Prelim season getting you down? Start your morning off with something sweet yet healthy from Chatty Cathy! The charming cafe is located in Collegetown on Eddy Street and specializes in coffee, tea, freshly pressed juices and healthy food bowls. Since it’s opening in March of 2017, students have raved about this juice joint for its health-infused products.
I was lucky enough to speak with the owner herself to gain insight on the true motivations behind opening the shop, and of course learn a little bit more about their delicious acai and yogurt parfait bowls. The owner, Milly, was extremely kind to take the time to speak to me about her cafe. She expressed to me that she and her husband have always been passionate about healthy eating, which she felt was lacking in Collegetown. Therefore, they took advantage of this opportunity and opened Chatty Cathy to bring healthy products to busy college students always on the go. They are driven by the quality of their products and always use the freshest ingredients and organic fruits; they never microwave, fry or freeze any of their products to ensure the highest quality for their customers. Milly and her husband are old pros when it comes to running a business, since they are also the owners of Thompson and Bleeker in the Commons and Ithaca Wine and Spirits, located right next to Chatty Cathy on Eddy Street.
The first question that popped into my mind when talking to Milly was where she got the inspiration for the cafe’s catchy name. She explained to me that the store is actually named after her mother-in-law, Cathy, and stands as a running joke between her and her family since the actual Cathy is not much of a talker. Apart from this dedication, she thought that the name would work in parallel with the bright and cheery social environment of a buzzing coffee shop. In her mind, this environment will turn everyone into a ‘Chatty Cathy’ as they catch up with friends over a cup of coffee.
As soon as I entered the cafe, I was immediately drawn to Chatty Cathy’s menu. Beside the cheerful, striped wallpaper, menu items written in eloquent handwriting caught my eye. I quickly learned that the decadent bowls are inspired by pop culture. As a result, when deciding what to order, you may be debating between the “Bad and Boujee”, “Money Moves” or the “Par-Yay.” For Milly, it’s all about customer experience. She hopes that these names will lift customer’s spirits, make them smile or laugh and most importantly, make the bowl memorable. What excited me most was that some of these names were inspired by the Cornell Fashion Collective as well. Milly expressed that she cherishes her relationship with several members in CFC who are frequent customers, and has dedicated products names to them based on their suggestions. These recommendations include two products on the menu: the “Breakfast at Tiffany” bowl and the “Dior Feel Good” smoothie. Clearly, Chatty Cathy truly cares about their customers.
Now, without further ado, let’s get to the food. Chatty Cathy is known for their acai bowls, which are blended with organic, fresh fruit and almond milk to reach the perfect consistency. The current customer favorite is the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which is topped with blueberry, banana, coconut, almond butter, chocolate chips and granola. The menu offers variety, and each of the acai bowls (which run for $9.99) can be swapped out for a Greek yogurt or oatmeal base for $6.99 instead.. If you’re not in the mood for acai but were a fan of the mouthwatering caramel apples at Apple Fest, I would highly recommend the Candy Apple Bowl with vanilla Greek yogurt. With fall in the air, this bowl is perfect for a fellow sweet tooth like myself. Topped with freshly sliced apples, raisins, granola and a sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzled with the sweet taste of caramel for it’s final touch, who wouldn’t be satisfied? Apart from health bowls, their expansive menu offers something for everyone. Customers can get protein infused smoothies, organic matcha tea, freshly pressed juice (I recommend the“Green Goddess”) or essentially any coffee drink they create: an iced coffee on the go or a comforting caramel macchiato.
Chatty Cathy also offers a taste you can trust since each of the recipes were brought to the store from trial and error at Milly’s own home. Prior to opening in 2017, Milly and her husband stocked up on the freshest fruits and vegetables to play around with for different bases and find what tastes best. They personally came up with each of the menu’s unique concoctions as opposed to copying other models. Due to the cafe’s success, they plan on expanding their kitchen this year to incorporate more savory options. They hope to soon add avocado toast on the menu, which would be a perfect addition to pair with the satisfying smoothies.
All in all, if you’re looking for something that not only tastes good, but also makes you feel good, I highly recommend trying Chatty Cathy between classes or on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. What makes Chatty Cathy unique to Collegetown is not only their products, but also its value to customer experience. The staff is very friendly, welcoming you in with a cheerful smile, and the overall environment is extremely homey. As winter solemnly approaches and the Ithaca skies turn bleak, students can walk into the cafe and automatically feel relaxed with the natural greenery, bright orange walls and fun decorations and frames. In addition, as a nurse, Milly has always been one to care for others and translates this tenderness in hospitality towards her customers. When customers walk in and are feeling under the weather, she personally attends to them by creating a unique concoction of freshly pressed juice to satisfy their health needs. This is customer service that you won’t find anywhere else.
Serves: Freshly-pressed juices, smoothies, coffee, tea, health bowls
Vibe: Casual, cheerful
Overall: ★★★★ ½