According to owners Adam and Anne Buck, Café Zoey is “the most colorful coffee shop in Rhode Island!” Setting foot inside the cozy nook on Hope Street – with its funky murals and lush greenery – I was quickly convinced of that claim.
Having never experienced crepes before, this visit to Café Zoey was particularly special for me, and it was refreshing to see their menu is mindful of customers’ different needs – with certified kosher, vegan, and gluten-free options available – and they were happy to accommodate my allergies. I decided to bring my young nephew along and was pleased to find such a kid-friendly vibe. We were seated at a table with a RI-themed Monopoly board – with nods to Del’s Lemonade, the Big Blue Bug, and more – beneath glass and the pieces nearby.
While the spot is an extension of Small Point Café, Café Zoey has its own distinct personality. The Bucks enlisted their close friend and Manhattan artist John Adam Fahey to cover their walls in abstract shapes and lines in every hue, creating a vibrant, eye-catching backdrop to a menu that’s equally whimsical. Lining the perimeter are plants that complement the look: succulents, peace lilies, cacti, and even flora cleverly potted in coffee decanters.
After ordering, we delighted in catching glimpses of the magic happening behind the counter while sipping coffee – a special brew from local roaster Justin Enis, designed for the cafe. The rich, aromatic style is perfect for coffee fanatics like me, and luckily you can purchase their custom-blended beans by the bag (with peel-away artwork by Fahey).
I took my hot coffee in the form of a cappuccino, savoring the bold espresso and light sweetness. My friend enjoyed the Golden Latte, a smooth and flavorful blend of turmeric, ginger, and steamed milk, and my nephew savored every drop of his cup of hot chocolate, with creamy mocha flavor that became more potent and sweet as he got to the bottom; we learned that the raw sugar was imported from the Dominican Republic with fair trade mocha.
Though there’s plenty of sweet versions, we started with savory crepes. The Mount Hope came stuffed with spinach, creamy cheddar, tomatoes, red onion, and egg; the crepe was soft and thin with a lemony taste. Our table also indulged in two Japanese-style hand-held cone crepes: the Breakfast featured cheddar, egg, veggies, and vegan sausage, which I adored, and the Funghi was filled with fresh cucumbers, pickled carrots, arugula, and a medley of sauteed mushrooms that brought a nice umami finish.
We couldn’t end the visit without a sweet bite, and the Ambrosiac was a wholly satisfying blend of creamy ricotta, peach and strawberry jam, and honey. It tasted like a fresh fruit stand.
For a family-friendly destination with tasty treats and no shortage of colorful and fun sights to behold, Café Zoey is an easy choice.
791 Hope Street • 854-5885
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