Our Estonian heritage is core to the creation and cause of the Alo Café. Our families in Estonia fled from their homes and farms as the Soviet occupation became imminent. Our parents were the lucky ones to have been able to escape any way they could, over rooftops, to get out of Estonia. The story is a similar one for many countries that have been occupied over the centuries. As Estonians, we are very proud that no matter how many times we have been occupied by various countries seeking a warm winter port and rich and productive farm land. We have lived on the same land, spoken the same language, danced the same dances, preserved our culture and most importantly, kept singing our songs. Singing is in our souls and in our blood!
Steve Martinez, owner of Alo Cafe, grew up in New York City where he was exposed to a variety of great food. Steve’s first full time job was at age 16 at one of the early local fast food hamburger chains (Burger & Shake) on Long Island. Opening the restaurant at 6am Monday to Friday, he cooked the hash browns, fried the donuts and prepared the store for breakfast. Steve continued his love for cooking throughout his life and in 2013 was able to locate a suitable site and open his first restaurant, Alo Cafe. The menu at Alo Cafe reflects and incorporates ideas and adaptations of regional food styles, products and specialties from his travels to countries such as Argentina, South Africa, Namibia, Spain, France and Estonia as well as cuisine from the United States and Canada. Alo Cafe unites the concept of a variety of great scratch-cooked foods with the relaxed atmosphere of, “its like I’m in someone’s home”.