Get a coffee or specialty drink to go, or settle in and get cozy at the Brew Den in the Shop & Save Plaza.
Brew Den makes the best of a strip-mall location by adding comfy chairs and sofas, a faux fireplace and entertaining wall art. The paint is a relaxing gray and the place looks tidy and spotless. There are a few wood four-tops and some casual grouped seating.
I stopped by for brunch with Virginia and Carol to check it out.
Order at the counter and if you’re eating in, they’ll bring it out to you when it’s ready. That’s what we did.
About the coffee: First, besides a good cup of smooth brew, you can get a nitro brew, latte, cappuccino or macchiato. The balance of beverages makes for a lengthy list, but let’s just say there are shakes and freezes, tea several ways, flavorings and add-ins to buck up your drink, and soda. Have a healthy protein shake or go all out with a piña colada ice cream frost.
The Brew Den is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., so that means you can get breakfast or lunch. The menu offers a good selection of breakfast sandwiches with meat and eggs and all the fixings, or try the same in a small or large quesadilla ($4.99, $7.99). Or skip the sandwich and get two scrambled eggs with choice of meat and toast for $5.49.
But you don’t have to limit yourself: Both breakfast and lunch are available all day. The menu offers sandwiches that lean more toward salad than deli; think tuna or chicken salad ($5.99). The most expensive menu item is a loaded quesadilla with chicken, grilled red peppers, onions, cheddar and hummus ($9.99 for large). Salads go into paninis, too — this time, think tuna melt ($6.99), livened up with roasted red pepper. You won’t be surprised to learn that you can get your garden salad topped with grilled chicken — or tuna or chicken salad ($7.99). If there’s a theme here, it’s mayonnaise.
For those of us who go out of our way to stay away from the stuff, there are other options, like grilled cheese ($4.49) and a BLT, hold the mayo. Or homemade soup.
Sandwiches are served with the side of the day, chips and pickles.
Virginia and Carol gave the regular coffee ($1 for 12 ounces) high marks. “I usually have to put in a little sweetener, but this coffee is nice and smooth,” said Carol. It’s a medium roast coffee.
I had very good hot chocolate, the kind that stays mixed and isn’t too sweet ($2.49), and upgraded to the hot chocolate bar for another buck. You can help yourself and easily get carried away with the toppings, which also run to sides like cookies and chocolates. I limited myself to crushed vanilla cookies and cute marshmallow snowmen for my drink, which got me disappointed looks from my companions, even though I gave them my biscotti.
Virginia had a breakfast sandwich with egg ($2.99, on special, usually $3.99) that came with bacon and melted provolone cheese, which ran down the sides in a most appealing way. She ordered it on a hard roll, but this looked like a hamburger bun, which led to a spirited exchange about what exactly a hard roll should be. Do they vary geographically?
We all agreed the roll was pleasantly soft, not hard. Virginia had no complaint, so we gave it up.
“The cheese is nice and melty, and I can taste the bacon,” Virginia said. “But all the flavors blend together.”
Carol had an attractive, colorful vegetarian bagel sandwich ($2.48). Bright red tomatoes were layered with lettuce, cucumber, Muenster and onion, and the bagel was smeared with garden vegetable cream cheese.
“It’s soft, but definitely a bagel,” she reported. “And it stands up to holding everything together.” We all agreed it was a tempting-looking sandwich.
I had a satisfying garden salad with Italian dressing ($5.99). The hard-boiled egg was perfectly cooked and the croutons pleasantly seasoned, and the fresh mixed greens were almost perfect. Chopped Muenster cheese, cucumbers, sliced tomato and roasted red pepper finished it off. The dressing was tasty enough to hold my interest throughout the meal.
There were no leftovers — and we’d read all the inspirational and entertaining wall art — so it was time to go. The tab for our lunch came to $18.84. I added a few bucks to the tip jar.
Filled and content, we left and agreed we would return. The people were pleasant and friendly, and the food was good and reasonably priced.
And we’d go back just for the coffee.
WHERE: 6 Main St., Schaghticoke, Shop & Save Plaza; (518) 867-6190
WHEN: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
HOW MUCH: $18.84
MORE INFO: Credit cards: American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa. Plenty
of parking in lot. ADA compliant.