Since opening almost ten years ago, Norma’s Corner Shoppe has become a breakfast staple in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens.
Its success is testament to the creative recipes and dishes developed by co-owners Crystal River Williams and Denise Plowman.
The couple have since moved to the Hudson Valley, traveling to Queens and relying on their staff to run the cafe and bakery.
But after the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams and Plowman had the opportunity to reassess what they wanted to do.
“When we shut down during COVID, it really opened our eyes to the time (travel) that takes us away from our families and our daily lives,” Williams said. “It started a fire under us to find something closer to home where we could put more energy into the creative aspects of the business.”
Now they are starting construction on the new Norma’s Corner Shoppe in Wappingers Falls.
The cafe, named after Williams’ grandmother, will be located at 2650 E. Main St., which once housed Graceland Tattoos. With a larger space, Williams said she hopes to offer homemade baking, breakfast and lunch options, a selection of beers, wines and spirits, and a small Cracker Barrel-like gift shop.
Norma’s Favorite Foods
With 10 years of history, Norma’s has gained a considerable number of followers. Naturally, fan favorite pastries and dishes formed during this time.
Norma’s homemade cookies, while simple, have gained a reputation with regulars, and the Banana Blast, a vegan and gluten-free banana and chocolate muffin, is a delicious treat popular with patrons.
The Garden Cake, made with carrots, zucchini, beets and pecans, is also one of the store’s most popular delicacies.
The cafe isn’t explicitly gluten-free or vegan, but Williams said many of their recipes ended up that way.
“A lot of our pastries are accidentally vegan and gluten-free, and our customers have no idea what they’re buying,” she said.
As for the sandwiches, the Ranchero is a highlight, consisting of a black bean spread, salsa, cheddar cheese, eggs and a spicy bacon. Grilled goat cheese is a simple but popular option made with fig jam, goat cheese, bacon, and honey.
When will Norma’s open?
Williams, a resident of Wappingers Falls, said he completed the demolition inside the store and redone the floors. They are in the process of receiving their approvals from the village planning council and hope to start construction in the coming weeks.
“We haven’t even built the kitchen yet,” Williams said. “We are starting construction, hopefully this week if not next week.”
They also plan to apply for a full liquor license, although Williams has said beer and wine will be the main focus. She added that Norma’s won’t be a late-night location, closing early in the evening.
Along with a successful business, Williams has another claim to fame.
She appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped” show, winning against three contestants in a series of challenges showcasing old-fashioned ingredients.
Williams has also appeared on Food Network’s “Bake You Rich” and Cooking Channel’s “Unique Sweets”.
Geoffrey Wilson: [email protected]; 845-437-4882; Twitter: @GeoffWilson_