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The Cafe brings smiles, art and food to Long Beach

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Long Beach’s West End offers a wide variety of restaurants and entertainment, but The Cafe, at 780 W. Beech St., is bringing a blend of music, art and colorful dishes to the city’s restaurant scene.

The Cafe, formerly Island Thyme, opened in January, just a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic hit. However, owners Candy McLaughlin, Paul Leone, Paul Leone Jr. and Dennis Sneden have worked through the pandemic to try to gain a foothold in the West End.

Using different skill sets, the owners said they envisioned creating an environment where the community can gather and share experiences.

“Our vision was to make it a community based restaurant, where the community can be part of it,” Sneden, former Huntington Chamber of Commerce President, said. “When you have the energy of the residents and you have the energy of the kids and the art, it’s pretty much a win-win and that has always been my philosophy.”

The establishment offers a diverse healthy menu, ranging from burgers, salads, smoothies and other options like acai bowls and grilled salmon. Sneden said they plan on adding and experimenting with the menu in the upcoming months. Head Chef Rich Viscecchia, who also worked for their predecessors at Island Thyme, runs the kitchen and has brought many of the old recipes to the new menu.

As for music and entertainment, McLaughlin, a singer and former American Idol contestant, said the establishment has partnered with Ben Noir Music School to help showcase local artists, including many talented children. The owners stressed that they wanted to have local artists perform and showcase their work, whether it be painting or music.

“My main goal was to have delicious food and to have a place where artists can perform,” McLaughlin said. “My vision is to make this like a music cafe.”

Whether you want to come in for a quick cup of coffee or sit down and enjoy the paintings on the walls and the jovial environment, the owners stressed that they want to make the cafe a place for everyone. They also thanked the community for their support and loyalty.

“[The Long Beach community] has been great,” Sneden said. “We’ve really engaged with them… and they’ve been very supportive to us.”

The Cafe is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers pick up, take out as well as outdoor seating. For more information and events, visit cafelbny.com or on social media at thecafelbny.