Black Cat Cafe Showcases Artists by Morey Storck | November 1 2010
The Black Cat Cafe opened in Irvington in December 2007, a dream fulfilled of Emily Feliciano, proprietress. In three years, ‘the little cat that could’ has attained a reputation as an exceptional eatery, enticing the public with greedily devoured breakfast treats, creative soups, specialty salads and sandwiches, plus irresistible desserts. A singular success is the tortilla crust quiche. All those delicacies are surrounded with the overwhelming aroma of the cafe’s signature beverage, freshly brewed coffee made with carefully selected beans from all over the world and roasted, incidentally, by Coffee Labs in Tarrytown.The quality menu mix is punctuated with local heirloom vegetable produce, whenever possible, and organically grown herbs. An inspired chef on her own, Feliciano also shares and collects innovative recipes from a network of friends and family. The cafe’s village ambiance is enhanced by local artists and photographers who exhibit their work on the cafe walls. Currently, works by Todd Shapera,, Jennifer Orkin Lewis and Selene Smerling are on display and for sale.
“Always in the mix was performance space to support emerging and established musical talent on weekends,” Feliciano explained. “The artists do not get paid, but enjoy needed exposure and an appreciative audience. They can collect tips, sell their CD’s and any other promotional materials they may have, and they are encouraged to join their friends and peers for informal jam sessions.” Advertising is done by word-of-mouth, flyers and website listings. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact blac...@optonline.net. Usual weekend gigs are from 6 to 8 p.m., unless special, prior arrangements are made.
Over the years and months, several patron favorites have emerged. “When they’re scheduled, the place is mobbed, with many standing outside,” Feliciano said proudly. One such group is the Supertonic Songwriters Circle. Hosted by Cliff Mays, the program will often highlight an up and coming junior song writer who will sing and play a couple of his or her own pieces, and perhaps after, it may become material for an impromptu jam session. Founder, Cliff Mays, has more than 20 years experience teaching music to private students all over Westchester, as well as leading group clinics for musicians of all ages. When he teaches, his plan is to craft each session to the individual student, to what most excites them. “That’s what makes them want to continue.”
His major vocation is “musician,” but he admitted his major income is playing the guitar, and occasionally, drums and keyboard. He has played with such bands as ‘Great Red Sharks’ and the ‘Heydevils’ and is a major player with ‘Rockmitzvah’, a very successful rock band in the tri-state area. In his spare time, he composes production music for TV, is a noted songwriter and recording artist, and sets up individual, home studio workshops.
James John Wilson is another favorite at the Black Cat. According to Facebook, Wilson is noted for “diverse, lyrically driven songs delivered in a voice that is artfully lined with southern tonalities and notable diction. He uses an organic method to tease out subconscious prose and avoids over-writing. His songs begin as a means to document internal dialogue without edit, and to learn about himself. The result is a raw, simple, stripped but emotionally-charged sound.” How do you add to that? In other words, Black Cat is proud to present this talented musician and that he is definitely a crowd pleaser. Wilson is also a RiverArts Board Member and a frequent performer in clubs and restaurants throughout the Rivertowns.
Marc Jacoby, founder of The Rockmitzvah Band, and a special draw as a performing musician, mentors young teen musicians at their ‘coming of age ’ celebrations, allowing them to jam with the band entertaining their friends and family. Jacoby, besides being a very successful musician and teacher himself, has a separate agenda for the band. First of all, it is entertainment. That’s a given. But, secondly, it is the involvement of the young person to become part of the musical experience and the spirit that will live on after the day fades. The practical part is simple. The bar or bat mitzvah who knows an instrument is encouraged to prepare for several weeks in full professional rehearsals before actually ‘hanging’ with the band and working out appropriate arrangements. The music is customized to the person’s talent and interests, whether it be pop, jazz, or rock and later recorded live to remember the event. “It should be a celebration and a love of the music that inspires your child,” Jacoby energetically invoked.
And, Jacoby continues on another note: TV exposure. “That’s a poor way to choose music, to completely bypass early enrichment. Music, today, is spoon-fed pop culture fueled by the media. Anything that is immediately consumable and profit-making is what teens will hear. It’s watered-down music with no commitment, no research and no field work. Not all of them can be stars, but they can still be good. Practice! That’s not on the schedule today for pre-college kids. They’re spread far too thin by extra-curricular activities, athletics, community service, advanced credit courses and whatever else looks good on their college applications. There’s no time to smell the sunshine or to fall in love with the music.” On that note, however, Jacoby is at his best when he performs for a very appreciative crowd at the Black Cat.
The Black Cat Bakery and Cafe. Right on taste. Right on beat. Right for the community.
Black Cat Cafe named "Best of Westchester 2009 - Best Neighborhood Cafe" ~ Westchester Magazine
July 2009 Issue:
Best of Westchester - Editors' Picks: Best Neighborhood Cafe 2009
At this bright, cheery, Wi-Fi-friendly café, you’ll find writers glued to their Macs, kids dribbling ice cream, and seniors in for an afternoon read. You’ll also find robust Kenyan Blend coffee, addictive Dancing Deer cookies (try the chocolate tangerine), smoothies, sandwiches, salads, and weekend breakfasts of luscious French toast and bountiful burritos. The café is a staunch supporter of ethical foodways (local, artisan, and organic producers) and principle-minded companies (Fair Trade coffee suppliers, humanely raised meat producer Applegate Farms), as well as local talent who perform most Friday and Saturday evenings (catch James Wilson & Friends on July 24).
The New York Times, Sunday, March 23, 2008
QUICK BITE – Irvington
Sandwiches And Drinks That Satisfy
It’s easy to spot the Black Cat Café along Main Street in Irvington. A reproduction of Steinlen’s famous poster of a green-eyed black cat against a red moon (made for the old Chat Noir in Paris) takes over part of the narrow storefront window. A black cat also has a personal connection for the owner, Emily Feliciano. The name immortalizes Sabbath, her late, black 24-year-old cat.
The shop’s window also displays pots of organic herbs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if organic catnip was the key to Sabbath’s longevity.
A conservationist who has an eye to personal nutrition, Ms. Feliciano carefully chooses her ingredients for her coffees, soups, hot and cold sandwiches, salads and baked goods. Her selection is good, good for you and good for the planet. The café’s international beans are Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance Certifies; that is, grown to strict environmental and social standards. A list of beverage choices includes cappuccino, mocha, espresso macchiato and frothy dark chocolate, perhaps with mint.
Compact as it is, this storefront that seats about two dozen satisfies a range of appetites. A glass case displays cookies and pastries. Sandwiches come with salad or chips, and on seven-grain, whole wheat, ciabatta, Kaiser and club rolls. More than a dozen fillings include grilled cheddar, spicy lime chicken, turkey or all vegetarian. Offerings are seasonal.
The café opens early enough for commuters. During the day, the lap-top crowd can enjoy a wireless Internet connection, and later, parents can stop by with their children and leave with a suppertime dish for home.
Black Cat Café, 45 Main Street, Irvington; (914) 231-9060 or www.blackcatchef.com. Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, later on weekends and during the summer.
The Rivertowns ENTERPRISE, Friday, January 4, 2008 "The Buzz on Business"
The Journal News, Wednesday, May 14, 2008
INTOWN Westchester Magazine, May 2008 "To Your Health" Article