This isn't Chef Cesar Sotomayor's first go-around in Ridgewood – but it's the first time he's had a restaurant to call his own.
Well-versed in French cuisine, Sotomayor formerly led the kitchen at and also worked in the kitchen of Michael . Now he's realizing his dream of owning his own restaurant, Cafe 37, in the space that on S. Broad St.
Depending on when he gets the go-ahead from the village after required inspections, he thinks he'll be open in a three-to-four weeks.
"Over the years I have developed a style of cuisine which is pretty modern because of the way it's presented," the energetic, young chef and father of two, said Sunday. "It's fine dining but it's unique and simple – very well presented."
Sotomayor, a Hawthorne resident, said he'll be serving up mahi mahi, sea bass, filet mignon, lobster, shrimp and tuna. Slicing into some California flair, the chef will have a black-pepper seared tuna burger, open faced sandwiches called tartines and savory soups for lunch specials to round out the menu.
"We'll be making our own desserts, everything from scratch. Everything is made in house," he added. Prices will be competitive, most around $20 to $30 for entrees, he noted.
Taking Patch on a brief tour of his newly renovated sunny space, Sotomayor said the restaurant – newly painted with dark wood and walls painted a golden hue – will hold about 15 tables.
Cafe 37 will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5:00 to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays, remaining open later on weekends. Sotomayor hasn't decided if he'll be open on Sundays.
"I'm here to serve the town, to serve the people and do my best," he said. "This is my passion."
Cafe 37 is located at 37 S. Broad St.