May 24, 2006
Golden Pear Favorites Revealed
It has become a fixture of the Hamptons. Surrounded by posh restaurants, down-home diners and almost everything in between, The Golden Pear Café stands out as the only sit-down, takeout coffee shop on the East End. It also has a loyal following.
With four locations along the South Fork, the Pear is known for serving up gourmet cuisine in a laid-back environment.
President and founder Keith Davis opened his first store in Southampton in 1987. Four years later, he opened his second in East Hampton, followed by a site in Bridgehampton in 1996. Sag Harbor will be the Pear's newest location, with its opening scheduled for this weekend. It will be located at the site formerly occupied by The Harbor Deli on Main Street.
Davis has also just released his first cookbook, The Golden Pear Café Cookbook. "There are 75 recipes in the cookbook [and] most people even with minimal experience will be able to walk right through the recipe," he said.
The cookbook is a collection of recipes from Davis and his wife, Anne, a baker who is credited with creating many of the popular dessert treats at the café, including the infamous Chocolump.
The first chapter begins with the classic starter of the day, coffee. Davis talks about the beans Golden Pear uses and tells his readers how to make a perfect cup of java, from grinding the beans to the temperature at which the beverage should be served. He also describes how to make a variety of espresso drinks.
After coffee, naturally comes breakfast, and Davis wastes no time launching into the next course. For Golden Pear, breakfast is a mainstay meal — offered to customers all day long. The "ultimate" breakfast burrito with chorizo sausage, farmhouse cheddar cheese, and spicy tomato salsa is one of the most popular items on the menu, and Davis reveals the secret recipe to his readers. Other favorites found in the book include "Belgian waffles with all the fixings;" organic yogurt with banana, berries, and maple granola; and of course, the smorgasbord of muffins offered up daily at each café location.
Davis moves on to soups, chili, and stews in the next chapter followed by salads, sandwiches and wraps. Then comes the main course. From the southwestern chicken casserole to the grilled and chilled jumbo shrimp with spicy tomato salsa to the garden vegetable lasagna the author reveals a host of savory secrets.
Desserts can be found in the next-to-last chapter. It is here that readers are treated to Anne's inspired touch. Her chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies sell out quickly, competing in popularity with her chocolate walnut brownies, blondies, and lemon loaf cake.
Davis leaves his readers with a final chapter on "Golden Pear basics," offering up recipes for chicken and vegetable stocks, vinaigrettes, and guacamole, to name a few.
Part of Golden Pear's success, said Davis, comes from the use of "high quality" ingredients. "Also, delivering services that are friendly and casual, efficient and knowledgeable regarding food." Serving brunch all day long is another benefit that gets high marks from customers. "Brunch is relaxed, easy, infinitely adaptable — and as casual or as elegant you want it to be," he summarizes in the book.
Religion has always played a strong role in the author's life and even inspired the café's name. "I like to think of the way the café's name, the Golden Pear, came about as a sign," he began in the book's introduction. At the start of the business, Davis cooked and baked in the back of the café while his friend worked the counter. "Together, we'd be a pair — a golden pair — which morphed into Golden Pear."
He had business cards made up with the moniker, but it was not until Davis's mother came home from church one day when he knew Golden Pear was meant to be. "In her hand was a church bulletin that bore the quotation: 'All things work together for good with those that love God' — Romans 8:28. Above it was a picture of a hand with a pear in it. The café was officially named," he wrote.
Despite enjoying the fruits of his labor with three successful stores and another to come, as well as his first cookbook, Davis is not looking to settle down just yet. A second cookbook could be down the road and Golden Pear will likely have its catering operation expanded from partial to full service in 2007.
Davis will sign The Golden Pear Café Cookbook on Saturday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at East End Books in East Hampton.