The double fudge brownies ($1.75) are one of the constants on Baker Boys' menu that changes as the owners and chef perfect new recipes.
"Everybody comes around for the brownies and our homemade Raspberry Lemonade," said owner Donal Egan. Egan was excited because the café got its Banana Walnut Raisin Bread ($1.75) recipe down just right last week. "We experimented with this thing for the longest time. It kept falling in," said Egan "About a week ago, we got it right and we're so happy with it. It's great for the fall. It's a hearty bread."
Egan, who was a graphic designer at a technology firm, and his partner Jorge Candelaria, put aside their roles in corporate America three years ago to open Baker Boys Café.
"I didn't want to work corporate America anymore," said Egan. "I felt that there had to be something bigger. I wanted to be of service to the community. We thought, 'How do we create a new way of being in the community and create jobs and be a model of microeconomic empowerment?' "
Egan and Candelaria opened the café with the vision of creating a template for other cafes throughout the city, to be run by people transitioning from workfare to work. It is a vision to help blighted areas of the city using their café as a model. Their business has grown over the last three years to the point where they are looking into how to make an expansion.
Egan served me a slice of the tomato bacon scallion quiche ($7.50) It had a light sweet crust. It was enveloped in mozzarella and parmesan cheese and made with cream and eggs. On the side was a tomato bisque soup ($4.50). The bisque was made of pureed tomatoes with cream and secret spices. It was topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and homemade thyme croutons.
"It's cooked for a while, so it has thickness to it," said Egan. "It's less tart than most bisques."
Egan and Candelaria also take an active role in helping a different community organization each month. This month, it's Positive Connections, a support group for people affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition to a collection jar, they are helping spread the word by distributing the organization's newsletter.
"We're foodies, and foodies connect to the community," said Egan.
Baker Boys' Argentine chef, Danilo Giraudo, originally worked for Taylor's in New York City. It isn't only their chef that they turn to New York City for. Many of their sandwiches are made with Ciabatta bread, from a secret source in the city.
"You won't be able to find this bread anywhere else," said Egan. "We went to every bakery in Hudson County, but couldn't find the bread. We had to go to an artisan bakery in New York."
Their sandwiches are all pressed. I had a piece of smoked ham provolone with honey roasted red pepper sauce ($7). It was a tightly packed sandwich, clearly made with care instead of thrown together quickly.
Many people from the neighborhood frequent Baker Boys Café. The front room can comfortably seat 26 people, and the courtyard out back can seat 26 more. Approximately every two months, they host a poetry slam. The ever-changing menu makes it an adventure every time.
"You should feel comfortable when you come in here," said Egan. "It's like going to grandma's."