Delights Artisan Café Given Warm Welcome in Barnegat

By Maria Scandale | Nov 13, 2019
Courtesy of: Tara Rudd

Barnegat — Delights Artisan Café in Barnegat was welcomed with a packed house at its grand opening Saturday, Nov. 9. Friends and customers stayed to hear musicians whose notes blended with the aroma of cappuchino, fresh cinnamon rolls and homemade soups.

Owners Bill Clanton Jr. and wife Natercia always wanted to open a café, and the chance came in the contemporary plaza at 34 South Main, just south of downtown Barnegat.

It was a leap of faith, but it was also a logical next step from their success with Tea Party To Go catering.

Clanton is already active in the region as president of the Barnegat-Waretown Chamber of Commerce and program director of WBNJ FM radio. Natercia founded the cleaning service Natty Cleans & More. Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce representatives joined Delights Artisan Café for the ribbon cutting.

“It was one of those things where we were going to have two people or 200 people,” Clanton answered with a smile when asked if he was surprised at the grand opening turnout.

“We figured we’d get a modest turnout, but we never expected to have it so busy that we almost couldn’t cut the ribbon, because the line was out the door.”

The unique coffee/tea house café serves baked goods, breakfast and lunch. They will feature gourmet coffees and teas as well as a selection of Tea Party To Go specialties. The shop will also be available for private parties and two daily seatings of high tea service, by reservation.

The new place fits two bills: grab and go, or stay and chill.

In the main room, corrugated metal wall covering and strung white lights are hip; couches mixed with tables and chairs are comfy, and the space is big enough for whatever degree of chatting or privacy fits.

“We have free wifi; we want people to make this a second home,” said Clanton.

“Whether you’re coming in the morning to have a business meeting with a potential client, we can do that; if you want to study, do your homework, if you’re in college or high school, we can do that; if you want to come after dinner (on Friday and Saturday) to have a cup of coffee, dessert and maybe some live entertainment where it’s not a bar atmosphere, this is more of a family-friendly atmosphere.”

Added Natercia Clanton, “I have a 19-year-old, and you hear people say, I don’t know where to go to just hang out, and this is one of those places they can come out to with their friends.”

They plan on adding old-fashioned board games and a book exchange.

On the other hand, “if you’re on the go, picking up a sandwich and a cup of coffee, we have a lot of to-go foods –  salads and wraps, desserts and bread pudding – in the case,” Natercia said.

Watch the Facebook page and Instagram for coming creations. The day after the opening, “gobbler wraps” of fresh-roasted turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce was a planned special.

“I love the cooking aspect of it, he loves the baking aspect, and I think it meshes really nice,” Natercia said.

Although her husband’s first career has been in technology, he has become  an accomplished baker of tricky-to-master desserts such as French macarons. These types of delicate creations appear on the high tea menu, and they have been wholesaled in batches to such stores as Murphy’s Market in Beach Haven, The Local in Ship Bottom, and The Coffee Nest in Beach Haven, which is moving to Harvey Cedars.

Now from their own commercial kitchen, Tea Party’s wholesale arm can be expanded beyond the other shops that carry the specialty baked line. They outgrew the kitchen they were using at Grace Calvary Church. Clanton’s brother, Steven Eric Clanton, will be sales manager for wholesale, and they will expand the wholesale line to other coffee shops.

“Tea Party To Go got us where we are,” the couple said. “There is definitely some influence in our menu from that, but also, this is a new entity. It’s not just just tea-related; now we’re a café with coffee, breakfast, lunch, so it’s a bit different.”

Musicians Shannon Harrington of Broadway ArtsReach, and Bethany Taylor performed during the grand opening.

The café is available for holiday parties and other catered events.

“There are a lot of options; we have a great space that we can transform into anything.”

The grand opening was a family affair. Mom, Mary, remembers Bill Jr. in the kitchen cooking as soon as he was old enough. Proud dad, Bill Clanton Sr., vice president and chief engineer of WBNJ, said, “This one, I think, is probably one of the best adventures as a family. We’re here to help them; they just have to ask.” Then he joked, “They let me do the dishes today.”

The café will be open seven days a week: Monday through Thursday for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with live entertainment in the evening; and Sunday for lunch from 1 to 5 p.m.

Phone number is 609-891-0512. Or they can also be reached by email for booking parties or reserving high tea service (classic tea luncheon or afternoon tea) at hello@delightsnj.com Also, they will soon be listed on the DoorDash delivery app.

The Barnegat-Waretown Chamber of Commerce will hold its Holiday After-Hours networking event at Delights Artisan Café, at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5.

— Maria Scandale

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

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