It’s a lazy, warm, summer day in Downtown Haddonfield and you’re craving a bite to eat. After walking up and down King’s Highway, the hunger hits. Perhaps something sweet—a French toast casserole topped with powdered sugar, berries and pistachios. Or maybe a spring frittata with melted smoked mozzarella and basil pesto. You walk to the nearest restaurant and have made up your mind, you want brunch. As you sit at your table and scan the menu, your stomach drops with a horrible realization… it’s a Tuesday afternoon; brunch is not being served.
Downtown Haddonfield, a charming strip of shops on Kings Highway clad with unique boutiques and a variety of eateries, is about to get a whole lot more well-rounded. Though this popular town is riddled with award-winning food and beverage establishments, it lacked a niche destination for brunch. Nearly every restaurant offers brunch on the weekend or in the late mornings, but don’t we all wish we could have it all day, every day? Now New Jerseyans can; introducing Café Lift.
How Café Lift Started
Founded in 2003, owners Michael and Jeniphur Pasquarello opened Café Lift in a refurbished factory on 13th street in Callowhill, Philadelphia. “I have a culinary background and my wife has a service background,” Michael said, “and we stumbled into our business when looking for an apartment.”
The property manager had shown them an apartment that had a retail space at its base. When the couple wondered what they could possibly do with that space, the property manager simply suggested, “you’re in the restaurant business, just put a restaurant there.” And just like that, Café Lift was born.
The restaurant quickly became a local favorite and hidden gem in a neighborhood surrounded by warehouses. In the same year, the couple patented their own restaurant collective entitled, 13th Street Kitchens. The collective is run by a passionate group of food and drink enthusiasts. It has opened five restaurants in Philadelphia, four of which are still operating.
Twelve years ago, life brought the Pasquarello’s from South Philadelphia to the suburbs of Haddonfield after the couple fell in love with the historic and family-oriented feel of the town. Now that their roots are planted in New Jersey, so will their restaurant.
Café Lift Comes to Haddonfield, NJ
Café Lift is an all-day brunch restaurant open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This second location will be open by the end of this summer at the old Irene’s Consignment location on Kings Highway.
“We think Haddonfield is the perfect place to open a brunch restaurant,” Michael said. “Any brunch restaurant can thrive on the weekends, but this town is the perfect combination of ‘businesses and strollers,’ that will make an all-week brunch establishment thrive.”
Café Lift’s menu evolves seasonally and sources all its ingredients from responsible local growers. With the restaurant now opening in New Jersey, we are certainly expected to see our most famous produce, including blueberries and tomatoes, take center stage on this café’s menu.
The eatery will welcome its guests with some of its most popular dishes. Lemon ricotta pancakes made with a thinned cheese batter present a sweet treat to the menu and act as a staple in the couple’s cannoli French toast. Fan favorites include the breakfast burrito and huevos rancheros. Both are bursting with flavorful ingredients such as Chihuahua cheese and various peppers, beans and mushrooms. Lastly, Cafe Lift features its own house-made hot sauce, Carter sauce, named after the Pasquarello’s son.
As is every restaurant in Haddonfield, this café is BYOB if you’d like to enjoy a morning mimosa with your brunch of choice. Another beverage option includes 13th Street Kitchen’s own roasted Forever Coffee and other early-riser drinks. The menu offers vegan options as well such as the vegan yogurt bowl, a coconut yogurt dish topped with chia and flax seed granola along with a variety of fruit. Or, try the vegan pita, a green garbanzo hummus bowl mixed with veggies and alfalfa sprouts.
The Atmosphere and What to Expect
A new menu isn’t the only pizzazz that Café Lift is bringing to Haddonfield. Even though this second location is being taken out of the city, the city won’t be taken out of the restaurant. “We are going to be a little different from what is currently there,” Michael said. “We started as a city restaurant, so we are opening as a city restaurant and think this will add a nice element to Downtown Haddonfield.”
Megan Helmuth from Riverwards General will be designing the space with a chic, city feel. The restaurant will have a “California-meets-Scandinavian vibe” with a cream color palette accented by soft pinks and greens. There’s no doubt this new addition to Haddonfield will bring more life to the already charming Kings Highway.
“We want to be a hub for people to have a good time,” Michael said. “And we are so excited to join the Downtown community.”
Don’t miss the opening of this dynamic restaurant coming soon to Haddonfield and be sure to keep an eye on 13th Street Kitchen; because, although Café Lift will be the couple’s first New Jersey endeavor, it certainly won’t be the last.
About the Author/s
Gabrielle is an Editorial Assistant Intern at The Digest. After graduating from Grove City College with a degree in Communications, she worked in corporate sales for a year before giving in to her long-lost passion for writing. Known as the “investigative journalist” at her alma mater’s newspaper, Gabrielle loves uncovering the facts and weaving them into a compelling story. Having lived in New Jersey her whole life, this news journalist turned editorial writer aims to put the hidden gems of The Garden State on the map. If you ever can't find her, odds are she's gone ghost protocol at her favorite Jersey beach.