Our Town: A European cafe on Hillside Ave.

Here I sit on the warm Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. sipping my cappuccino and enjoying my apple and cinnamon crepe with vanilla ice cream. 

The place is jammed with happy people chatting away and French music is in the background.  Is this Paris?  Is this Florence? No guess again.  It’s right here in Williston Park at 72 Hillside Avenue next to Aroma Nails. 

The owners are Steve Guasco and  Louis Corcione.  Sounds Italian don’t you think.  And of course that is what gives the place its warmth and specialness. 

It is always of interest to see the story that inspires the opening of a café or restaurant. When Steve was a child his parents would take him to La Crepe in Manhasset. 

He would always have the onion soup and the apple and cinnamon crepe with vanilla ice cream. And from those innocent family outings came to desire to open his own French creperie. 

However the path to this little café in Williston Park was by no means direct. Steve first opened Steve’s Pasta in Long Beach and after a while felt the urge to start a café. 

So he opened the first Fresco in Long Beach. And when Steve’s Pasta burned down he said to his manager Louis Corcione let’s try to open another café. 

They searched from town to town and he said the moment he crossed over the tracks from East Williston into Williston Park he felt that this would be the place to open his next Fresco’s. 

It was designed by Steve’s dad who is an architect and has beige walls, grey tile floors, a stainless steel back splash and furniture by the contemporary Italian designer Emu. 

Carlos Vasquez is the chef and the second chef is Obed Mendez. The place is clean, smells like fresh coffee, has music playing, comfortable and movable seating, a nice magazine rack and a big window which looks out onto Hillside. 

They offer crepes like Ham and Cheese , Smoked Salmon or Grilled Portabella. And the sweet crepes include Banana Nutella and the famous Cinnamon Apple with vanilla ice cream.

You may remember that I once did a series on women and I found and interviewed the Spanish beauty Heymi Zeleya who worked at Fresco’s. 

Well lucky you she is still there. So next time you have an urge for some good coffee and a place to lounge  and look at pretty things, do not, I repeat, do not go to Starbucks. 

They had their chance in Williston Park.  

Instead try a place with better coffee, better service and a much nicer ambience. 

Get a little taste of Europe right here in little old Williston Park. 

Just like the American Express ad says ”Shop Locally.”

About the author

Dr Tom Ferraro

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