WESTPORT, Conn. -- Julie Levitt of Weston and Dana Noorily of Westport admit they "Thelma and Louise'd" it when they opened The Granola Bar in Westport in December 2013.
"At the time we were two mothers who just wanted a healthy place to eat and have good coffee," said Levitt.
Now, one year later, the two -- neither of whom has a background in restaurants (Levitt was in the music business; Noorily in finance) -- admit they're coming up for air.
For these busy moms, one of whom has six kids, the other three, that's just another way of saying they've taken it up a notch, expanding The Granola Bar's hours to 9 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays and adding new dinner items and customizable "build your own dishes" to the menu.
"We're thrilled with where we are," said Levitt, "We've learned so much in the past year and continue to learn."
In honor of the restaurant's one-year anniversary on Monday, Dec. 8 they will be offering $1 coffee.
"We feel so grateful to the community for supporting us; it's just one small thing we can do to give back," added Noorily.
As for the key to their success? "The real magic is in the partnership," said Levitt. "We have each other's back."
They also both recognize the importance of the family/work life balance. "We wanted a business where we could be home at 3, and we've hired well, which allows us to do so," said Levitt.
And because the restaurant is so family-friendly with a focus on seasonal ingredients from local farms, it’s not uncommon to see their kids at one of the tables digging into baked chicken fingers or a nut butter and jelly sandwich.
Community is a big part of their mission, with the occasional charity tie-in (they made cookies for Autism Speaks a few months back). Coming up Dec. 9: A holiday shopping boutique featuring exclusive fashion, gifts and artisanal products, with 15 percent of sales going to the Westport PTA and Weston PTO.
As for where they might be a year from now, the jury's still out.
"We're looking to expand the business," said Levitt. "Whether that means just getting better at what we do or if it means another store, we're not sure."
For now, though, they're working on improving their "Grab and Go" and "trying to make The Granola Bar the best it can be."
The Granola Bar is located in Playhouse Square at 275 Post Road East, 203-349-5202; thegranolabarct.com.
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