OLD SAYBROOK – A familiar breakfast and lunch eatery in town will soon offer a new type of atmosphere and food choices thanks to new owner and Old Saybrook native Earl Swain.
While residents and visitors alike have headed to the former Ames Shopping Center on Boston Post Road for a savory breakfast items and delicious lunch dishes, over time the shopping center has changed.
With the emergence of Boater’s World, Steven’s Furniture Outlet, and the Ocean State Job Lot have changed the look of this shopping center, this cozy restaurant has been a mainstay in the center’s corner for over thirty years.
The shopping center directory reads “A.M. Cup and Saucer” which will soon change to simply “Cup and Saucer”, Swain said, as he, his business partner Linda Sornberger, mother Debra Prevost, fiancée Tina Jones, and Jones’ daughters Samantha, 15, and Victoria, 10, discussed how they would change the restaurant’s atmosphere.
Black record albums have been placed on the restaurant’s white walls and a red trim have been added giving the restaurant a retro fifties and seventies theme, Swain said.
The idea, based on a customer suggestion, will complement the former owner’s tradition of playing the New London based radio station Kool 101 which broadcasts family-friendly oldies music.
Customers can rest assured that warm, delicious bowls of grits, the restaurant’s most popular item, will remain.
“It’s hard to find good grits in town and it’s a more popular item than I had thought,” Swain said.
While about 95 percent of Swain’s customers complained the former owner’s home fries recipe was not to their liking, Swain changed the recipe to one that has gained popularity to this breakfast side dish.
Changing the recipe, Swain said, is part of the restaurant’s emphasis of meeting the needs of customers, adding that customer comment cards are now available.
Homemade soups like clam chowder and Cream of Mushroom have always been popular, Swain has introduced his own recipes including Grilled Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Bisque to the menu which have already proven to be popular, Swain said.
Everyone knows that great cooking is a learned skill and Swain said education obtained from being a graduate of the culinary program at the Essex Vinyl Technical Satellite School and his 24 years of experience as a chef will lend itself to even more unique and delicious recipes.
To give customers a larger variety of beverages to choose from, Swain is offering a new selection of teas including Chiai, Apple Chamomile, Ginseng Green as well as flavored coffees including French Vanilla and Hazelnut.
While previous owners specified serving times for breakfast items and lunch items, Swain promised to have both available all the time.
Swain shows his dedication to serving his customers by getting up before the sun and ensuring the grills are ready and the coffee fresh and piping hot.
“We have a group of construction guys that come in weekdays before we open at 5:30 and a lot of them have been doing it for fifteen to twenty years. I don’t want to break their routine,” Swain said.
These construction workers make up a loyal group of customers making up twenty five percent of Swain’s business.
“They are very friendly people who will make suggestions and tell you what you are doing wrong and tell you what you are doing right,” Swain said.
While this is the first time Swain has owned a restaurant, he said the location has a history of allowing new people to move onto larger venues.
The owners of Pat’s Kountry Kitchen Restaurant at the junction of Route 1 and 154, the Courtyard Restaurant in the Old Saybrook Shopping Center, and Tizzy’s Sandwich Shop on Boston Post Road, all made their beginnings here.
The restaurant at 907 Boston Post Road is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.