As I took the escalator down into the Danish-modern (and bright and airy) new Barnes & Noble concept store in Scarsdale the other day, I had one thought: This is not your run-of-the-mill corporate book shop. Stop for a latte at the chic white-tiled circular cafe. Or grab a glass of wine. Or a craft beer. Open your laptop at the long, wooden communal table; each seat has an individual plug. Or sink into one of the navy leather loungers positioned near rows of hanging succulent plants and catch up with a friend.
Whatever you do, plan to kick back and relax. And eat. Kitchen, the full-service restaurant adjacent to the cafe, offers the same menu from 11am to 10pm daily (11pm on Friday and Saturday). Think: guacamole as an app, chopped vegetable salad to share, and then either the mushroom ragu with polenta, brisket burger, or brick chicken for dinner. (The brisket burger was dressed with a spicy aioli that had my husband and I fighting over the final few bites; the meatballs on the polenta, however, were like hockey pucks).
The burrata is flown in from Florence daily; the staff picks it up at JFK. For $10, kids can order grilled cheese, chicken tenders or spaghetti and meatballs; instead of crayons, they’re handed Etch-a-Sketches. On a sunny day, the tables in Kitchen bask in natural light, thanks to expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that create a wall of windows overlooking a stone patio with fire pit. It’s lit nightly at dark.
Oh right. This is a bookstore. Yes, there are books. Artfully arranged on gray-toned shelves, the cookbook section alone had me swooning — and I’m a fiction lover. The children’s section is teeming with finds: Teens get their own section of novels, and there are shelves and shelves of books for middle readers. Little ones will love the Lego table; the picture book selection, while smallish compared to other large bookstores, is well-edited with both classics and new, trendy titles.
Today, Friday, Dec. 2, is the official grand opening, and at 10am, visitors can be part of the celebration with balloon artists, bocce ball demonstrations, live music and face painting. At 10:30am, kids can meet storybook character, Biscuit, local author Alyssa Capucilli’s lovable fictional yellow dog, who is the star of her popular series. At 11am, she’ll be on hand to read. Best of all, tonight at 7pm, kids are invited in to the store in their pajamas for a Polar Express Pajama Storytime; coloring and activities to follow the story, including letters to Santa. Click here for their full list of events.
Barnes and Noble, Vernon Hills Shopping Center, 680 Post Road, Scarsdale