Welcome To The Norwich Square Café on Main Street in Norwich
May 20, 2016 05:10PM ● Published by Kirsten Gehlbach
Gallery: Norwich Square Cafe [4 Images] Click any image to expand.
Four months after the café’s launch, when Brent was asked if there were any surprises, he said, “I have done this before and organized for others. Things are as expected based on my experience.”
A native of Lebanon, Brent certainly has experience as a restaurateur. He graduated from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, received sommelier certification in Italian wines, and spent time in New York City managing restaurants. He has also worked in the wine department at the Hanover Co-op.
Brent met his wife Fausta, an architect, on his sabbatical in Florence, Italy. The two decided to move to the Upper Valley. While Fausta may not have seen the restaurant business in her future, she seems right at home, her genuine smile greeting customers from behind the café’s counter.
The open, bright café has windows looking out onto Norwich Square and offers 18 seats, WiFi, and a bistro-style menu that uses local ingredients as much as possible and sources the best quality ingredients and products available. All-day breakfast offers a selection of fabulous pastries including muffins, stuffed croissants, and biscotti, served with a variety of delicious coffee and lattes. One 85-year-old regular customer claims that their blueberry muffin is the best he has ever had in his life. A favorite among the variety of desserts in the ever-changing case is the popular espresso mini cake, perfect for one or two.
The lunch menu offers panini, salads, quiches with greens, and a soup of the day, plus popular specials. Two favorite panini are the Apple Orchard with turkey, brie, honey mustard, and Granny Smith apples and the Mediterranean with smoked mozzarella, marinated artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers. A favorite special is the Porchetta, a savory pork roast of Italian culinary tradition wrapped in a baguette.
What’s next? Brent explains, “We look at the business in phases. The first year is opening the café. Next, expanding the retail into gourmet foods and working on projects. Third, expanding into prepared foods will come in the future.”
Projects on the horizon include developing a website and using it to post menus and create a cookbook with recipes collected from community members to share their recipes and cultural backgrounds. To expand into prepared foods, the café needs to bring on the right employees. Brent says they want to find the best people they can nurture and educate about food, all aspects of the business, and serving both the customer and the community. Norwich Square Café strives to be open to the community as well as a part of it.
Norwich Square Café
289 Main Street
Open Tue–Fri from 8am to 5:30pm
Sat 8am to 3pm