Munching on muffins at Moss Cafe


Sophie Rukin , Staff Writer

PULL: Open Face Biscuit, Challah French Toast, Tofu Banh Mi

The smell of espresso fills the air as you enter Moss Cafe. The restaurant, located on Johnson avenue, feels homelike: an open view of the kitchen, comfortable furniture, and colorful paintings. Tea bags and coffee beans line the walls behind the counter, right across from the blackboard menu with the rotating seasonal dish selections.

Emily Weisberg founded the restaurant eight years ago with the goal of opening a community cafe that uses great products, general manager Ben Alpern said. “She focuses on everything being farm to table and sourcing all local products.” For example, the coffee beans are Stumptown beans, sourced from high-quality farms that pay their workers well.

Moss Cafe works hard to accommodate the community and uses only Kosher-allergy-friendly products to serve the large Jewish community in Riverdale, Alpern said. If a client has a dietary restriction the restaurant will always work to accommodate it. “Our goal here is just to give good, real food to people.”

While Alpern has only been the general manager at the restaurant for five years, he has enjoyed every minute of his time there. “I love seeing our regulars come in all the time and love the food.” A diverse customer base is a crucial part of the restaurant, he said.

On Maya Westra (12) and her friends’ monthly visits to the restaurant, they are excited to see their favorite staff member. “She knows what our orders are and always sets the table in the way we like.” She even knows who likes jalepeños and who doesn’t on Westra’s favorite Banh Mi sandwich.

Part of the reason Westra likes to go in person is because of the energy of the restaurant, she said. The decorations, staff, and community-feel all make the experience worthwhile. “I would travel from the city just to come to Moss,” she said. “All the food is delicious, healthy, and fun.”

While Westra enjoys going to the actual restaurant, many students such as Jane Offit (11) prefer to order in. “My weekly Wednesday Moss kale salad is a treat,” she said. While on the expensive side, the salad is one of her favorites in the city, Offit said. While she has never actually visited the restaurant, she can tell the staff cares about their work and hopes to go in person in the future.

Ben’s rec: Challah french toast