SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. — Cindy Bassano opened a new cheesecake cafe in the midst of a pandemic.
Yes, she knows it sounds crazy.
"It's definitely been a challenge," Bassano smiles. "And I'm exhausted. But I'm happy, too. And the people here have been amazing."
Bassano Cheesecake Cafe sits on a cozy corner in downtown Safety Harbor. It's been open about a month.
In some respects, the timing is just right.
"We want people to come in here, put their phones away, disconnect and reconnect," Bassano says. "Talk to each other. Play a game. Be calm and relax"
Bassano Cheesecake is a family business.
The origin story goes something like this. Cindy and husband Tom wanted really good cheesecake. But they just weren't finding any. So they made their own, used old Aunt Clara's recipe.
These cheesecakes were good, really good.
Cindy and Tom started selling them. They rented space in a commercial kitchen. Their reputation grew. Sales boomed.
So the couple decided to open a brick-and-mortar shop, designed with a funky steam-punk vibe by Jay Rosenberg.
It's the perfect place to sell their 20 different kinds of small-batch cheesecakes, Joffrey's Coffee, plus delicious soups and breakfast sandwiches.
"With everything's that going on, people need comfort food," says Bassano.
Comforting the community goes beyond good food.
Bassano Cheesecake Cafe will donate a percentage of proceeds each month to a different charity. In August, they will help the Grammatica Family Foundation.