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New café is ripe for business

MILLBROOK — Best Creations Bakery, run by popular dough master Beth Perry, has been a staple in Millbrook for three years. However, when business started to slow down due to the economy, Perry targeted the farmers markets, leaving little time to run her shop in Millbrook. In April Perry teamed with Christian Steiner, who opened the Rusty Tomato, a snack shop that has given the shop a whole new flavor. The Rusty Tomato Snack Shop and Best Creations Bakery share the same building and operate together. The Rusty Tomato and Best Creations Bakery is located at 134 Church St. Although small, the snack bar is full of personality, decorated with vintage toys from the 1970s, video games and a playful atmosphere that appeals to children while making adults reminisce about their childhood when Coca-Cola was served in a bottle and cost 50 cents. “It’s pretty much my personality coming out in a store,” said Steiner. “I have all my things that I have been saving over the years. I have video games there for the kids and then adults will be like, ‘Oh, I remember this.’ I always said I wanted it to be a cross between a barbecue joint and a cracker barrel — a fun place. It’s constantly evolving, but that was kind of the basic idea, to just be myself and let it come out in the shop. And people love it.”The Rusty Tomato has a variety of items on the menu: tartines, tacos, chili and smoothies, all for less than $5. Steiner said that in the summer the tacos were very popular items on the menu, however, now customers have gravitated toward the soups. The Rusty Tomato also offers breakfast sandwiches for the early crowd and he is offering premade dinners to those looking for food later in the day. “I close at 4:30 to 5 p.m. I am starting to do dinners like chicken lasagna, people loved that, and it’s going to be a regular item,” said Steiner. “I was doing rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. Now I am going to do quiches and you can get a half a quiche or a whole quiche. I kind of have to adapt to what the people need and right now for me to keep it going I need to do the premade dinners, more or less. You can even have that for lunch.”Steiner originally wanted to open a barbecue joint, however the location was too small. But Steiner does offer pulled pork and beer-can chicken by the pound, chili and ribs. He said that he would like to do catering for barbecues because that is something he enjoys. Steiner is a Millbrook native and attended the Millbrook Central School District. He worked as a sous chef at the Millbrook Café for four years and also worked there when he was a student at Millbrook High School. He also has worked as a mechanic and lived in south Florida for a period of time. Steiner said that living down south influenced his cooking as he developed an appreciation for Latin flavors. When his children were born he decided to return to Millbrook to give them the same education he received at the Millbrook Central School District.“I am not trained as a cook or anything. I am just a cook from cooking at home,” Steiner said. “My new catch phrase is ‘cuisine undefined,’ because I don’t like to be defined or work by other people’s rules. I don’t use recipes. I just wing it and it comes out well, because the people like it.”The Rusty Tomato is open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; the menu is available at www.rustytomatobbq.com. “I am just trying to make something happen and get a name for myself and it’s working out great,” said Steiner. “Come in to see the place. A lot of people walk by but they don’t know what it is. Until you walk in you don’t realize it’s a fun, relaxing place and that it’s a snack bar, along with Beth’s baked goods on top of it, so there is a lot of good stuff in one place.”

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