By Janet Stoica
There used to be a popular restaurant and bar on Webster’s East Main Street known as Andy’s. Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell now sits in its place.
Andy’s was owned by Andrew Stefanik and his restaurant had a function room by the name of The Rose Room, where this writer’s parents had their 1950 wedding reception.
The great-granddaughter of Mr. Stefanik, Jess Sabine, along with her husband, Bill Sabine, have taken the Rose Room’s name and given it to their new beverage, dining, and relaxation spot at 4 East Main Street in Webster, the former location of Deb’s Place. They have labeled their new enterprise a coffee and tonic bar but it will be much more than that.
If the hospitality of this young couple, along with the beautiful smile of their 10-month-old daughter Anna Dorothea, otherwise known as Dottie, is any indication of the ease and friendliness that will be extended to their new patrons, they’ve got it made in the shade.
Jess proudly showed off an elegant and impressive drinking glass coaster that she had saved from her great-grandfather’s former Rose Room, complete with intricate rose design. “It’s such a beautiful memory to have,” she said, “and my family name is also on this building (formerly known as Tonylea Pharmacy); it seemed like everything just fell into place when this spot became available.”
The Rose Room opened on November 8. The store’s interior and furnishings have been completely redone. Bright new stainless-steel fixtures line the right wall along with an impressive espresso machine that will brew up fresh coffees (including decaf) next to their reclaimed granite countertop from the Drifter’s Wife wine bar of Portland, Maine, butcher block counter, and with a nod to the past, the original Formica lunch counter. Other features are a new handicapped-accessible restroom, comfortable wing chairs, a sofa, single tables, and a common table for customers wanting to enjoy their free Wi-Fi access. The seating for 31 includes six counter seats.
All coffee drinks are espresso based: latte, cappuccino, and espresso served with milk, chocolate or berry flavors. Coffee drink choices can include a more intense and deeper coffee flavor that is never harsh, according to Bill Sabine. “It’s a much more balanced cup of coffee,” he said. “It’s very fresh and made to order as the beans are ground as the coffee is ordered and there is no bitter taste that sometimes comes from coffee that is brewed and sitting in a pot on a hot plate.
“Our vendor will be Counter Culture Coffee, which is known for sourcing single-origin and specialty coffees.” More beverage choices include herbal teas, house-made sodas, herbal and tinctured juice combinations, waters, and club soda—a healthier variety of beverages.
The couple has a background in retail management, while Bill also has a bartending experience and Jess has extensive experience as a barista. They met while working on Nantucket. After a stint in Portland, Maine, the couple married and with the impending addition of Dottie to their family, decided to return to Jess’s family area.
The Rose Room will serve breakfast and lunch with locally-sourced ingredients from breads made at Soleil & Sun Bakery of Woodstock, Conn., to cheese aged at Couet Farm & Fromagerie of Dudley and pasture-raised beef from Dudley’s Walnut Lane Farm.
Based on their experiences, the couple will offer 8-10 daily breakfast/lunch items that are all freshly made. They will offer a grazing board composed of cheese, crackers, and hummus along with yogurts and egg platters. It will be lighter fare than typical diner food with the menu changing frequently based on locally-sourced farm products, including dairy.
Root vegetables will feature prominently on their menu, along with local honey, apple cider, and maple syrups. “We want to work closely with our community,” said Jess, “and the best way to do that is to partner with our local merchants. One of our feature items will be a sour cream coffee cake based on my mom’s recipe and it will be made fresh daily. We’ll have maple-flavored toasting bread as well as sourdough from Soleil.
“I encourage people to try us and be a little adventurous! We promise our food will be fresh and made with local ingredients, even some from our own garden.”
Bill also mentioned that it was important for their customers to know that “there’s nothing like the bright and fresh flavors from your own vegetable garden, clean and bursting with wonderful flavor.”
The Rose Room is at 4 East Main Street, Webster; 508- 461-5344. Daily hours: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Closed on Tues/Wed.