for the café posted on Facebook. “People look forward to our “funky grilled cheese” of the day,” says Mayonove, which on one recent day was Gruyere, spinach and artichoke on freshly made sourdough bread, and creamy brie and apricot jam on the sourdough another day. “Our soups are made daily, and we also have a build-your-own salad option for people to create their own.”
The menu is rounded out with several paninis, wraps and burgers and a quiche of the day along with a selection for kids. Some gluten-free options are available as are vegetarian dishes.
The bakery and café is on two levels, with seating for 75-100 on each floor. The second level is a spacious loft with high ceilings and a lot of natural light. The design is open and modern, with both ends of the room featuring a huge round window letting in light onto bleached pine tables and dark leatherette booths and black metal chairs. The electrical lighting is whimsical, with the fixtures hidden inside small treehouses suspended from the ceiling. The effect is “modern family friendly.” There is also outdoor balcony seating off the second floor and a good-sized children’s playroom that can be closed off to the rest of the café.
The children’s area is equipped with a tumbling area, video screen, cool artwork made with woven strips of film, two toadstool tables with little tree stumps to sit on and some oversize Lego blocks. “Yoga Story Saturday” for children ages 4-7 is held every Saturday in the space from 2-3:30 p.m. New Paltz literacy advocate Kim Ellis, a retired teacher and certified yoga instructor, has developed a program in which she incorporates storytelling with yoga, introducing the practice to children through doing poses that represent each character or element of the stories as they unfold. After the story, the kids are guided through a restful meditation, and end with a game or craft or writing project. The cost is $15. Frida’s also hosts kid-friendly events like the “Be Mine” baking class for children they held on Valentine’s Day, which sold out after 25 kids signed up. Similar events are on the horizon, and not just for kids: Mayonove says they plan to open up the loft space soon for adults to hold bridal showers, private parties and corporate meetings.
Frida’s is owned by Bob Pollock, who is also owner of Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa in Milton and its Henry’s at the Farm restaurant. Patrons there will benefit from the new bakery, with Frida’s supplying all of the baked goods and bread for the inn and restaurant. Following the example set by Henry’s at the Farm, named after Pollock’s son, Henry, Frida’s is named for his daughter, with an ink drawing of her profile part of the logo. And anybody who has dined at Henry’s at the Farm will see the same hand at work in the design of Frida’s, with Bob Cohen responsible for both.
“We really are trying to revive the Town of Milton,” says Mayonove. “That is Bob Pollock’s vision. We feel strongly about bringing in our artisanal bakery and a European style to our area, and also providing jobs for our local community. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in a short period of time. We have a great staff and are looking forward to the spring.”
Frida’s Bakery & Café is located at 26 Main Street in Milton. There is ample parking in the back, with entrance to the bakery/café via elevator from the below-street level parking lot up to the main floor, or one can park on the street in front of the café with an entrance provided directly into the building. Current hours are Sunday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday-Saturday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., but as of March 1, Frida’s will begin keeping hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. More information is available by calling (845) 795-5550 or visiting www.FridasBakeryNY.com.