INWOOD — For one Inwood couple, food, hospitality, and a love of butter has always been in their families’ blood.
So when the two decided to go into business together, creating a coffee house where they could bring together these elements and offer them to their community seemed a natural step.
“Food is a big part of our relationship,” said Nichole Frockeur-Lidakis, 34, the co-owner of Darling Coffee, a new coffeehouse that opened its doors at 4961 Broadway, between West 207th and 211th streets, in Inwood on Monday. “We wanted to do something like this together and knew the community needed a space like this in the neighborhood.”
Frockeur-Lidakis, a lifelong baker and a photography professor, and her husband, Nick Lidakis, a native of Upper Manhattan and Kingsbridge who works as a paramedic, moved to the area several years ago and said they were drawn to it because of the lush parks and energetic community.
After a failed attempt at opening a coffee house in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the couple had their eyes peeled for a space to realize their dream, and pounced on the opportunity to open on the prime retail strip along Broadway after a longtime furniture store closed its doors in 2010.
“It’s such a great area to raise a family and really be connected to the community,” Lidakis said of living in Inwood. He and his wife are recent parents of a seven-month-old son named Milo. “And even now with a tough economy, there is always the small luxury of having a cup of coffee and a pastry.”
The bakery offers locally roasted drip and espresso coffees from Brooklyn organic roaster Blue Bottle Coffee and Queens-based Dallis Bros. Coffee, which has been roasting in New York City for more than 100 years.
“We love that we can serve coffee from local places in the city,” Frockeur-Lidakis said. “We want to keep things as local as possible.”
In keeping with the local theme, nearly all of Darling’s employees live within walking distance. The barista and baker who live outside of the neighborhood are just a few subway stops away.
“There are such talented people here,” Frockeur-Lidakis said. “They’re invested in the neighborhood and that felt right.”
The pair hopes to lure in the after-dinner dessert crowd on weekends, not just a breakfast crowd, by offering layer cakes and sweets late into the night. The shop will remain open until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights.
During a soft-launch for friends and family over the weekend, intended to provide the couple with feedback for them to fine-tune the space, an array of meticulously prepared savory and sweet pastries, including galettes, scones and crusty baguette sandwiches, made with a generous coating of butter and jam, were artfully laid out at the counter.
For those who preferred something a little less sweet, Spanish-style tortillas, frittatas, baguettes with smoked ham and an olive Dijon tapenade were offered alongside savory scones, like the unique bacon-and-sweet onion scone.
The couple plans to hold cupping, or coffee tasting, events during the week and may begin tea-tasting classes for the community as well.
Ultimately, the two hope to create a space where people can enjoy new flavors and tastes and come together to enjoy one another, too.
“We knew we wanted to create a community space,” added Frockeur-Lidakis. “The parks are great, but now this can be everyone’s living room. We have excellent coffee.”