Cafe on Wheels Hits the Spot

Hungry patrons line up outside Caffe Bon at lunchtime. The aroma of freshly made paninis and hot coffee fills the air, and Maria Pietrobon bustles about, greeting customers with a warm smile. The blackboard menu features items such as prosciutto with tomato, arugula, balsamic vinegar and shaved Grana Padano on country bread. All the activity centers on Maria's garden-painted kitchen on wheels.

"I try to do the right thing for me and my customers," said Piertobon. "I want to provide moms with a service."

Pietrobon used to take her two young children to Bruce Park or to soccer fields to play. "By the time I got to the playground, it was time for lunch or a cup of coffee, but there was nothing available," she said. "Instead of looking for people to do it, I just did it myself."

Piertobon was born and raised in Treviso, Italy, a town north of Venice. She learned how to cook by watching her mother and grandmother. Coming from a family with 10 children, Piertobon had to help out. "There is no such thing as someone not doing something," she said. "I started cooking at a young age."

Trying to stay as green, Pietrobon buys her tomatoes and apples from local farmers' markets. She also tries to use organic products when possible. "I try to make simple things," she said. "Italian cooking is not about being complicated. It's about adding great food to start with and just assembling it."

Maria moved to the United States 17 years ago to help manage Arcadia Coffee Shop in Old Greenwich.

"I love being in touch with costumers," she said. "It is a nice exchange for people behind the counter and on the other side."

Caffe Bon opened in mid-August, and when it isn't raining, you can find it at Bruce Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Maria takes her café on wheel to Greenwich High School football and soccer games when she can find parking. She is also available for parties and school events. Caffe Bon will close in mid-December and reopen in the spring. For more information, call (203) 536-0524.

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