Sometime in the beginning of April is National Coffee Cake Day, but I don’t need a special day to celebrate, because I know where to find the best. It is—believe it or not—at R&S Meat Market in Huntington Village.
Keri Chinappi refers to herself as the quintessential “butcher’s wife.” She works with her husband, Anthony, who has owned the upscale butchery on Wall Street in Huntington since 2005. Previously, starting in 1996, he was a partner in the business. Before, as a teen, he mopped floors and sliced cold cuts. He eventually learned the art of butchering.
“And it is an art,” says Keri. “When I watch him, it’s amazing. It really is a skill—what he can carve out of a huge chunk of meat.”
So what does this have to do with crumb cake? The Chinappis prefer to call their business a gourmet market and a butcher shop. They carry a wide variety of specialty and natural food items, as well as hand-crafted pottery and handmade steak knives. Anthony offers numerous prepared meals, such as stuffed chicken and pork, and marinated meats. The freezer contains one of their most popular items, homemade chicken pot pies. Over the last several years, Keri has started a food blog, and has added to the inventory by making baked goods.
“A lot of the customers, especially during the holidays, would come and ask how they could prepare a large turkey or a filet mignon,” says Keri. “It’s difficult for me to stand here and give them instructions, so I decided I was going to figure out how to cook every single thing in the cases, and document it and make recipes for it.”
This led to Chinappi’s Chowfancy blog. Her three children were getting older, and she had the time to start writing about food and creating recipes. Good food and nutrition have become top priorities to her, and everything that appears in the store is something she feels good about feeding her own family.
“You are what you eat,” she adds.
As for the baked goods, Keri started with recipes from her childhood, and one was her mother’s crumb cake. It actually starts with a box cake mix, which is what makes it so moist. The mixture for the crumbs however, “does not taste like anything I’ve eaten before,” says Keri. “For some reason there is just something special about it. It’s one of those things that everyone just loves.”
Keri made the recipe as a teenager for her friends, and once she got married she made it for her husband and family. The cake is made in a smaller pan so it rises higher. Since the crumbs seem to be the best part, she piles them high. The crumb cake is at least two inches high, is fluffy and features lots of crumbs. As soon as it hits the shelves, it’s usually gone within a day.
“I’ve been making the crumb cake for a long time, and it’s one of those things that people definitely ask for. When people see it, it’s a treat, and they’re excited,” she says.
The homemade bakery items rotate regularly. Some days it’s the crumb cake; on other days, Keri may offer her chocolatey brownies, cupcakes in mason jars, peanut butter cookies, trail mixes and large chocolate chips cookies. The crumb cake however, remains as a customer favorite.
Even if the crumb cake is not the featured baked item of a particular week, it can always be special ordered a few days in advance. If you want to keep a bunch in stock, the cakes also freeze well.
R&S Meat Market is opened Tuesday – Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are closed on Mondays.