Our homemade food is prepared with the best ingredients and a little creativity by a loving kitchen.
It is a refreshing take on mom's recipes and is delivered to you here just the same, always with a smile and an encouragement to relax.
Penelope opened its doors in 2003 to a warm and welcoming neighborhood. It was created by Jennifer Potenza and was built with love and a ton of patience by her partner, Michael Tsoumpas.
Penelope became a patchwork quilt of all of the places Jen has had the pleasure of working since 13 years old. She has bussed clam shacks in Cape Cod, had early morning flour fights at a bakery in Montana, made deli sandwiches in between surf in Montauk, barista’d a neighborhood of coffee drinks in between roller skating at the Roxy in Chelsea. Has tattooed burns from a west village kitchen, stained shirts from cocktail nights in the east village, learned mom and pop wines from a favorite Italian winebar, and has managed a tiny townee coffee shop in Massachusetts. Wherever the sun was shining and unicorns were basking was where you could find her. The food industry afforded her a wanderlust life full of curiousness, creativity and always adventure.
Along the way, in 2004, an innocent and trusting young boy named Lukus Hasenstab from Wisconsin wandered into Penelope for a sandwich and an away from it all. After becoming a beloved regular customer and after he no longer had any money to pay for his lunches, he joined our staff. First, as a server, then as a baker, (baking his Grandmother’s ridiculously tasty cookies) then as an underpaid and overworked manager, and now 138 years later, as a well earned operating partner and owner. Lukus is a natural leader and has brought a high level of tech gadgetry, organization, humor and friendship to our quilt which has become invaluable. Although his dedication to Penelope has held him back from becoming a famous actor and film maker, (ask to see “Penelope Cribs”) it is that very sacrifice which is the reason Penelope thrives with positivity and good health today.
Rain Moises, our assistant GM, who still has no idea she bought a one-way ticket to Penelope, is working on a self -help book titled, “Sit Down, You Don’t Know What Work Ethic Really Means”. She is forced to take vacation days as she is one of the hardest working people with the best dispositions you will ever meet. Adored by our staff and customers, she is the water beneath our turtle’s webby feet. Take a moment of silence when you meet her, you are in the presence of greatness.
Penelope’s Chef in Chief is Matthew “Seabiscuit” O’loughlin. He hails from the Island of Rhode and comes to work each day like a rhinestone cowboy ready, willing and able to throw down any ticket that gets in his way. His knack for cooking and management are not to be messed with. (However, feel free to challenge him to a beer and a game of 3 card monte, we dare you). Matt is always bringing innovative ideas and forward thinking to our team, without him our motor would not run as smooth as it does.
Allison “git er done” Garskof has been with Penelope since 2004 and has signed on as a permanent life coach for Jenny and the turtle, to whom her love, creativity and dance moves are legendary. Please visit her in her upstate base and our sister restaurant, Shindig in Woodstock, NY, where you will be greeted by her sweet smile and gracious hospitality as she gets you drunk off your rocker from her genius soju cocktails.
Over the years, the love that has been poured into Penelope like a glittery overspill has been returned in so many different ways. From our staff members who have come and stayed (and stayed) that have added so much sparkle to our fabric, to the neighborhood that has always been supportive and generous with so many regulars we know by name. We are humble and grateful that the sun is still shining on Penelope after 13 strong years!
Penelope is our turtle and is 19 years old. Seen by appointment only.