Looking for a cozy bistro with small romantic tables, farm fresh food and inventive cocktails where you can hear jazz on a Saturday night? Then head down to Chappaqua Station, opened by restaurateurs and jazz aficionados Erin and Peter Chase last year.
Like me, you may be surprised to learn that the place many see as the newest breakfast and coffee spot in town takes on a totally different persona at night, drawing on prime local talent as well as top musicians from Harlem and other parts of the city.
Wander in nearly any Saturday night at 7 p.m. when the lights go down low, replaced by the warm glow of candles and tiny twinkle lights on the ceiling, and hear the sultry tones of the latest jazz ensemble. Whether you are a jazz lover or simply a romantic, it’s the perfect date night venue.
The Chases transformed the timeworn 1902 Chappaqua train station into a beautiful eatery, restoring the old scarred interior so that the wooden walls, benches, and ceiling gleam much as they must have at the turn of the last century. The benches around the perimeter still serve as some seating and the former ticket office has become a full-service bar, with light from the train platform streaming in behind, adding to the atmosphere.
And that beauty is more than skin deep. “We built out the space with music in mind,” says Erin Chase, installing a mixing board and speakers “perfectly equalized for jazz.”
Hiroshi Yamazaki, whose Hiroshi Yamazaki Trio performed the night my husband and I discovered this charming jazz venue, confirmed that their efforts have paid off, citing the excellent acoustics as one of the reasons he enjoys playing there. Yamazaki, a classically trained pianist who studied jazz in New York as well as his native Japan, has performed all over the world, as have his bandmates bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Tony Jefferson.
There’s a $10 per person cover charge for tables (no cover at the bar, which is first come first served), with tickets available via www.eventbrite.com or at the door. Reservations are suggested.
Upcoming talent in December includes the Daniel Lauter Jazz Quartet who will play at a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity “Homes for the Holidays” on Dec. 3, 7-10 p.m. to raise money for four homes being built in New Castle. Tickets are priced between $50-500. Dec. 10, Latin percussionists Emedin Rivera and Ken Kresge Quartet. On Dec. 17, Erik Lawrence and Mala Waldron Quartet. See www.chappaquastation.com for additional events.
Marianne A. Campolongo is a professional photographer, freelance writer and jazz lover who lives in Chappaqua. Early on in their life together, she and her husband Rob used to haunt The Blue Note, The Village Gate, and other notable jazz venues, and they are both thrilled to live so close to this little gem.