By Lilian Pena
Official restauranteurs and sisters, Charlotte and Carrie Denoyer, are the proud owners of Harrison’s latest successful business – Café Deux – a beautiful French-American café on Halstead Avenue in downtown Harrison.
The Denoyer sisters are no strangers to the restaurant business, growing up next to their father, Jean Denoyer, who has been in the business for over 50 years in New York City.
“Neither one of us thought we would go into the restaurant business.” Carrie began. But they soon decided to begin with their chocolate business, Cupped Desserts. It came about when they were sitting in their kitchen, tasting their chocolate creations and both had a “eureka moment,” saying they should sell the chocolates. The dream team was born. They started off slowly with their peanut butter cups – which by the way are incredibly delicious. Slowly but surely, through word-of-mouth, emails, and social media, the sisters’ business grew. As their business grew, they thought about how to expand and add different elements to their concept. “It took wind, and we established the concept for Café Deux.”
They explained that the name came before they even started developing the content. They thought of how cool it would be to open a café and call it Café Deux. Charlotte shared that at the early age of five, they would watch their father closely as he paid close attention to every aspect of his restaurants. Not only was the menu important but the atmosphere and overall design were equally central to the experience his patrons felt. When they created the design of the café, Charlotte and Carrie developed an inviting atmosphere by creating a stunning, customized bar with chairs and barstools from their father’s first restaurant. They carefully selected every detail of the café’s vibe, an established French style with an American twist.
Opening day (March 22nd) was a complete stroke of coincidence, but perfect, nonetheless.
The Denoyer family lived and grew up in the Harrison/Rye area and NYC. Charlotte played quite a bit of tennis in the area. For this and the welcoming vibe Harrison lends, was the perfect place for them to settle in.
“Harrison is changing a lot and we wanted to be a part of that,” shared Carrie. “We love being part of the community.” She went on to add that they see familiar faces now, coming in for a quick bite or bag of chocolates.
Café Deux is a great place to stop by in the morning for a delicious breakfast or quickly pick up some scrumptious pastries as a surprise for a friend or the office. Their croissants are absolutely perfect, buttery and flaky, sheer heaven.
Charlotte spoke about their great team, including their Executive Chef Alex Aparicio, Executive Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Jessica Craig, as well as the various baristas, bartenders and waitstaff, and cook staff.
Much of what makes Café Deux special is the fact that Charlotte and Carrie paid close attention to empowering other female-run businesses. For example, the tile floor comes from the female-owned company Casa Blanca Tile & Stone, Inc. Some of the ale on tap is from a Brooklyn-based company, owned by a woman – and much of the artwork displayed in the café is created by female artists.
Transitioning to the Back-to-School season, Café Deux will be offering their patrons a “to-go” menu. This will consist of a main course item and a choice of sides. Often, families on the go, as well as busy singles are short on time. Carrie says that this is the perfect way to have a healthy and delicious meal. It’s like having your own personal chef. One of the newest items Chef Alex has added to the menu is Pulled Pork. Together with some salad and other side is a comforting Sunday dinner and perfect next-day lunch.
When asked about what advice they would give future female entrepreneurs, Charlotte said that no matter how far-fetched some people might think your idea might be, the important mindset to focus on is to persevere and not give up. Never doubt yourself and understand that your ideas take time to develop. Carrie added, “Don’t try to go from zero to 100 fast . . . take slow steps.” One of her favorite sayings holds true, “Don’t put the cart before the horse. Let the horse lead you.” She added that it is so important to surround yourself with people that will encourage you. They were always encouraged to make and stand by their own decisions and in that way they would feel confident and empowered themselves. Even though they shared, there have been times when they have completely disagreed with each other about a certain decision, they’ve been able to work out any differences and ultimately come to an even better conclusion. That’s why they feel they are the best of business partners and sisters. Carrie said that one of the best parts about working with Charlotte is the fact that they truly want each other to be successful. In that way, Carrie said that all women should have that mindset and always be encouraging and helpful to other women entrepreneurs. Carrie also shared that every time she took a “leap of faith” in her life, there were a lot of women she looked up to and would reach out to ask their opinions. Both Carrie and Charlotte believe in listening to their customers closely as they continue to develop their own business.
Their menu is wildly popular and as the season changes to fall, Chef Alex, alongside Charlotte and Carrie are developing exciting dishes that will warm your soul.
A clear staple on the menu is the Escargot in parsley and garlic soup with a perfectly crusty baguette. Even for the timid, this is a must. Not to be outdone, their breakfast menu offers everything from quiche, avocado toast, and perfectly blended parfaits. Enjoy a buttery croissant with some of their seasonal house jam and French butter. How about a cocktail at Brunch or Dinner? They offer selections such as a Berry Smash (bourbon, lime, muddled strawberries with a foam top) and a Lychee Martini. While the season lasts, Café Deux offers “Spritz-O-Clock”, held weekdays from 3 to 5p.m.
Whether you pop in for a quick breakfast, relax at brunch and dinner, or bring Café Deux home to the family, one thing is for sure…Charlotte and Carrie Denoyer have created one of the hottest spots in Harrison and Westchester County. Congrats to them, their chefs, their staff, and ever-growing patrons.
Check them out at 307 Halstead Avenue, Harrison. Visit their website at www.cafedeuxny.com and follow them on Instagram.