When Larry Lachman bought the Woodmere-based Chateau Coffee Shop from his cousin almost eight years ago, the diner was only serving breakfast and lunch and did not provide delivery service.
Lachman, an East Meadow resident, decided to extend the hours from 3:30 p.m. during the week and 3 p.m. on Saturdays to 8 p.m. after Hurricane Sandy struck. “Everyone needed a place to eat and then we decided to make those hours permanent,” he said. “We offer a mix of steak, fish and comfort foods. I know the neighborhood and I know what they want.”
Chateau Coffee Shop, sandwiched between the Chateau East and West co-op apartment buildings, has been open for business since 1958 when it was located two stores down in the same commercial strip on Railroad Avenue, across from the Woodmere train station. Ten years later, Lachman’s cousin, Norman Negrin, decided to move it to its current location as it had outgrown the previous storefront.
Being in the food business all his life, Lachman said enjoys the satisfaction he feels. “There’s a lot of gratification when people enjoy their meals,” he said. “I also love when the kids come in from school.”
Some of Chateau’s best sellers are their burgers, roast turkey dinner, milk shakes and the mish, a chopped salad that, according to Lachman, originated at the coffee shop. “People know this place all over the world,” he said.
Judy Margolis, a 10-year Woodmere resident, enjoyed a Caesar salad at Chateau’s counter last Wednesday night and calls herself a regular customer. “I found out about this place when I moved here,” she said. “There’s good food and a friendly atmosphere.”
Hewlett Neck residents Robin and Jeff Gittleson work nearby and call the restaurant a staple in the community. “We’ve been coming here forever,” Robin said. “There’s delicious food, nice people, its clean and consistently great; it’s better than your mother’s kitchen. We were excited to hear they extended their hours.”
Lachman’s wife, Sandy, helps out at Chateau, and though she’s never been in the food service business, she looks forward to interacting with the customers. “We have college kids who come straight here from the airport when they come back home,” she said. “People come from all over for our mish and if we could ship them, we would. Everything we have is really good.”
Rhonnie and Bob Fischman of Woodmere said the Chateau’s mish, tuna fish and French toast are their favorites. “The tuna fish is the best in the world; it’s extraordinary,” Rhonnie said. “They know us here and it’s a homey, ‘Cheers’ kind of place without the booze.”
In the future, Lachman would like his coffee shop to continue to thrive. “I intend to be here a long time,” he said. “Year after year it’s only gotten better.”