SCHUYLERVILLE — The Village Tart, a delightful bakery and cafe in a white-painted brick house on Broad Street, is the world the way Cynthia DeYoung thinks it should be: a comforting place to feel happy — and to eat deliciously.
The food is as good as the place is charming. It’s a high bar, as you’ll see.
DeYoung bought the building years ago when it needed lots of work. But it was clear to her then that this was going to be where she would open her business.
She stripped the walls down to the brick, ripped out the ceiling and made the upstairs into an apartment, where she lives with her son and two cats.
The decor is uplifting and breezy; even a chandelier appears unpretentious in this room, with its shelves of books and games, an antique wooden child’s kitchen (well-equipped) near the glass bakery case and whitewashed wooden tables.
The space has been broken into several eating areas with tables in windows, cushy leather furniture around a recessed glowing fireplace and a breakfast bar along one wall.
The high ceiling and white walls — aside from a multicolored wall mural of saturated colors — make it feel airy, roomy.
I can’t think of a nicer place to be on a sunny afternoon than at a table here near the open window, the sheer white curtains fluttering in a gentle breeze.
You’ll be snapping photos in this delightful cafe, for which I thank you. I was once the only one in the room taking photos of my food; now I don’t even have to try to be unobtrusive.
Choose from cookie jars filled with candy or delightful homemade cookies. Glass cake stands display picture-perfect baked goods.
The Village Tart has one menu for breakfast and lunch, available all day, which is early morning until afternoon. There are locally roasted coffees, teas and specialty brews, like matcha tea ($4).
It’s a bakery, too, so you’d expect the homemade English muffins ($3.95) but maybe not fresh popovers made tangy from Gruyere in the batter, especially ones filled with nut butter or jam and dried fruits and seeds. That’s the Birdfeeder ($9). What else could you call it?
The popovers can be filled with bacon and egg ($10) for breakfast, or choose a bagel with smoked salmon ($13).
If you want lunch, try the homemade creamy garlic soup ($7) or curry chicken salad with raisins, apples and cashews on fresh baked bread.
There’s also smoked trout on rye toast points with creamy scrambled eggs, créme fraiche, capers and horseradish ($17).
The menu leans on those popovers, which resemble a hefty Russet potato in size and aspect, and for good reason: They are served just-baked, and are really exceptional.
We settled in with our drinks, Boylan’s black cherry soda poured over ice for me,and periwinkle matcha tea ($4) for Sheryl.
Thank goodness I have friends who get out in the world; she filled me in on her blue beverage. It’s tea made with butterfly pea flower petals, which may or may not benefit your brain and provide myriad other health benefits, but it sure is a pretty color. The Village Tart adds cinnamon and raw honey.
“I love this,” Sheryl said about the Eye-Opener ($10.50), a just-baked popover with thick-cut bacon and egg. Then, “this is really delicious.”
It was a feast for the eyes, the popover split wide with egg and bacon strips resting on baby spinach greens, topped with sriracha aioli.
She handed over a piece of popover. “You can taste the cheese in this,” she said. I agreed, and wished I’d ordered one: It was minutes from the oven and warm, the exterior crunchy and the airy middle still moist.
I’d like to say we shared the sweet and spicy bacon ($9), but I ate most of it.
Four large thick-cut bacon slices, generously streaked with fat, are baked at high heat with brown sugar, a touch of cayenne, crushed red pepper and topped with chopped nuts.
At first bite I crunched brown sugar and thought it was way too sweet. Then the pepper kicked in. The sugar was burned just a little bit on the underside, adding a note of complex bitterness.
DeYoung said the bacon the café uses is top quality. “I care about the bacon,” she said, and it’s clear she cares how everything tastes.
The Village Tart makes its quiches crustless, so they are gluten-free, and who misses the crust? I had the broccoli, tomato and mozzarella quiche ($13) that came with a side of greens.
The two small quiches were tasty and expertly made — unlike my own, in which the fillings go to the bottom. I admired the tender exterior and the fillings, whose flavors were distinct, including the mild mozzarella.
I didn’t see the dressing at first on the greens, but that was part of its brilliance.
There was garlic in the perfectly balanced vinaigrette, just enough. She made the choice to keep the dressing ephemeral, unobtrusive; it was hardly there but worth finding.
The Village Tart gets points for charmingly mismatched china, yet another touch that makes the cafe homey.
We ended up taking home enchanting desserts, a buttercream-filled butter shortbread cookie and a buttercream rose-topped vanilla cupcake. And for Miss Baylee, Sheryl’s dog, a cat-shaped dog biscuit. Baylee gave it a paws-up.
The tab for our very enjoyable lunch came to $56.75 before tip.
“This place should be in Troy,” Sheryl observed; it would fit right in with the independent-minded businesses in the trendy city.
DeYoung has heard it before, but no. Schuylerville has moved on from James Howard Kunstler’s 1990 apocalyptic essay for the New York Times Magazine.
The many empty storefronts he described in this “sad-looking” town are filling up. The place isn’t bustling, but something is percolating.
The Village Tart is a bright spot in Schuylerville, but it’s not the only one.
And it would be a bright spot anywhere.
Go enjoy a meal at the Village Tart, where somebody really cares about how the bacon tastes.
Caroline Lee is a freelance writer who lives in Troy. Reach her at [email protected]
The Village Tart
WHERE: 63 Broad St., Schuylerville; (518) 507-6476
WHEN: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m Monday, Thursday and Friday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday; closed Tuesday
HOW MUCH: $56.75
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover; also Apple Pay. Parking on street. Not ADA compliant; one small step at the front door.