Steam rose from the small bowl of not-too-spicy chicken enchilada soup served with one hard and one soft tortilla. A generous square of bread pudding topped with whipped cream sat on a plate next to the soup.
Sounds like an odd pairing, but on a cool fall day the food went together perfectly.
The soup and bread pudding was served up at Homestead Coffee & Bakery in Jefferson by one of the owners, Nhan Nguyen. His partner, Ora Stevens, who grew up in the area, handles the bakery end of the business while Nguyen runs the coffee shop.
The coffee shop and bakery opened July 19 in a building on the south side of the square that years ago housed the JC Penny’s store.
A worn red brick wall with a patina created by age is bare to the inside of the building, and gives the coffee house side of the business a great ambiance, along with the open, airy counter filled with pastries. A few steps away from the coffee shop counter is a wood and glass display case with fresh bread and pies ready to be purchased. A few people sit around a table over coffee and friendly discussions.
And that’s the way Nguyen and Stevens envisioned the space when they purchased the building.
“We were living in California. I had always wanted to open a coffee shop, and we wanted to have a bakery,” Nguyen says. “And Ora wanted to get back to the area.”
The spacious building and its warm, inviting interior was no accident.
“We wanted Homestead to be a kind of community gathering place,” he says.
The owners have not only accomplished that feat, they make great food, too. The enchilada soup was spiced just right, not too much and not too little. The shredded chicken was exceptionally tasty and went down well with the tortillas served with the soup.
The large serving of moist, tasty bread pudding looked larger than could be consumed, but it was so good the dessert soon disappeared.
They also provide a variety of deli sandwiches along with a large variety of coffee drinks and a few non-coffee drinks as well.
Homestead Coffee & Bakery
21 Lincolnway, Jefferson
Hours: Sunday: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m
Mon. – Thur.: 5:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday: 5:30 – 10 p.m.;
Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.