Coffee & Cream restaurant set to re-open in North Smithfield
NORTH SMITHFIELD – Sometimes, just a group of well-known neon letters is all it takes to signal a big event is ahead, a return of a well-liked place that helps people stay connected.
And that is what has been happening at the Slatersville Plaza in recent days as those all too familiar letters spelling “Coffee & Cream” went up over a restaurant space that will soon open as the new home of the long popular local breakfast eatery.
Yes, the letters signal Coffee & Cream has moved to a new location and will longer be the parking lot mate of the Beef Barn at Smithfield and Greenville Roads, but most familiar with the business will likely say, “that’s just fine, gimme a cup of coffee.”
Jonathan and Heather Branchaud are orchestrating Coffee & Cream’s revival at Slatersville Plaza after a long journey to rebuild from the Dec. 22, 2017, fire that heavily damaged the original Coffee & Cream next door to the Beef Barn.
“We are starting a new chapter in Coffee & Cream history,” Heather said this week as the couple headed toward a Nov. 18 opening of the new restaurant location.
“We tried many different options to rebuild at the original site but it really didn’t work out,” Branchaud said of her family’s decision to make a move as the next best option for reviving Coffee & Cream.
“After a year and a half, we couldn’t wait any longer and decided to find a new location,” Heather explained.
The original business had been built by Jonathan’s father, Normand Branchaud, in 1990 as an offshoot of the Beef Barn restaurant he had founded with his late ex-wife, Roland. Their son, Marc Branchaud, continues to operate the Beef Barn today as well as the second Beef Barn location in Bellingham, a revived Normand creation that had spent some years as other restaurants such as Twins Pizza.
Normand Branchaud, now 81, has been watching the rebirth of Coffee & Cream with excitement and even coming down to help out, his son reported at the new location this week.
“I pick him up at the Villa in the morning and he’s been doing little things here and there,” his son explained.
It would have been nice to rebuild at the old location, but as time went on and he and Heather began to look for a new location, Slatersville Plaza’s owner, Crosspoint Associates, stepped up with just the location to make it all work, Jonathan related.
The former Cafe 900 space at the plaza was available and with a little prep work by Crosspoint, soon was in the throes of a major redo by the Branchauds and their contractors.
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Crosspoint was instrumental in making the relocation possible and showed the couple that “they truly wanted to be our partner in the move and wanted Coffee & Cream to be here,” eather said.
eather’s brother, Steve Taratuta and his partner in Stratcon, Adam Bibeault, also helped with the contracting work, and friends like Eric and Roland Leduc contributed essential things like reworking and reinstalling the Coffee & Cream neon letter salvaged from the now ra]ed original business site.
“As soon as I saw the dining room and the kitchen, I knew it would work because of the layout and the si]e of the kitchen,” Jonathan said of Coffee & Cream’s new home.
The space has also served as Pinelli’s Cucina and Grille at the pla]a, and the new Coffee & Cream will be using the Pinelli’s portion initially with the hopes of eventually expanding to the Grille for a special event or collation area.
The Coffee & Cream breakfast menu will be back as will be a number of the former restaurant’s employees, both in the serving area and kitchen, and there will also be a new lunchtime menu planned by a new chef, .elly McCusker.
eather noted that the hours will now go to 2 p.m. daily, a change from the old location where Coffee & Cream shared parking with the Beef Barn.
Coffee & Cream would open at a.m. close at 11 0 a.m. each day as the Beef Barn opened, an arrangement that is no longer needed with the move.
The old restaurant also had late night hours on Fridays and Saturdays but those haven’t been carried over to the new pla]a location.
Parking is a big improvement at the pla]a where Jonathan said the restaurant has three times the parking it had at Smithfield and Greenville Road.
Best of all is the new kitchen he has been putting together that required some changes from the prior business’s design to what he needs for
Coffee & Cream’s breakfast and lunch menu. There two new cooking grills are already in place and Jonathan was finishing up the kitchen renovations with some additional changes to the new menu format.
eather has been working on the design of the new dining room and said she wanted it to have “rustic charm” like the old Coffee & Cream.
The original business had a horse stable theme touched off with equestrian tack goods and farm implements and she has brought a few surviving mementos along to the new Coffee & Cream but this time with more of a country home feel.
Visitors will find pictures of the Coffee & Cream story on the wall of the foyer as they enter and eather said she feels it is important to remember everyone who was involved in getting the business going at its different way points, the original restaurant, the second location that had been operated for a time at the pla]a years ago, and even the Coffee Mug that Jonathan’s late mom, Eva, operated at Route 1 and Sayles
ill Road for 1 years.
“We definitely wanted a place for Coffee & Cream history, that was very important to us,” she said.
Although it has taken the couple nearly two years to get the new Coffee & Cream open, they have spent that time well, Jonathan said. They have given their daughter, Violet, 2 when the old business was damaged, a brother, Oliver, now 1.
“I was able to spend time with the kids so it wasn’t a bad time for us,” he said.
Of course that all changes when the new Coffee & Cream opens on Nov. 1 , and Jonathan goes back to the kitchen full time. A grand opening will be held after the business is back up and running.
“I love it, it’s a great feeling and it almost doesn’t seem real,” Jonathan, who has been working in the family business as long as he can remember, said of the return of Coffee & Cream.