They prep for three and a half hours before opening for business, their food is locally grown, they serve only the freshest foods straight from the farmer’s field and they deliver a product that not only looks good but is good for the soul. They are none other than the folks at a café called Edible Picasso, which loosely translates to “eating art.”
Edible Picasso, located on Strawberry Street in Cape Charles, was founded roughly a year ago and began as somewhat of a “passion project,” says co-owner Lenore DeBellis. An unexpected end to her corporate job opened opportunities for DeBellis. For folks in Cape Charles, that unexpected ending turned into a beautiful beginning.
Six years ago, Lenore and her husband purchased a beach house in Cape Charles to serve as a place of respite from their busy lives in New York. At the time, Lenore was working remotely while her husband, Rocco, who is a chef and owner of Love and Rosemary, was steadily catering large events, which took him away from home most weekends during peak wedding season. With their youngest child about to enter high school, Lenore and Rocco made the move to Cape Charles with the intention of opening a wedding venue. Things didn’t quite work out as planned, and the two bought a house for fulltime living and Edible Picasso was born.
Having always been involved with food, Lenore began creating artistic and beautiful grazing boards and charcuterie boxes and selling them as gifts. With her husband’s catering company, Love and Rosemary, acting as her commissary, she was able to take orders for delivery and then, “we kind of thought…wouldn’t it be nice if we had a space to do this,” says DeBellis.
As Edible Picasso came into its own, Lenore and Rocco began serving fresh salads, poke bowls, specialty desserts and the like, alongside their grazing boards and charcuterie boxes. From there, “it has morphed into offering something good for everyone,” says Lenore. “Not everyone wants a burger or a fried fish basket when they’re vacationing. We have vegan options, gluten-free options and just good healthy options — fresh foods for people with varying dietary restrictions,” Lenore continues. “The biggest compliment I can get is when someone says, ‘your food is so fresh.’”
In Cape Charles, Edible Picasso doesn’t function as an island unto itself; it not only supports local farming communities but also partners with other local businesses like Drizzles, a gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar store. While the café hasn’t been open very long, it is seeing great success. Perhaps this is, in part, due to the community focus offering “locals” discount to those who remain loyal to the business when all the tourists have gone home.
Moving forward, Lenore says she would like to do some “fun things” during the off season — “private parties to learn the art of charcuterie, sip and charcuterie, cheese-tasting workshops and other exciting adventures.
When it comes to adventures, Lenore and her husband Rocco are no strangers. In their down time, they practically live on the water, enjoying their jet skis and other water events. Since they met walking into a restaurant, they find fun in food as well. As Lenore puts it, “What my husband does with catering is magic; what I do in the café is come up with fun, fresh recipes.” The couple is certainly living out the old adage: Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.
TO THE POINT:
Address: 10 Strawberry St., Cape Charles, VA 23310
Contact: Lenore DeBellis, co-owner