SOUTHINGTON — With baked goods brought in daily from local suppliers such as Cheshire Baking Co., a local cafe’s new management is focusing on local ingredients and freshly ground coffee.
“I like seeing people happy when they eat,” said Paul Ardaji, who began work at Caffe del Mundo in recent weeks as a co-owner of the business at 51 N. Main St.
The cafe is expanding its hours, adding daily specials to the menu, and incorporating local ingredients in its sandwiches and salads.
Ardaji, a longtime restaurant worker and owner, spoke Wednesday while mixing a salad in the cafe’s kitchen. He said that to create food he’s proud to serve, at prices customers are comfortable paying, they “have to be creative in how to get flavor and freshness into the food.”
One dish he’s particularly excited to make is a herb-marinated roasted chicken salad with Meyer lemon juice and taragon butter.
Ardaji said the cafe aims to sell high-quality foods and coffees at prices similar to those at other local businesses.
Co-owner Jake Thornton said he hopes the addition of French press-brewed coffee and the new menu will make the cafe into a place for people to gather, while still providing food for takeout.
Thornton, a Southington resident for nearly his whole life, sees the emphasis on local ingredients as a way to give back to the town by supporting the small and medium businesses “where jobs are created.”
“If you have the right mindset, you can really help the economy,” he said of business owners and consumers alike. The bottled teas at the Caffe del Mondo counter are made in Cheshire, while the baked goods come from Fancy Bagels, in Southington, New England Muffin Factory in Milldale, and Cheshire Baking Co.
He also hopes to see the business become a donor to local foundations, to give back to the community which has supported the cafe.
“I really want to put a lot of that back into the community,” Thornton said. “I always want to leave the spot I’m in a better place.”