Part of me didn’t want to write this article. I wanted to be selfish. This part of me wanted to keep this hidden gem away from the public, so I can have it all to myself. I heard my mom’s voice mention the Italian philosophy of abbondanza or abundance and didn’t want to spend the day ashamed and guilt-laden so I changed my mind. *wink, wink*
Cravings Cafe & Cakery is one of those places that has world class food and service, yet is surprisingly and relatively unknown – due to it’s location. The first time I ate there a few years ago I was duly impressed. What compelled me to head there? I made the “mistake” of glancing at an image of their Prosciutto panini sandwich. It was a totally unfair close-up shot of the sandwich cut in half, exposing the melted Havarti cheese, thinly sliced Prosciutto and fresh arugula that was placed between two perfectly toasted slices of bread. I’m salivating as I type.
This thing should be illegal. These pictures are surely some evil plot by owner Jessica Marmelo.
It made me decide to head straight to the cafe and order one. I checked the address and was surprised to find out where it was. “98 State Road? That’s near Symphony Music and across from Bishop Stang. Huh? There’s no cafe there!?!”
But there is. A damn fine one too. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at the Facebook reviews where there isn’t a single review less than five stars since the page was created years ago. That’s impressive.
We get so used to driving down the same old road that we simply block things out. This is the general process that I think has kept Cravings a hidden gem. Hidden in plain sight.
Of course, I hadn’t known how exemplar Cravings was yet. I honestly went there intending for it to be a one time visit. I’d eat the sandwich, have an espresso, get some work done and take off. I thought it would be a great spot since no one would know I was there and I could get work done uninterrupted.
When I arrived and walked in, I was greeted warmly by server Pauline and owner Jessica. While the cafe has a small seating area, it makes up for size in quality. It evoked images of many of the cafes I visited on my sabbatical through Europe, but with much more vibrancy. This has surely do to the many modern paintings, the black board menu featuring many colors of chalk and the bubbly personalities of everyone that serves there.
While there are a number of tables one can sit at, my favorite thing to do -especially on rainy days – is to sit at the window at the counter style table. You cafe entrepreneurs will be happy to know that, not only is there a powerful WiFi signal, but abundant plugs. There’s no gritting your teeth when you come in, to see all the outlets taken.
All that is fine and dandy, but let me tell you about the sights and aromas. When I opened that door I was hit by a wall of mouth watering aromas. Imagine a medley of Panini being pressed, cupcakes being baked, cheese being melted, bread toasting, espressos brewing, and soup simmering and you’ll have an idea! While I had my heart set on that panini I saw on their Facebook page, I was tempted to try something else after I saw the menu.
There were salads like the Caesar, Greek or Baby Spinach tossed with tomato, fresh Mozzarella, roasted peppers and basil. “Breakwiches” like the Morning special: “2 eggs, baby spinach and cheddar cheese, served on country white or multigrain toast” or what would become one of my favorites the Smoked Salmon Bagel: “Tomato, Onion, Capers and Chive Cream Cheese, Served on Your Choice of Bagel.” There are delicious wraps and panini like Roast Beef, grilled cheese, veggie, albacore tuna, or the Cravings Caprese of “Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Tomato and Basil.”
That’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The drink menu had the expected coffee, espresso, herbal teas, cappuccinos, hot chocolate, fruit smoothies and lattes. What is not standard is the Red Velvet hot chocolate, extreme toffee coffee, mint chip frappe, and latte flavors like Peppermint Patty, German chocolate, Mud Pie, Sticky Bun, Spicy Mocha, Black Forest Cake, and more.
After scanning, my eyes landed on the display cases chock full of works of art. These cupcakes, tarts, cookies, and other goodies looked too beautiful to ruin by eating. Oh, eat them I did though! I let my mean streak come out and I destroyed many beautiful things. There were so decadent and delicious, that I felt like I was doing something wrong!
While Cravings has all the standard cupcake flavors like double chocolate, Red Velvet, vanilla cream, strawberry, etc. they have evil flavors like Champagne, Peeps (yes the marshmallow birds), chocolate covered strawberry, angel food with raspberry mousse, almond joy and Almond cream pound cake with Amaretto pineapple filling.
If all of this sounds really sumptuous, but you are on a gluten free diet, don’t fret: Cravings offers all their sandwiches as gluten free and have daily gluten free goodie offerings.
In addition, to the “front” portion of Cravings, which includes the cafe, service, and kitchen there is a “back” portion which includes catering and the cakery featuring custom designed creations. We’ve all seen those shows on television, where people make some of the most amazing, mind-blowing cakes worthy of art. Well, Cravings’ cakes are their equal or better. These are world class cakes that are art.
If you take a look at the photo album we’ve included at the end of this article and on their Facebook Page you’ll see a full range of birthday cakes for kids to extravagant, elaborate, tiered wedding cakes. Some of my favorites are the many Zombie themed cakes, but there are Dora, Elmo, and Spongebob cakes. There are Patriots and Red Sox cakes. There’s even a Led Zeppelin cake. You have to see these cakes to believe them.
Cravings Cafe & Cakery
98 State Rd
Dartmouth, Massachusetts 02747
Phone: (508) 858-5037
Mon: 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
Tue – Fri: 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 8:30 am – 2:00 pm