Moonbean Café to remain open until works starts this fall
Changes in the heart of Briarcliff Manor’s downtown are moving ahead, now that the village has approved plans to replace the Moonbean Cafe building and renovate the top floor of the one next door that houses The Patio.
The Moonbean Cafe will remain open until construction work starts sometime in the fall, and owner Abby Wallace said she would like to return once work is complete.
The Patio will be unaffected by the renovation.
Anthony Matra, whose Matra Realty owns the buildings at 1123 and 1133 Pleasantville Road, is finalizing plans for Building Department review for the eight- to 10-month construction job.
“We’re still in the final stage of drawing our plans for the [village] to make a final review,” he said, which he expected to complete in the next several months.
The majority of the job entails tearing down the 1,650-square-foot two-story building at 1123 Pleasantville Road that is now home to the first-floor cafe and three second-floor offices. In its place would rise a three-story, 6,740-square-foot structure that will house two takeout restaurants on the ground floor, and eight apartments comprising a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units on the second and third floors.
The interior remodeling plan for the 5,400-square-foot, three-story building next door at 1133 Pleasantville Road will not affect The Patio, or the office space in the basement and second floor. Third-floor tenants would move downstairs, he said.
The space between the buildings will be turned into a stamped concrete open patio to provide space for outdoor dining.
A Zoning Board variance will allow Matra to provide fewer parking spaces than required, although some on-street spaces will be created.
Matra’s project is designed to mesh with the village’s amended zoning laws that allow residential units over commercial buildings as a way to revitalize the downtown.
“My wife [Juliana] and I are very excited about this project,” said Matra, who owns Matra Building Corp. in Croton-on-Hudson. “It’s been a long time coming. We’re looking forward to working together with the town to make a real solid improvement for Briarcliff. … There’s a beautiful patio between the two buildings, and it’s going to really be a nice gathering place for the Village of Briarcliff.”
Matra started the company in 1995 as a renovation and remodeling business and later expanded into custom homebuilding, according to its website.
Briarcliff’s Planning Board approved Matra’s site plan earlier this month; the building permit is a final hurdle before construction can begin.
Will Moonbean Rise Again?
Matra said he’s hopeful Wallace will bring her independent coffee shop back when the new building opens. “We’re hoping she’s going to be the first tenant,” he said.
And indeed, Wallace is thinking along the same lines.
“We would like to reopen again, make new changes to the business,” she said recently. “I would definitely like to change a little bit and evolve and adjust to the times. Things are so different now than when I took over the business back in 2006.”
“Making some changes to the menu, that type of thing, I’m not sure what the square footage would be like,” Wallace added. “It would be nice to be given a chance to make my own personal touches to it, because when I took over the business everything was already there, from the paint colors to the furniture.”
While she’s no longer working the long hours she did last year, “I’m still kind of welcoming some time off because in the 16 years I’ve owned the place — it’ll be 16 years in June — I have not had a proper vacation.”
When word spread last September about Matra’s plans, “It was just really frustrating because people thought we were going to be closed in a few days or even weeks. People didn’t want to buy gift certificates because they thought we were closing, and I was like, ‘We’re not closing yet.’ ”
She says she wants to keep the Moonbean percolating “until the very end, until we can no longer occupy the space” when construction work starts.
And Wallace, who is married with two daughters and lives in Ossining, plans to stay close to home.
“After 16 years I’ve developed a relationship with a lot of families in the community, and especially with my landlord. Why change a good thing?”