Those of you who’ve lived here a long time may remember The Potted Palm, which was replaced by Harry Stein’s Rye Coffee Shoppe, later Joe Gavin’s Cafe Guisseppi, and eventually The Galley Café.
By Karen T. Butler
Those of you who’ve lived here a long time may remember The Potted Palm, which was replaced by Harry Stein’s Rye Coffee Shoppe, later Joe Gavin’s Cafe Guisseppi, and eventually The Galley Café. All those popular eateries once graced 27 Purchase Street. But for the past 27 years — 27/27 has a good ring to it — Poppy’s has been in that spot, serving a fine cup of coffee, breakfast, lunch, and quick bites in between. Their bacon-and-egg on a roll with a dash of salt and a dollop of catsup is still tough to beat.
In 1984, Bob Chapderlane and his daughter, Gerri, purchased The Galley Café. Coming up with a name was easy — Bob was affectionately known as “Poppy”.
The Chapderlane family was not new to business on Rye’s main street. From 1964 until 1984, Gerri’s mother, Hildegard, and her aunt, Irmagard Buxeder, known to customers as Hildi and Irmi, served more scoops of Baskin-Robbins’ “31 Flavors” than they dared to count, where Subway now resides.Poppy’s was a natural business progression for this family.
Not only does the Chapderlane family work hard; they also play hard. They are a competitive bowling family. In the days of Paul Tartaglia’s Rye Ridge Bowl (on Ridge Street in Port Chester until 1992, when it was torn down), Gerri, Hildi, and Irmi bowled with the best of them. Gerri, her blonde hair blowing in the air, released a bowling ball as if her intended target was located beyond the ten pins some 60 feet down the alley, but more likely White Plains, some six miles west. The pins respected her, giving a sharp snap in the air when her ball found that strike pocket often enough to have 200-games and 600-series a frequent part of her repertoire. Over the years the Baskin-Robbins team brought home many a trophy.
Today, Gerri glides back and forth behind the counter at Poppy’s, moving from customer to customer with a winning smile on her pleasant face. “Hi, Johnnie. What would you like this morning?” She chats with the regulars about the Yankees or Rye Garnets football (her alma mater). The chatter continues in a comfortable, low-key manner. Gerri and her culinary team have mastered the art of good service — conversing while cooking.
In the early years of her business, when Gerri unlocked the door at 4 a.m. each morning, she was greeted by a group of regulars who would saunter up to the counter for their first cup of coffee to start their day and “shoot the breeze”. Slowly the old guard disappeared and a new early morning group somehow never replaced them. So today, Gerri gets a few extra well-deserved hours of shut-eye opening at 6:30 a.m. Her low-key style has served Rye for what is now decades, making Poppy’s the place that comfortably continues to serve a great cup of coffee, breakfast, and lunch to Rye’s endless entourage of hungry citizens.