An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Aug 4, 2014
03:06 PM
The Connecticut Table

Simsbury's Popover Cafe Home to Great Tasting Healthy Food

Simsbury's Popover Cafe Home to Great Tasting Healthy Food

All photos courtesy of Popover Cafe unless otherwise noted

A mixed berry pie fresh out of the oven at Popover.

Healthy food often gets a bad rep.

“I tease that sometimes when you combine gluten free and vegan you get cardboard,” says Sara Allan one of the owners of Popover Café and Bakery in Simsbury, a brand-new Connecticut dining destination that specializes in gluten-free, vegan and other tasty-but-health-conscious options.

Allan and her business partners, Pam Paydos and Shannon McHale, are self-proclaimed “hockey moms” and longtime Simsbury residents who have joined forces at Popover with the hopes of altering people’s perceptions about what gluten-free and vegetarian food can taste like when made right.

(At right: apple maple muffins)

In its first six weeks in business, the modern, unpretentious café with wonderful pastries and delectable lunches has already attracted dedicated lunch and breakfast crowds. In addition, the restaurant is also becoming a go-to place for high-end dining events featuring some of the state’s best-known chefs. On August 20, the café will host its second Chefs Farm to Table event at 6 p.m. The theme this month will be beer and BBQ, and Tyler Anderson, star chef of Millwrights Restaurant & Tavern, will be cooking up a mouthwatering array of barbecue creations that guests can wash down with beer from Black Hog Brewing Co., a new craft brewery in Oxford.

(Below: cucumber gazpacho) 

Prior to opening the Popover Café, Paydos owned the Iron Frog Tavern in Simsbury. After she sold that restaurant in January, she and Allan discussed opening up a smoothie bar. While scouting potential locations they came across the space they are currently in and fell in love with it, but there was a problem—it was too large a chunk of real estate to host a smoothie bar. So they decided to expand the business model and brought on McHale (a friend and ardent enthusiast of the concept) as an additional partner.

(At left: the space at Popover. Photo by Corinne Ofgang)

Now they serve a variety of lunch, breakfast and pastry items, including delicious gluten-free muffins, cookies, fresh salads packed with kale, spinach, wild king salmon, organic chicken, grass-fed hangar steaks and protein-packed vegan chicken made by Beyond Meat (a popular new brand of “fake” chicken that the New York Times and Wired say tastes just like the real thing). Standouts during Connecticut Magazine’s visit to the Popover Café included the peanut butter cookie, the freshly roasted coffee (both hot and cold brew) and the “Southerner"—a waffle sandwich with gluten-free fried chicken, honey sirachi sauce, applewood bacon and Vermont cheddar.

The café is open Tuesday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with brunch available Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. In the fall the owners hope to offer a take home dinner option and Blood Mary cocktails with Sunday brunch.

The philosophy at Popovers is straightforward. Paydos says, “A lot of time [our recipes] are basic with very high-quality ingredients.” She adds that so far that’s proving a winning formula. “We’ve had a great response.” 

(Below: iced and hot coffee, a chocloate chip cookie, and raspberry muffin. Photo by Corinne Ofgang)

Contact me by email eofgang@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and Google +

 

Simsbury's Popover Cafe Home to Great Tasting Healthy Food

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