For Vassarions with a hankering for gourmet food at student-friendly prices, Babycakes Café is often a weekly pit stop. Located just beyond the campus’ North Gate, the European-style café, bakery and restaurant offers a respite for hungry college students and local town residents craving savory and unique menu items that fit a modest budget.
Ask any Vassar student what they love about Babycakes, and the answer will come quickly. Upon entering the cozy eatery, students are greeted with a display of delectable pastries and menus full of sandwiches, salads, innovative beverages and brunch fare. The café, which is owned and run by a graduate of the nearby Culinary Institute of America, makes every item from scratch and uses ingredients that are primarily locally grown. Breakfast and lunch entrées are generally priced under $10, with pastries falling under $5. Although most students choose to enjoy their meals inside the roomy establishment, they also have the option of taking their orders to-go.
Though Babycakes is best known for its brunch entrées and mouthwatering pastries, the café’s extensive renovation in 2007 allowed it to expand to dinner fare. The restaurant now offers a full dinner menu featuring traditional American and European cuisine, as well as beer, wine and cocktails. Entrées typically fall under $20, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
The service at the café is quick, and the staff brings orders right to your table. During the renovation, Babycakes was triply expanded to accommodate 50 to 60 customers. The café is beautifully decorated with a European vibe, and artwork adorns the walls. Often the deciding factor, the VCard is accepted at Babycakes, which makes the establishment a weekly visit for many Vassar students.
For most students, Babycakes brings with it memories of long Saturday morning brunches with friends and intimate evenings spent chatting over plates of pasta and homemade French fries. My favorite Babycakes moment came in Spring 2008, when a friend and I ventured to the café one afternoon and took the liberty of ordering every single cookie and chocolate item in the display case—that’s over 20 pastries! It was a hassle for the employee taking our order, but he was more than accommodating. Needless to say, the cookies were well worth it.
Babycakes has established itself as a staple of the Vassar dining culture. Students flock to the restaurant for quick treats, extended breakfasts, hot chocolate breaks, casual lunches and romantic dinners. The café offers a classy, relaxed environment, as well as the moderately priced, elegantly prepared food of which college students are often bereft. If nothing else, use it as a neat, clean place to take Mom and Dad.