Aunt Dee was in town from San Diego for a few days, on her first visit to New England. After sunny days spent seeing a Newport mansion, strolling along the Cliff Walk, imagining Rocky Point Park in its glory days, and taking in a game at Fenway, a little rain did fall, but no enough to dampen our spirits. It was the perfect day to conclude her visit with a trip to her namesake cafe and “cupcakery,” Sweet Dee’s on Music Lane in Apponaug.
An inviting patio beckoned us, but the raindrops hurried us inside the little building with window boxes, where white curtains trimmed with tiny black pom poms framed the windows, and a white electric fireplace waited to be turned on.
The charming little place is spic and span with a country French vibe, plenty of black and white upholstery and shiny mid century design lights and wall fixtures. Glass domed pedestal dishes tempt you as you enter, overflowing with brightly frosted cookies in cellophane, festooned with ribbons and piled high.
What began as a short side trip for a cup of coffee and a delicacy of white flour and sugar, turned into a second breakfast once we saw the menu offerings. It was hard to resist the avocado toast with tomato, or the smoked salmon topped with slivers of red onion and capers, both on toasted French bread and accompanied by a salad of mixed greens in a light lemony vinaigrette. Aunt Dee and I chose those, while my husband tried a custom breakfast sandwich, made with his choice of bread, cheese, and egg style. With so many options, he let our waitress decide.
Coffees were served in tall white mugs with a side of milk presented in a miniature milk bottle. My soda arrived in a Mason jar and an eco-friendly paper straw. On the weekends, our server explained, full breakfasts include lemon blueberry ricotta pancakes and chocolate chip waffles among their specials.
After thoroughly enjoying the chef’s generous portions, we examined the gold-framed black and white photographs which adorned one wall. They were a montage of bakery items, a middle aged couple in clothes from another decade, and a dog of indeterminate breeding, wearing a leopard bandana.
Owner and baker Alicia Calci was happy to meet Aunt Dee and with a smile, motioned to her employees and patrons, mostly family members. In their first two months they’ve enjoyed a brisk business, even preparing lunch for Mayor Solomon in the shadow of City Hall.
Surely, Dee of Sweet Dee’s was the Alicia’s ancestor in the photograph, beside her husband, I suggested. Aunt Dee’s namesake turned out to be the boxer and Boston terrier mix, Alicia’s rescue dog from The Potter League near Middletown.
The only booth in the restaurant had been lovingly restored, its former home being Alicia’s grandparents’ restaurant, The Riviera on Elmwood Avenue in Cranston. Grandma and Grandpa smile down from their photograph on the wall upon this third generation restaurant owner.
Sweet Dee’s is located at 10 Music Lane in Warwick. It is open mornings and afternoons every day except Mondays.