Monday, August 31, 2009

Riverton, The River Line, and Zena’s Patisserie Café

By Pat Tanner

If you’ve never ridden the RiverLINE – the light rail system that runs between Trenton and Camden – you’re in for a real treat. The system is inexpensive and efficient, the trains airy, clean, quiet, and stylish. Best of all, stops include some of New Jersey’s most charming and historic Delaware River towns, among them Bordentown, Burlington, and my new favorite, Riverton.

Located south of Cinnaminson and north of Palmyra, Riverton is a sleepy, enchanting little community (home to just 756 families, according to the 2000 census) chockfull of well-maintained Victorian homes, some of which are former sea captains’ houses. Real gas lamps light the streets, which lead down to the river and a quaint yacht club. The town library is housed in a small, yellow cottage with a flower garden in front.

The RiverLINE stops right across the street from Zena’s Patisserie Café, a small, casual spot with a low-key European feel to it. Fresh, interesting soups and salads augment a lunch menu of sandwiches, some in the form of panini, croissants, and wraps. A complimentary helping of Zena’s lush rice pudding makes the already reasonable prices even more so. Homey touches include housemade lemonade and sweet tea (which can be mixed together) and self-service ladling of soup into oversize chipped mugs.

Accomplished baked goods range from European classics such as éclairs, cream puffs, and fruit tarts to all-American pound cakes and chocolate chip cookies.

Soup of the day on my visit was something I hadn’t encountered before and took an instant liking to: baked potato soup, a simplified but satisfying version of potage Parmentier. I later discovered that both Alton Brown and Rachel Ray have recipes for baked potato soup on the Food Network site. But here’s a link to the simplest and, to my mind, closest replica of Zena’s recipe:,1748,146189-255196,00.html

Zena's Patisserie Cafe

308 Broad Street (corner of Church Street)


Phone: 856.303.8700

No comments: