Want a bowl of soup, piece of quiche, panini, homemade chocolate chip cookie or a cappuccino — or all of the above — but don’t feel like going out for it? Mello Velo Bicycle Shop and Cafe, on Westcott Street in Syracuse, now offers delivery by bicycle in the Syracuse University and Westcott neighborhoods.
That’s right. Delivery by bicycle.
The delivery map is bounded (roughly) by East Fayette Street (between Columbus and Almond), Syracuse University/SUNY ESF and surrounding streets, Meadowbrook Drive and SU’s South Campus area (Skytop; off East Colvin Street). Minimum order is $10. Delivery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Delivery is not offered on Sundays, at least for now.
Mello Velo bicycle mechanic Neil Hueber said the bike delivery option was introduced in mid-October and that owners Steve and Sara Morris plan to offer it “as long as possible” heading into the cold-weather months.
Right now, Hueber said, the delivery staff is using their own bikes, tricked up with insulated carriers, to deliver such things as hot coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies and sandwiches. They are in the process of getting special delivery bikes.
A couple orders have come in from people “who completely stiffed us,” Hueber said. That’s just not right. It should go without saying that a person who pedals a bike three miles or up, say, Clarendon Street or Westminster Avenue in the University neighborhood to deliver a take-out order deserves an extra-generous tip.
For those who have never been there, Mello Vello is one of the most unique cafes and coffeehouses in Syracuse. Both Mello Velo Bike Shop and Mello Velo Cafe are at 550-556 Westcott St., on the second floor, separate yet connected. You can enjoy breakfast or lunch while your ride is repaired, but you don’t have to be a bicycle enthusiast to appreciate wholesome, creative food, made with as many local and seasonal ingredients as possible.
Specialties include “quiche of the moment,” couscous salad served on a bed of greens and a gouda quesadilla with caramelized onion and sliced apple.
Sandwiches, paninis and salads can be made vegetarian/vegan by substituting seitan or house-marinated tempeh for meat. Baked goods — like muffins, biscotti, cookies and coffeecake — are made in-house, and gluten-free options are available. House coffee is Ithaca’s Gimme! Coffee. Organic loose-leaf teas are from Divinitea, in Schenectady.
Check out the menu here.
The cafe occupies the spot formerly home to Second Story Books. It’s casual and comfortable and seats about 24 people, with a mish-mash of tables and chairs for dining and relaxing — and studying and work. The shop is popular with Syracuse University students, Westcott-area residents and merchants and others who come for coffee or a bite and linger over WiFi.
The bike shop features new and used bicycles, as well as bike accessories, like bicycle locks and bags. Customers describe Steve Morris as one of the most highly skilled (and reasonably priced) bicycle repair experts in town.
Give Mello Velo a spin for breakfast, lunch or a casual supper, when you’re in the neighborhood. Cafe hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. The bike shop opens at “10-ish” Monday to Saturday. It’s closed on Sundays. Information: 307-3104.
Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at eatfirst.typepad.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mmccormickcny