Cafeneo Brings a Taste of Greece to Newark’s Brunch Scene

The newly opened Cafeneo provides a homey atmosphere, Greek-fusion lunch menu and Greek coffee heated in hot sand.

Tony Fessaras has always been known as the kind of person to shake things up.

He certainly lived up to that reputation when he left the pest control business to open his own cafe in Newark.

“Looking at my grandmother’s photo album, I found out that my grandfather owned a coffee shop,” Fessaras recalls.

- Advertisement -

With a vision to carry on his grandfather’s legacy, Fessaras began to conceptualize what is now Cafeneo, located on Newark’s South Main Street. The cozy but modern cafe strays away from the typical bright blue and white that you may expect to accompany the Greek-inspired menu. Instead, going with a sleek and homey design that is reflective of Fessaras’s vision for the cafe itself — a place where people can experience the flavors and spirit of the Mediterranean while still feeling at home.

Opening in a college town — specifically Newark — means a diverse clientele of students from across the world and young people eager for new culinary experiences.

The Menu

“Originally, we had just drinks and pastries,” Fessaras says. Eventually, the menu grew to include Mediterranean-fusion lunch options like a Mediterranean sandwich made with turkey, salami, mozzarella, basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. Savory pastries like spanakopita — a Greek spinach pie — also grace the menu alongside typical American breakfast sandwiches and fusion desserts like baklava cheesecake and apple coffee cake.

Fessaras wanted to make sure he was offering an authentic representation of the culture. A large part of this mission is found in the traditional Greek coffee served at Cafeneo, which is heated in a pit of hot sand.

- Partner Content -

Greek coffee relies on the same process as Turkish or Middle Eastern coffee and starts with an extremely fine grind — finer than espresso.

“We’re the only ones in the area to produce Greek coffee the old-fashioned way,” Fessaras adds.

Along with Greek coffee, patrons can expect to find a typical American or Italian cafe menu. Espresso-based drinks like lattes are available with a variety of flavors, including seasonal holiday options like toasted marshmallow, gingerbread and peppermint.

@delawaretodaymagazine Looking for a traditional greek/middle eastern coffee in Delaware? Cafeneo has you covered! #delaware #greekcoffee #fyp #coffee ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Preserving a Legacy

It’s safe to say Tony Fessaras reinvigorated the legacy of his coffee shop-owning grandfather. It’s clear that family is an important part of Cafeneo, with family recipes included on the menu and photos from the owner’s grandmother’s album on the walls.

- Advertisement -

For Fessaras, fostering a sense of community extends not just to patrons, but also to staff.

Old family photos hang on the walls of the cafe.

“I never call them an ’employee.’ They’re all ‘coworkers,'” he explains. True to his reputation for being unconventional, Fessaras’s vision includes revolutionizing the way people see food-service jobs. It’s a lofty goal, but he is up to the task.

“I always heard that this wasn’t a career. I hope someday being a barista won’t be seen as a ‘temporary job.’ It will be a career.” He hopes to branch out in the future and offer his full-time staff benefits like insurance and 401(k) options. Some would consider this an attempt to “reinvent the wheel,” but the Wilmington University graduate is hopeful his business management savvy and work ethic will guide him to success.

“If you have enough heart, you can really do anything,” he says.

Opening a unique brick-and-mortar business at 28 is certainly a good start. Newark residents are already flocking to the cafe to experience the ambience and flavors of modern Greek fusion cuisine.

Cafeneo | 139 South Main Street Suite 101, Newark | 364-3451

Related: Include kaffé KARMA in Your Holiday Plans in Delaware

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.