Salt & Light Cafe Driven by Creative Menu, Deep Experience & Diner-Driven Focus
After just a few minutes with Josiah and Linda Coleman, owners of Salt and Light Bistro in Groton center, it’s easy to see why their new Café has experienced such rapid success. Their youthful energy coupled with an unusual depth of experience for their age, is clearly behind the success of their three-year-old catering business as well as their new café and boutique clothing store located between Town Hall and Prescott School on Groton’s Main Street.
It seems like Josiah in particular has been in the food business for the majority of his three decades in his native Groton. Josiah was raised at Grotonwood where he started working in the kitchen washing dishes at age 12. By the age of 18 he was running the entire food service operation at Grotonwood, eventually moving on to a job with a large commercial caterer based in Burlington.
After four years in the corporate world he and his wife, whose world experience is more in fashion and design, decided to start their own catering business is Groton. Unfortunately there was no affordable commercial kitchen space available in Groton so Coleman Catering started-up in Pepperell where it is still based. The catering business and café share kitchens and recipes, which allows for a lot more flexibility than would be possible if they were limited to the smallish kitchen available at the Main Street location.
At the core of both businesses, Josiah and Linda and their two experienced sous chefs, Hock The (Café) and Isaiah Bullock (Catering), want to provide a unique service that is based on a deep understanding of their local clientele and their desires. The food on the menu is made from scratch with as many local ingredients, including a partnership with Groton’s Autumn Hills Orchard, with an eye toward a unique high quality end product. However their most important ingredient is intimate knowledge of the customer.
For example in talking to one of their customers about her dietary needs, Josiah was able to quickly develop a number of tasty gluten-free and/or dairy-free baked goods for her. That customer spread the word to her gluten-free network and new customers began to arrive seeking these hard-to-find items, including food prepared in a nut-free kitchen (any item with nuts is prepared in the catering kitchen).
Similarly, by talking to their customers the Colemans discovered that their proximity to Lawrence Academy allowed students to consider a visit to Salt and Light Café as staying “on campus,” so they have developed a number of student-friendly menu items for LA students wanting a place to break out of their routine.
In the near future Salt and Light will be offering special dinner nights with entertainment. Again with that customer-oriented mindset, they plan to time these with school and other events so that parents can stop by for dinner on the way to and from an already-planned visit to Groton center.
The café has full breakfast service and lunch service. The most popular items on the lunch menu these days are the high-end tacos, such as beer braised duck, and sandwiches with a special twist such as their kimchi reuben. Josiah wants to feature his favorite BBQ dishes, which have become a popular option on the catering side of the business, when they begin their dinner service.
Meanwhile in the back corner of the café, Linda’s boutique clothing and accessories business, “This Beautiful Dust” is up and running featuring mostly one-of-a-kind items made by her cultivated network of talented designers. Most items are individually manufactured in their own studios, carefully avoiding items that might be manufactured in exploitive conditions. The current focus is women’s clothing and accessories but she is slowly adding men’s clothing as well.
Salt and Light is open six days a week for breakfast and lunch service. Specials and new menu items will be announced via the café signboard on Main Street and their Facebook page https://goo.gl/KngnXC which is mirrored on the Herald Web site. Linda’s clothing line can be seen on her This Beautiful Dust Facebook page https://goo.gl/b1D3RY Coleman catering is available for both corporate and private events—see their web site for details.