Proprietor: Freshie’s Café, 83 Salmon Brook Street, Granby
Talk about your roots and how you got to this point in your life…
I grew up in Winsted, my father was an engineer and our family had a restaurant in the area. When I was quite young my dad gave each of my siblings and myself $100 and told us to invest it wisely so as to have some money for college. I drove to New York City, bought a hot dog cart and brought it back to Winsted. I sold so many Grote and Weigels that the cart put me through Northwest Community College and Central Connecticut State University. Initially I went into the Army Reserves at age 17 and became a dental hygienist. This allowed me to travel to many different locations in the United States and instilled in me a great respect for people in the military. Later I studied sales and ended up with a business degree. After this I worked in the corporate world for ConnectiCare Insurance. All the while in the corporate world I began to yearn for the enjoyment of working in or owning a restaurant since I truly love both cooking and meeting new people.
My memories of childhood watching my parents cook marvelous Italian meals, and then lingering to relish the time eating and socializing kept edging into my thoughts. My brother has had a restaurant called Fabiola’s in Avon for many years. Oftentimes I would talk with people there who asked, “Why don’t we have a place like this in Granby?”
As the years passed, my husband and I settled in Granby and we have been here for about 16 years. At first I worked for James Chen at Han restaurant and then was a part of the new Italian restaurant near Geissler’s called LaFigata. I drove to many different locations in order to find the huge red, round pizza oven in the center of the main room. Eventually I wanted to have my own café and fortunately the opportunity to open Freshie’s presented itself. My husband Mark encouraged me to do this and has been my best cheerleader.
Where does the name come from?…
I was one of five children; three boys and two girls. My siblings have habitually teased me saying that I was the freshest one of the bunch. The second reason for the name is, of course, all the ingredients we use are of the freshest quality; for example, all our salad dressings are homemade. Our menu is continually changing based on what is in season and homemade soups can regularly be found on the blackboard.
Talk about why you chose to live in Granby….
I have a son who has attended the Granby schools and I can honestly say that I liked every teacher he ever had here. The school system is a very strong one in my opinion. Along with the academics I also like all of my son’s friends. There is a strong sense of community here; people have sent me cards, good wishes and even flowers for the café opening.
An activity my husband and I both love here in Granby is snowshoeing at McLean game refuge after a deep snowfall. A few years ago he stamped out a huge heart with an arrow on the backside fields of McLean in celebration of Valentine’s Day!