Brews n Bytes Café & Eatery has not had an easy time of it over the past few years. The little sign from the outside announces that it is a “bastion of music, arts & free speech.” They might want to add a parenthetical title of “when the flooding waters of the nearby Susquehanna cut us a break.” Danville frequently floods and Brews n Bytes is doing its best to, yet again, rise phoenix-like out of what had been a sopping mess on Lower Mulberry Street.
The co-owner, Jason Leonardo Rafael Perez-Dieppa, is gregarious and enthusiastic about his business. Although I could not tell you what the place was like before the multiple times it had been flooded, he is applying a lot of love and elbow grease into what is shaping up to be a lovely little café. From what I can derive from their FaceBook history, it was a favorite (and seems to be again) drawing performers and a regular coffeehouse kind of crowd.
From a cultural standpoint, coffeehouses serve largely as centers of social interaction, Brews n Bytes seems to be just that kind of place. I do ask why I, as an introvert, find myself popping into places where many congregate to commune and chat. It is clear that the vegetarian food options had been calling me for some months and for those who like catching up on the local scene, my telling of the social aspect will be an added enhancement.
Chef Lisa, co-owner, has crafted yet another exciting menu with many vegetarian and vegan options. Between Jim and myself, we ordered the Veggie Chili and the Putini Panini (vegan). Above and beyond that, when we visited in the very last days of 2011, the menu then included a lot of vegan wraps like a Veggie Burger in strips or the Portobella Lagosi. Next time I think I will order a Humana Humana Hummus.
They had just re-opened and were still pulling together a few things like the espresso area but that wasn’t stopping local performers from already booking gigs. It was a bit drafty because of some final repairs that were being made but we had a good time knowing that when we next visited it would be even more attractive than it already was. The brightly colored walls, cozy furniture and temporarily quiet musical equipment all radiated a place that was filled with joy.
Jim said his coffee was “really good” as we sat enjoying a jazzy Pandora Radio station at one of the dozen little tables in the back dining area. We were glad to sit and enjoy our surroundings at leisure; parking is cheap on the one-way Mulberry Street at >10 for 30 minutes. Families and veggie folks of all ages will feel comfortable and welcome and I have been eager to write this glowing review since December 2011.
The Vegan Putini Panini was served halved on a super-fresh, thyme seasoned 6″ panini. It was pleasantly warm and crammed with hummus and oodles of soft grilled vegetables. Not just a variety of flavors and textures had been paid attention to, Chef Lisa obviously considered color and chose carrots, zucchini, red onions, mushrooms and red peppers to fill our sandwich. A festive little portion of creamy corn and black bean salad dressed up the plate and added a gentle south-western flavor to the meal.
The Veggie Chili was served with sour cream and cheese on the side and was wisely spiced mild/medium for the Pennsyltucky palette. It was thick with TVP, black and kidney beans, onions, red and green peppers. Very hearty on such a chilling day, I appreciated that it came out piping hot.
Not far off Interstate 80’s Danville exit, this is a spot all Pennsyltucky veggie travelers should know about. They are open Tues-Sat 10:30 AM to 9 PM and you might want to check the Webpage or FaceBook to see if there is a band playing. Brews n Bytes boasts the most extensive and unique fusion/eclectic vegetarian (seafood too) menu within 100 miles and it’s true. You can enjoy a vegan meal, great coffee and take advantage of the Wifi in a warm and hospitable atmosphere. Something tells me with Brews n Bytes, the best is yet to come.