On a hazy June morning, Andrew and Chris Crocco sit with Bill Santoro under an umbrella as traffic hums past on Teller Ave. The brothers and their longtime friend recently opened The Beacon Daily, a café serving “fine food, beer, coffee, and pie.”
The three owners have intentionally angled their restaurant to be local-friendly: from its prices, to its location off Main Street, to its name. “We want this to be a neighborhood spot,” explains Andrew. While he’s talking, a young couple and their son meander over to the table from a house across the street. Chris greets them and chats about home renovations, business trips, and the special that day: a vegan Bahn mi.
When Stock Up, the popular sandwich spot, closed its doors in December 2018, the Croccos, who own the building, had to decide how to fill the space. “We all talked about doing something like this together,” says Chris. “We wanted to produce something that was chef-driven, had high-quality products, something that could be done very quickly, and that could be done at an affordable price.”
But the decision to open a restaurant of their own wasn’t an easy one. All three men have full-time jobs: Chris designs restaurants and airports; Andrew works as a vice president at Morgan Stanley; and Bill works at Mill House Brewing Company with Executive Chef Danny Crocco — Chris and Andrew’s brother, and a consultant for The Beacon Daily (“It’s a family affair,” Chris smirks).
At the table, the trio explain how their collective talents form a whole with the easy banter of childhood friends.
“We have a real Captain America thing — wait no, what is it called?” Andrew says.
“Captain Beacon Daily,” Bill jokes.
“Captain Universe?” Chris suggests.
Andrew nods. “Each little part that we bring makes it less of —”
“Captain Planet,” Chris corrects himself.
“— less of a burden on one single person,” says Bill.
While the neighborhood has surely welcomed the new business, the food transcends casual cooking. Under the stewardship of Santoro and Danny Crocco, the kitchen team makes a tremendous number of items from scratch.
Homemade English muffins take egg sandwiches to the next level, as does house-made bacon, sausage, and — in a godsend for Jersey transplants — pork roll. Salads aren’t an afterthought with distinct choices like Burrata Goddess combining spring vegetables with fresh mozzarella and decadent Green Goddess ranch dressing. Under Santoro’s influence, lunch components like sausage, brisket, and pastrami get smoked on site. Falafel and veggie burgers are homemade, too.
Suckers for sweets will find it hard to resist the delectable dessert menu as well, with options like strawberry rhubarb pie, jumbo Rice Krispy treats, and raspberry lemonade macarons. The Dumpster Cookie, made with Ritz crackers, peanuts, strawberry Cheerios, butterscotch, and rainbow chips, is one of those treats you just have to eat to believe.
Since Stock Up closed, the interior of the restaurant has been completely reimagined. A long, sleek countertop offers diner-style seating and a view of the open kitchen. Outdoor tables are available in front of the restaurant as well as on the back patio. And details like electrical outlets built into booths don’t just show the owners’ commitment to creating a neighborhood hangout; they also reveal their expertise in the industry.
It’s a collective dream-turned-reality for the childhood friends, and they pass credit for their new endeavor around the table like a Thanksgiving platter. They refer to themselves as co-owners, but when asked if they have official titles, Chris doesn’t miss a beat: “Yeah — Moe, Larry, and Curly.”
29 Teller Ave, Beacon