Book Trader Café stacks more than 16,000 titles of gently used books on its shelves, combined with second-hand DVDs and CDs that transform the inventory into multimedia brain food. Literary works and academic books on art, architecture, and paper towels line the store, their spines inviting readers to sink into their vivid and educational worlds. A cult-fiction section assembles an apocrypha of fringe scribes, photography books tempt eyes with their luscious pages, and a children's-book section tempts kids to burrow into a fort of words. Most titles average $4.95, and staff carefully curates each one to ensure a quality recycled collection sans fraying bindings or torn pages. While Book Trader Café's inventory rotates frequently, the online store lists troves of its selections and lets bibliophiles reserve books by phone. With new old books in hand, patrons can stroll over to the café to enjoy them and further sate their appetites for letters by reading the menu.
Ever since Liberato and Guiseppina Dell’Amura opened their small Wooster Street bakery in New Haven’s Little Italy in 1922, the business has stayed in the family. Son and daughter Fortunato and Mae—followed by granddaughters Jo-Ann, Dolores, Marie, and Leona and great grandson Salvatore—have all taken on the family tradition of baking cookies, biscotti, and traditional Italian pastries daily.
In-store cases and trays are filled with traditional pastries such as cannoli, bigne donuts, and éclairs. The team can also wrap, box, and ship assortments of 24 types of Italian cookies and nine flavors of biscotti, as well as treats such as chocolate-dipped caramel apples, pretzels, and marshmallow pops. The team also hand-decorates sugar cookies in shapes such as shirts, shoes, and crowns in case an emperor is celebrating the first time he wore clothes.
It takes but fresh fruit and a bit of ice to make many of Rita?s of West Haven signature treats, whose ingredients are made daily. More than 50 rotating flavors?such as Swedish Fish and mango peach?come in standard and sugar-free varieties to cool down most any craving. Customers can order their ices straight up or blend or layer them with decadent frozen custard in seven flavors, such as strawberry, coffee, and light vanilla. The custards come Italian ice-free as well, spiraled into cones or cups with sprinkles and hot fudge or blended with candy mix-ins.
When not serving the masses, Rita?s tends to the needs of local groups and organizations with fundraising opportunities. Sports teams and schools can organize money-raising ?scoop nights,? sell quarts of custard around town, or purchase gift cards.