By Janee Law
Batata Café provides an eclectic, cozy setting for customers through the scenic artwork crafted by local artists that hangs on the walls, to a Virginia Woolf quote that reads, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
The Northport cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with sandwiches, wraps, paninis, salads, soups, pastries and more on the menu. It boasts organic ingredients and also offers a vegan menu, with everything made to order.
Owner Nicole Offermann, who also owns Macadoo’s Grille next door, opened the 847 Fort Salonga Road cafe in 2005. Growing up in Northport, she took over the location after her father’s retail store, Barister’s Chocolates.
Offermann said the idea for the style of food sprouted from her travels in Central America.
“I always found myself going into the small cafes that were owned by expatriates,” Offermann said. “I just found inspiration in that. I wanted it to be cozy, with really good food and healthy food too.”
She added that “Batata” means sweet potato in Latin.
“I have Latin roots and I wanted it to mean it’s a restaurant where the food is pure and in its natural state,” she said. “We don’t process, it’s all homemade and there’s no added ingredients or preservatives.”
From the vegan menu, diners can dig into the Massaged Kale Salad ($8.95) and the The Batata Bean Burger with Chipotle Mayo ($9.95).
The Massaged Kale Salad is a combination of massaged kale, red quinoa, carrots, sunflower seeds, almonds, ginger, tamari, lemon and lime juice, olive oil, rice vinegar, maple syrup, cilantro, chili and garlic. It provides sweet, yet spicy kick, with the mixture of sunflower seeds adding the perfect texture in each delectable bite.
The Batata Bean Burger is made of sweet potato, black beans, quinoa, walnuts and sunflower seeds. It’s topped off with avocado, sprouts, tomato, homemade vegan chipotle mayo and is served on multigrain bun. The crumbly patty delivers a savory crunch with every bite, with the avocado and spicy flavor making the delicious combination.
Offermann said a popular non-vegan item is the Mobster Panini ($8.95), which combines grilled chicken breast, smoked mozzarella, fresh baby spinach, tomato and basil pesto mayo. The dish offers a crunchy bite, with a soft and juicy center.
While all sandwiches, wraps and paninis are served with tortilla chips and homemade salsa, Batata fries (sweet potato fries), freshly fried potato chips or regular French fries can be substituted for $2.45. When it comes to its sweet potato fries, Batata does not disappoint. The fries offer the perfect crunch and are served with Batata’s homemade maple dip, delivering a sweet and savory flavor in each bite.
Spanning 1,800 square feet, the café can sit up to 18 customers and offers its own packing station for customers to take home a meal. In addition, customers can also bring home some grocery items from the café’s small retail section and its vegan grab-and-go fridge. Offermann said she offers products from local businesses, such as Nina’s Baked Goods, and vegan ice cream from Sweet Annabelle’s.
Offermann said she expects a busy summer as college lets out. She said the cafe is a frequent stop for friendly meet-ups, or to pick up lunch on the way to the beach.
“People walk in here and they know everybody else,” she added. “It’s very cozy in that sense.”