Photograph: Pierre Sarrazin
When Julie Gaines and Dana Noorily were imagining their sweet new Westport eatery, The Granola Bar, they put on their local mom-in-the-know thinking caps. “We live here. We eat here. We imagined the place where we wanted to go, that was serving what we wanted to eat,” says Julie.
And from the size of the crowd slipped into its stylishly sleek (but completely cozy) tables on a recent weekday, Julie and Dana have hit a delicious nerve with the dining-in and take out crowds.
Yummy noshes—from Paleo diet inspired almond flour muffins to espresso-spiked smoothies – have quickly hooked locals. Bacon, egg and cheese on freshly baked brioche anyone? “It’s not the diner—or the coffee shop– but a whole new category,” says Julie. “I think the appeal is that it’s unexpected,” adds Dana.
The latest venture of these enterprising women, who three years ago launched the OATs granola brand and also own a hip local food truck, was conceived as a place that would become a go-to meeting and eating spot.
To execute their vision they turned to fellow Westporter, interior designer Lisa Friedman, to elevate the renovated space in the Playhouse Square shopping center. “Everyone keeps asking us our paint colors but we’re sworn to secrecy,” says Julie.
But, really, the true star here is the food served up by a crackerjack team the duo hired to help produce everything from the barista-brewed coffee drinks to sublime salads.
Conveniently, the café is a few doors down from the new Pure Barre fitness studio and the post workout crowd has become regulars since its mid-December opening. They seem justifiably addicted to the smoothies; blended fresh with the emphasis on being as tasty as they are healthful. (No surprise, Dana’s got a nutrition degree.)
Besides being hand-on owners who are regulars at the counter (they trade shifts to help each other attend to child-rearing) the enterprising moms are also committed to keeping The Granola Bar invitingly fresh. “We plan to tweak the menu seasonally, so we’re already taking about spring,” says Julie. Save us a table!
- The “Wake Up” smoothie; blended with almond milk and a dash of espresso.
- The peanut butter, jelly and granola bars.
- The granola sampler, served with a bowl of deliciously tangy yogurt.
- The Challaback sandwich featuring Nutella, bananas and granola.
- Anything featuring the house-cured salmon.
The Granola Bar
275 Post Road East, Westport; 203-349-5202