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Spotlight on Long Island's Central Perk Cafe: Gathering Spot for Neighbors and "Friends"

Sharing a name with a coffee shop made famous by a 90s sitcom, Central Perk Café opened its doors in 2002, a place where neighbors and “friends” could come together in a relaxed upscale atmosphere for great kosher fare and friendly service.

Located in the quaint village of Cedarhurst, known as the fashion center of Long Island's South Shore for over 100 years, Central Perk Cafe offers an array of casual Kosher fare, under the strict supervision of the Vaad of the Five Towns and upholds kosher standards and hours.

A dining oasis in the core of Cedarhurst’s bustling shopping district and town center, filled with over 200 design studios, salons, bakeries, kosher eateries, professional offices, clothing boutiques, and fitness studios for over two decades, customers come to Central Perk Cafe to relax, unwind, and enjoy a hearty meal and homey vibe.

Led by owner Michael Hirsh and his crew, regulars can be seen stopping by for an early morning meal, taking a break during a busy shopping day, or relaxing after a long hard day in the city.

Serving fresh fish dishes, health-minded salads, gourmet burgers, hot breakfasts, sandwiches, wraps, pizza, pasta, and desserts, as well as a full coffee bar, complete with espresso, lattes, and other hot and cold beverages, all dishes are prepared fresh and made to order, prepared in a 100% kosher kitchen, and available for pick-up and delivery.

When the mercury begins to climb, customers love to sit on the patio and enjoy appetizers, including everything from baskets of mozzarella sticks to nachos for two, and relax, chill, and people-watch the day away.

“Customers come for the food and atmosphere,” offered cafe owner Michale Hirsch, “but they keep coming back for the service.”

Good to Know: For non-native New Yorkers: According to Wikipedia, the Five Towns are an informal grouping of villages and hamlets on the south shore of western Long Island, in the Town of Hempstead, bordering Queens. Although there is no official “Five Towns” designation, the basic five are Lawrence, Cedarhurst, Woodmere, Hewlett, and Inwood.

Guests can expect to be greeted by Michael and the long-time dedicated wait staff that has stuck with him through thick and thin.

During the pivoting-to-survive period, the restaurant expanded its outdoor patio to accommodate restrictions in 2020. Customers loved it so much that it became one of the town’s main attractions, accommodating gatherings, large and small. The expansive, rain-friendly covered outdoor seating area, decorated with string lights and charming striped umbrellas, now seats over 100 patrons, making it a popular summer hangout spot for locals.

When temperatures drop, indoor seating is available in the restaurant’s bright and airy dining room. Offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of the everyday, and a sweet solace for the soul, guests can enjoy daily breakfast and brunch featuring maple-drenched waffles, cinnamon bun pancakes, fluffy omelets, and frothy cappuccinos. Opening at 7:30 am, Central Perk offers a complete hot breakfast menu and a warm welcome to early risers.

For guests interested in whetting their spiritual appetite, the eatery hosts a space for a daily Daf Yomi Shiur, or "page of the day" every morning at 8:30 am.

Good to Know: The Talmud is the collection of writings and interactions of the rabbis. Daf Yomi Shiur refers to a daily regimen of learning each one of the 2,711 pages of the Talmud in sequence.

In addition to B'nai Mitzvah, wedding, or other religious family event catering available on the expansive patio, Central Perk Cafe is the Jewish community’s go-to spot for customized catering packages for parties of all sizes, from 15 to 1500. This includes everything from Friday night Shabbat dinners and everyday meals to festive Jewish holidays, including Hanukkah, Tisha B’av (break the fast,) Pesach (Passover,) and more.

The holidays become more enjoyable when Michael and his team of chefs prepare a feast and deliver it directly to the customers’ door.

“Our customers love our holiday catering,” Michael expressed, “and every year it seems like the orders are growing!”

The cafe prepares trays for not-so-joyous occasions as well, making difficult times just a bit easier. Trays for families sitting Shiva (the week-long mourning period following a loved one’s burial, referred to as "sitting shiva" in the US) are delivered with special attention and the utmost care.

Corporate Catering

Whether you are looking for a catered buffet brunch or a five-course dinner, Central Perk Café will take care of the logistics, while their customers can focus on the business at hand. Central Perk provides simple delivery services or complete catering packages. This includes daily delivery to remote workers at their location of choice. (Even Zoom attendees get hungry, and who has time to cook?)

How Delivery is Delivering Sales and Attracting Customers

“During covid, we were able to stay in business and continue to keep our sales up thanks to our online menu and delivery service,” Michael recalled, “and since then our delivery operation continues to be one of our biggest (streams of profit.)”

Being able to pass on the savings and crediting the efficiency of the overall delivery process, Michael is encouraged by the uptick in direct ordering sales and hopes it will only continue to grow.

“Because of Sauce and its direct ordering process, we are not only saving money but our customers are saving money too - and (they) appreciate how quickly the orders are received.”

“When our customers order through our website, the Sauce platform takes over and connects us with nearby delivery drivers,” Michael explained, “which makes the delivery process much faster, so customers receive their orders fast and still warm.”

With a mass selection of reliable delivery drivers ready to go, “It’s like we have a team of drivers out there waiting to get an order from us, thanks to Sauce.

Delivering to a 20-Mile Radius

Because Central Perk Cafe now delivers to customers within a 20-mile radius when ordering directly from the website, the opportunity to expand the geographic area of the customer base is massive, helping bring the cafe’s upscale kosher food to JFK International Airport, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Rockaways, in addition to the many neighborhoods in and around the Five Towns on Long Island.

Servicing travel destinations like New York’s JFK airport, customers can place an order in advance to arrive at the moment their flight arrives.

School Lunch Catering

In 2008, during the height of the recession, Hirsh decided to pivot and begin offering catering delivery to local school districts. Providing freshly prepared lunches to hundreds of school children and staff, Central Perk Café delivers lunches each day to districts in the Five Towns and immediately surrounding areas.

Whether you want to enjoy a great meal at home, sit back, relax, and enjoy breakfast in the warm and bright indoor space, hold an event on the massive patio under the stars and twinkle lights, or simply sit outside and people-watch your lunch hour away, Central Perk Cafe is the place where FRIENDS can always be found gathering in Cedarhurst.

Central Perk Cafe

105 Cederhurst Ave. Cedarhurst, NY,11516 1-516-374-6400

Tel: 1-516-374-6400

By Eileen Strauss


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