It's New to Us by Jean Stratton
Taste of the Town in Hopewell Offers Sit-down and Take-out
I love coming to work! I can't wait to come here every day, all day. Our staff is great; the view is wonderful. And we do our best to make people's visit here a happy experience."
That comment of co-owner Arianna Parsons sets the tone of Taste of the Town, the charming country restaurant at 5 Railroad Place in Hopewell.
Previously Badger Bread, Taste of the Town was recently purchased by Ms. Parsons and Jarod Machinga, and opened its doors June 1.
Former manager of Badger Bread, Ms. Parsons has been in the food industry for 10 years, and is excited about this new opportunity.
"This is a great location. It's an up and coming area, with 17 businesses on Railroad Place. There is a park across the street and the railroad station. It's fun to have the trains go by."
The setting offers an appealing location for Taste of the Town, which is open for breakfast and lunch throughout the day, and which, the owners emphasize, really will be geared to the "Taste of the Town."
"It reflects what people want, what the town likes. We have organic produce as much as possible and organic meat from Simply Grazin' Farm, which specializes in grass-based farming.
"There's really no one just like us in the area," they add. "People love to come in the morning and get a bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup and homemade cinnamon-raisin bread. We also have a variety of breakfast sandwiches on toast, bagels, croissants, Kaiser rolls, brioche rolls, or ciabatta. Add any combination of eggs, ham, organic bacon, organic pork roll, turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, or roasted red pepper."
A variety of scones, coffee cake, muffins, Danishes, and turnovers is also available.
Taste of the Town does a very busy lunch business as well, with sandwiches ranging from $4.50 to $7.
"No one does paninis quite like we do," says Ms. Parsons. "We have roasted red pepper and pesto with mozzarella on ciabatta; grilled cheddar and artichoke hearts with sprouts and Tarragon mustard on 7-grain organic; and grilled eggplant, portobello, red onion, and red peppers marinated in balsamic vinaigrette, topped with aged provolone or fresh mozzarella on foccacia, just to name a few.
"We also have a variety of wraps, including low carb wraps."
Other popular sandwiches are hummus, avocado, tomato, and sprouts on 7-grain organic; and smoked turkey with avocado, goat cheese, tomato and scallions on 7-grain organic, among many others.
Sandwiches can be made on any of 15 different types of bread, and loaves are also available. After 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, all bread is half-price.
"Another thing we do is make up picnic baskets for people if they want to sit out in the park," says Ms. Parsons. "You can rent the basket with table cloth, cups, napkins, utensils, and get a sandwich or salad, drink and dessert. It's $12.50 for adults and $8 for kids."
Several varieties of salads are available, and the display case is also filled with taste-tempting desserts, such as eclairs, pies, cakes, brownies, baklava, and Ms. Parsons advises that "The key lime pie is the real deal!"
Coffee, including espresso and cappuccino, is available, as is a selection of sodas.
"We offer sophisticated food without the pretention," points out Mr. Machinga, who is vice president of the Hopewell Business Association. "In addition, we have a full-service catering business. We work with Primos Catering in Lambertville, and we can do any size event, specializing in under 100, and all styles. Lately, tea parties have been very popular.
"We also work with Primos to put recipes together that people can pick up here, along with the ingredients, which will be from Simply Grazin Organic Farm."
Customers enjoy the attractive homey atmosphere in the restaurant. Fresh flowers are on every table, and upholstered chairs add a warm touch. An additional private room is available for small events, and four outside tables are also popular in the warm weather.
"We hope to have some outdoor events this summer," adds Ms. Parsons. "People can have supper here, dessert at Stally Wally's ice cream store next door (featuring Thomas Sweet ice cream), and also hear live music. Summertime, with ice cream, the train station, and the park what could be better!"
Mr. Machinga and Ms. Parsons are delighted that customers have found their way to Taste of the Town, whether for sit-down or take-out.
"Customers are from all over the area," they report. "One person comes in three times a day! And many others are regulars every week. It is wonderful that we have been so accepted, and we just get stronger every day. Everyone even waves as they drive by.
"A lot of the customers have really become friends. They like the environment here. They love to come in and relax with their paper and a croissant and coffee. It's amazing how many people have come up and said, 'I'm so glad you're here,' and also, they're willing to give us suggestions and their opinions, which we welcome.
"We look forward to seeing them enjoy lunch and breakfast here and having a relaxed, happy time."
Taste of the Town also offers beef, chicken, and pork from Simply Grazin' Organic Farm, as well as milk, eggs, and a selection of jams, honey, and pasta.
are Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to
5 p.m. (609) 466-3666.