Little Cake Cafe: Simple Breakfast 'How You Like It, All Day Long'

Monday could be a bleak day in Newington, because it's the one day you can't get a nice bite of breakfast at Little Cake Café in Market Square. Otherwise, as its menu tells you, "it's "breakfast — always and all ways." And just in case you didn't get that, it's "breakfast — when you like it, how you like it, all day long."

Keep in mind that "all day long" means different things to different people. Little Cake is open until either one or two p.m., depending on the day of the week. The day starts early for owner Mellony Butterfield, who says "I'm here at five in the morning. We make almost everything here. My food is very simple."

Simple perhaps, but really good. Local response has been tremendous, and on the weekend people are clamoring for seats.

"We're not fast food," she says. "That's not what we want to be. We're not a quick in and out. We're cracking every egg. We hope customers understand."

Before opening Little Cake Café in the former Hidden Vine space last year, Butterfield, 61, a Wethersfield resident, had never had her own establishment before. But one way or another, she has always been in food service. She has been a baker and a line cook. She managed daily food operations for the Rocky Hill school system for years.

That last may not sound like a recommendation, but her summer omelet ($7.95) with oven-roasted tomato, basil and mozzarella sends my dining companion, a former ballerina, into a joyful arabesque (metaphorically, of course). I'm besotted over my stack of fluffy yet filling buttermilk flapjacks ($6.95) with blueberries (95 cents) and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. We share a parfait ($5.95) layered with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and granola. Omar's Colombian coffee ($2) shows Butterfield is leaving nothing to chance.

But despite all this breakfast bravado, it turns out it's not all Little Cake does. It also puts on a pretty good lunch, served Tuesday through Saturday after 11:30 a.m. There's a Cobb salad ($8.25), a niçoise salad ($7.75) and even a cheeseburger salad ($8.95). There are sandwiches, made with fresh bread from Nardi Bakery in South Windsor, including oven-roasted turkey breast ($7.25), albacore tuna ($7.25), ham & Swiss on rye ($7.25), roasted chicken salad ($7.25), grilled cheese ($6.25) and a corned beef Reuben ($8.95). There's a one-third pound hamburger ($8.95) and a veggie quesadilla ($6.95).

But our undoing is a wonderful slab of veggie quiche ($7.95) with spinach, tomato, roasted red pepper, mushroom and Swiss, served with choice of seasonal fresh fruit, salad, potato chips or, in our case, home fries.

We're too full to consider dessert, but we can't help noticing a display case with the small round cakes for which the restaurant would seem to be named. Those cakes ($5.50) feed one to two people, the somewhat larger cakes ($7.50) feed two to four. Butterfield is happy to take advanced orders for cakes of various sizes, and otherwise bakes chocolate cake, carrot cake, coconut cake, yellow cake or "whatever she feels like" that day.

LITTLE CAKE CAFE, Market Square, 1052 Main St., Newington, is open Tuesday through Friday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.; 860-665-0566.

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