Evelynn Sidiropoulos could barely contain herself when the Walpole Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting Ceremony took place on June 7, 2018, at her new business, Red Cherry Cafe in Walpole, Mass.
At the moment when Evelynn knew the official opening of her business was something very real, she became overwhelmed with joy. No staged photo op moment here — her emotional response was purely authentic, as well as for many others pictured here who rooted for her success from day one…
The enthusiastic crowds gathering at the Red Cherry Cafe grand opening suggested that the local cafe could be a cornerstone business and a go-to eatery for many years in a quaint downtown district that desperately needed this kind of business. Here, families, couples, college students back from their first year away, high school students, a Walpole selectmen, town meeting members, private sector professionals, landscapers, fellow small business owners, nurses, the elderly and a few familiar-looking townies convened at a business that took on the presence of a bustling community meeting center.
“Walpole was in need of a few focal point destinations. Red Cherry Cafe will be one of those as a gourmet bakery with specialty sandwiches and coffee,” said Harry Brousaides, president of the Walpole Chamber of Commerce and a long-time Walpole resident. “We are so glad they are here. This business will allow families to gather, business people to network — really a place for everyone to meet over some good coffee and food.”
Locals stressed many years ago, through a town-generated survey, about the need for a cafe, coffee shop and bakery. Lucky for them, they got all three with Red Cherry Cafe… and then some.
As that classic song by The Hollies went, the road was long, however, with many a winding turn for Red Cherry. Once a year-round frozen yogurt shop that initially enjoyed popularity, Red Cherry, unfortunately, fell victim to the quick demise of the once wildly popular frozen yogurt trend. Red Cherry reduced their business to a seasonal operation and then closed entirely in October 2016 with locals wondering if the business would ever come back.
Evelynn had a vision, however, and with the support of a close-knit family, used her Bentley University marketing degree, innate business savvy and sheer determination to reopen the storefront with a soft opening in May 2018.
“I wanted a variation of Panera but with a local feel and a rustic meets industrial look,” said Evelynn. “We wanted everything to be made fresh here and to offer locally roasted coffee. It’s been a lot of work — longer than we thought — but everything is coming together,”
Red Cherry Cafe looks beautiful — indeed, a bright and cheery localized version of espresso and coffee bar chains but without the revolving door of employees, inexcusable customer service gaffes, and elitist attitudes, as well as trendy offerings in the form of overpriced products. This is, first and foremost, a family business with Evelynn leading the way and her mom (Donna), dad (Bill) and brother (Kosta) working hard in hopes of living the American Dream and pleasing the customers in this pleasant South of Boston town they have chosen to reside and take up business.
The welcoming Main Street USA coffee shop and cafe theme has rarely looked better and with locally roasted organic coffee and truly tasty, made-from-scratch food, including hearty paninis, crisp salads and warming soups. Snacks and sweets that taste fresh out of the oven help enhance the appeal that much more…
“Great experience,” said Ed Jackowski, a Walpole resident and co-owner of the School of Rock in Norwood, Mass. “All the selections (and more) of a Starbucks without all the pretentious jargon. Lots of pastries, desserts, breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches and coffee choices. The girl was super friendly and the decor was very inviting. I had a bacon, egg and gouda sandwich and a large iced cold brew. Delicious!!”
Lisa Stranahan, a Walpole resident, sampled the “Modern Turkey” sandwich with sliced turkey, Granny Smith apple slices, sharp cheddar, horseradish mayo, lettuce, and tomato on rosemary focaccia.
“This is good, really good,” said Stranahan with an enthusiasm that suggested this isn’t the same old turkey sandwich.
Most of the crowd on opening night enjoyed one of the many drink offerings, often commenting on the outstanding flavors and blends. Here is the drinks menu:
Mocha, caramel or coffee
Blended iced espresso drinks
Freshly brewed coffee in light medium and dark roasts.
Cold brewed iced coffee
Loose leaf tea
Freshly brewed iced tea: black, mint green, blood orange
Iced tea lemonade
Open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Red Cherry Cafe exhibits an attention to detail in its food that remains outstandingly consistent from the morning into the evening.The colorful Mediterranean salad, featuring romaine lettuce, chicken breast, tabouli, feta, olives, roasted red peppers and red wine vinaigrette, upon first sight, looks like the best dish on earth and delivers upon its promise…
The turkey panini and cheddar broccoli soup make a nice soup and sandwich pairing…
Amply-sized fresh breakfast sandwiches, homemade muffins, croissants and waffles go well beyond the fast-food norm (like a warm Nutella waffle topped with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and sliced almonds).
The imported Italian pastries are as good as anything you’d find in the North End of Boston. Cases-in-point: the tiramisu, cannolis and red velvet cake.
Speaking of the North End of Boston, Red Cherry is now featuring cakes from the legendary Modern Pastry. This new addition, alone, is worth visiting Red Cherry, as Modern Pastry is known by locals as one of the gold standards for bakeries in the Boston area. Red Cherry also offer 16 flavors of Richardson’s Ice Cream — one of the best locally-made ice creams in New England.
On grand opening night, the kids showed great enthusiasm about what was on display in the cases (for the record: the adults did, too). Also, Red Cherry is offering Richardson’s Ice Cream — one of the best locally-made ice creams in New England!
Of course, the locally-roasted organic coffees, as well as a nice selection of teas, obviously serve as coffee shop staples, but there’s clearly more to that foundation. Red Cherry comes across like an ideal place to convene with friends and family, escape the stresses of work and ever-worsening suburban Boston traffic, and to build a relationship with a family that genuinely likes Walpole and its people.
Red Cherry Cafe features comfy couches, ample window and dining area seats, a nice rustic wooden wall where the frozen yogurt machines once stood, pleasant ambient lighting, a wide-screen television, flower beds lining the exterior and a sunny, pleasant outdoor patio area.
An innate local, community feel keeps this vibrant business from being just another sterile, generic “We’re cooler than you” bakery cafe/coffee shop that claims superiority over its customers. Red Cherry Cafe, on the other hand, regards everyone as “cool” — from newborns to the elderly.
“It will be nice to have a place that all locals can enjoy and call their own,” said Evelynn.
Red Cherry Cafe is located at 1049 Main St. at the corner of Front St., in Walpole, Mass. Tel. (508) 921-3196. Walpole is located about 18 miles southwest of Boston.