Order this... The happy vibe and good food at Persephone’s
Persephone’s is one of the happiest places on Block Island.
The vibe here is like no other; and the reason for that is the namesake of this café/restaurant. When Persephone took over the former Juice n’ Java location in 2015, she brought with her the warmth, good food and love that went into everything she made for the Farmers Market. While the menu continues to expand in delicious ways, Persephone’s stays true to its motto, stated front and center on their website: “Our food is the fuel for our lives. It is also how we connect with others. We believe where your food comes from, and how it is prepared and enjoyed, matters. Everything here is made with care for the ingredients and how it is served, as well as the environment you enjoy it in.” This is why Persephone’s was promoting copper straws and recycling way ahead of most of the country. This is why there is a line out the door nearly every day in the summer, and why people don’t mind waiting in that line. Everything served here tastes not just of freshness and goodness, it feels like you are nourishing your life force when you eat this food. Yes, it’s that good.
Local art, kombucha on tap, Persephone’s merch in a cabinet, tables, chairs, couches and a community chalk board are just some of what you’ll be looking at inside while you wait or sit to eat your food and sip your coffee. Little windows open to vines and trees beyond, and you can smell the ocean breeze intermingled with coffee and lemon ricotta blueberry muffins fresh from the oven. Outside, wrought iron chairs are adorned with birds, a vertical herb garden grows on the side of the building, and customers sit on benches awaiting their meals, many along with their dogs who are sipping water from bowls provided by the café. Inside, a glass case showcases buttery scones adorned with raspberry, gluten-free banana bread, muffins and brownies — tempting those with and without allergies. Salads sit aside energy bites with flavors that change daily, like maple pecan and blueberry sunflower.
In a café that offers five different kinds of toast, the option of adding hemp seed protein, chia seeds, coconut oil and bee pollen into several smoothies, and four varieties of sandwich melts, it’s nearly impossible to choose just one thing to eat. We sampled the LaLa Toast, a thick cut of wonderfully airy sourdough bread slathered with goat cheese, pesto, caramelized onions, bacon and arugula. Every bite was a sigh of satisfaction — creamy, crunchy, sweet and filling as either a breakfast or a lunch. From the lunch-only menu, we were served the new-this-year Zucchini Corn Burger. This sandwich was like none I have ever tasted before — the house-made “burger” melted in my mouth, the sharpness of the melted Vermont cheddar cheese and acid of the fresh tomato tasted delectable with rich creamy homemade “vegannaise” that bound the whole meal together. Our last taste was not only delicious, but also beautiful — The Mermaid Tail. Imagine the blue-green color of warm island seas, poured over ice and tastes of vanilla matcha, purple pea tea, almond milk and bee pollen swirling around your mouth with a little magic sprinkled in it. Not too sweet, not too bitter — like all the things we tasted here, it showcases what Persephone excels at — combining ingredients in creative and interesting ways that feed the body and satisfy the soul.
What everyone else is eating/drinking:
On a chilly summer day with a hint of fall, Marion from Vermont and her parents were dining with their friend Bunky from Cataumet. Bunky was here for the first time and loved the Splendid, an egg sandwich with bacon, avocado and tomato on Ciabatta bread.
She pronounced it “delicious. We just got off the ferry and were really hungry and this hit the spot.”
Marion eats here about three times a week and usually gets the Sweetie or a purple smoothie.
This morning she ordered Dirty Chai, which “was perfect, warm and cozy for a chilly morning.” Charlotte (Marion’s mom) got a Mocha Latte, “a wonderful meal in itself — rich and creamy. I love the cocoa in it.”
Kristen from New York City had the LaLa Toast on gluten-free bread along with gluten free banana bread, while her companion Della had the LaLa toast on sourdough and appreciated the “texture of the meal. I love the sweetness of the tomato and bacon with the caramelized onions.” She sipped her skim milk cappuccino and said “this is the perfect liquid sweater for today.”
Though the café was crowded, Della noted that “everyone in here moves through this space like water molecules, it’s lovely how everyone interacts.”
Hannah and James from Brooklyn were seated with Jill and James from Brooklyn, and all had heard “good things about Persephone’s, that it was super cute and had good vegan and vegetarian options.” Hannah loved the Zucchini Corn Burger — “I’ve never had anything like this. It’s sooo good.” Alan and James each had the Big Tuna, declared by James to be “the best Tuna Melt I’ve ever eaten.” Alan was impressed that the staff went above and beyond to accommodate his food allergy. Jill ate Alan’s Sweet Potato Pie bowl and appreciated a meal that “used coconut quinoa so creatively.”
She also commented that the combination of cinnamon-ginger sweet potato, blueberries, pecans, coconut cream and agave drizzle “makes me want to create something like this at home.”
Steven from Providence summed it up when he told me that “We go to a lot of cafés and sandwich places, and this one is top class. I love the New Harvest coffee, the Ti Penso grilled cheese sandwich is great, especially with a little extra hot sauce, and the gluten-free and regular baked goods make our visits here a daily occurrence when we’re on the island.” Steven passed his Envy smoothie to his one-year old daughter, who began to slurp it down with gusto.
And so a new generation of Persephone’s devotees is indoctrinated into the world of good food, beverage, vibe and soul that make this café home base for visitors and islanders alike.