This Sweet Catskills Cafe Is the Ideal Comfort Food Restaurant for Leaf Peepers in Eater
By Robert Sietsema
It was five short years ago that I started tracking hickster restaurants in the Catskills. Really, they were not too hard to find, occurring with a frequency of one every 20 miles or so. Many were started by hipsters who decided to move to the countryside and become hicks — hence the term hickster. Eschewing the predictable local fare found at diners, pizza parlors, and taverns, they founded cafes that offered fresh baked breads, avocado toasts, main courses with stylish, modern, and multi-ethnic flourishes, and boutique meats and cheeses from organic and otherwise progressive farmers. And they hired waiters who were extensively tattooed. Eventually, the New York Times picked up on the term.
One such restaurant is Blue Bee Café in the town of Delhi, at 114 Main Street. It’s open seven days a week year round, but only between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The menu is calculated to attract late risers looking for good coffee and homemade pastries, as well as lunchers and late lunchers who want a menu unafraid of quinoa or kale. Many customers desire something quick, says owner Stephanie Carter. In adopting a daytime schedule, the cafe bypasses the realm of relatively expensive dinners with flashy modern food that form the pattern for many other hickster restaurants in the mountains.
A decade ago the Blue Bee Café began life as a bookstore called Steinway Book Company that soon began serving coffee and sandwiches, too. Seven years ago, Carter — who moved to the Catskills from NYC because she, in true hickster fashion, “thought life would be much better for the kids” — discarded the book business, and the place had turned into something like the café that’s there today.