Savour Cafe celebrates five years

Made-to-order food with European flair

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  • Owner and Chef Brandy Cojocaru at the counter of Savour Café in Andover Township. The restaurant is celebrating 5 years in business, and offers fresh, made-to-order fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Photos by Mandy Coriston

  • Cars fill the parking lot at lunchtime, in front of the Savour Café in Andover Township. The café is celebrating 5 years in business.

By Mandy Coriston

— Perched on a hill overlooking Newton Sparta Rd, Savour Café offers a quiet retreat from the bustle of the passing traffic. From the comfortable seating and the tasteful décor, to the artfully displayed pastries and the rich aroma of fresh-brewed coffee, it’s clear that owner and chef Brandy Cojocaru has achieved her goal of bringing a bit of old-world charm to Sussex County.

When Cojocaru opened Savour five years ago, she went all-in on a vision of serving fresh, made-to-order food with a European flair. “I just wanted to use a different business model,” she said, “I wanted to succeed in the food business, and I needed to stand apart from what was already here.” Cojocaru, who studied psychology in her native Romania and accounting at Dover Business College, decided to open Savour out of sheer passion for food.

“My husband is an electrical contractor, and he did so much work helping me get ready to open,” Cojocaru said, “And we thought the customers would pour through the door.” But that wasn’t the case, and she suspects their location being set back from the road had something to do with it. “We were the only business in the strip mall at the time, and the first couple of years were a challenge. Once the other stores moved in, it seemed more alive up here. But luckily, once people come in the door the first time, they usually come back!”

Having hit the five-year mark, Cojocaru said, “The hardest part was building a customer base, but these five years have flown by in the blink of an eye. I’m so happy when I look around and the tables are full. It makes me so proud and fills my heart.” Cojocaru wants people to know that Savour is a place where they can relax and appreciate the quality of the ingredients. “This isn’t fast food, but it is yummy. I put care into every dish.”

Along with their gourmet coffees, Savour offers a wide variety of fresh breakfast items, including smoothies, pastries, and full hot meals. The lunch and dinner menu offers a selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches, all cooked upon order. Even the salad dressings are made on premises. “We don’t pre-cook anything here,” Cojocaru said, “If you want grilled chicken, it goes on the grill just for you.” The commitment to freshness at Savour goes beyond made-to-order. All of the eggs used at the café are purchased from local farms, and in season, the produce comes from M.A.C. Farms. During the winter, Cojocaru hand-selects the fruits and vegetables herself at local markets and restaurant suppliers, and she prefers to use organic ingredients whenever possible.

There are desserts to be enjoyed, too, which along with the pastries are baked on site by Cojocaru and house baker Erica Husebo. “We bake every day, so we never use preservatives,” Cojocaru said, “and we make special occasion cakes, as well. Erica does the daily baking from my recipes, and I handle the big cakes.” Savour also has an extensive off-site catering menu, and all the menus have an assortment of vegetarian and gluten-free options.

In addition to her dedication to fresh, local ingredients, Cojocaru is devoted to making sure Savour stays at the forefront of environmental stewardship. “All of our take-out containers, as well as our cups and even our drinking straws, are biodegradable,” she said. “You just don’t realize how much plastic is used in the food industry every day. We don’t want to contribute to that waste.”

Cojocaru said that even when she isn’t hard at work in the kitchen at Savour, she is always thinking about food. “We’re foodies,” she said with a laugh, “Even my kids are foodies.” Cojocaru and her family love to travel and check out the food scene in new places. Her favorite is Montréal, where she said the cuisine and the atmosphere make it feel like Europe. Aside from the bistro-style dishes she serves at Savour, Cojocaru said that the Romanian dishes she grew up eating and Middle Eastern fare are her go-to “comfort foods”. “I know those are very different cultures, but it’s all about diversity in what you’re eating,” she said, “Romanian foods and Middle Eastern foods have one thing in common- they are both traditionally made with very fresh, often homegrown, ingredients.” She also said her children, 10-year-old Sabian and 14-year-old Ariana, get free choice on meals about once a month. “Sometimes they choose McDonald’s, and sometimes they choose sushi. It balances out.”

Asked about the next five years, Cojocaru said, “I would love to open another location. Or maybe have a line of salad dressings in the stores…or maybe a line of gluten-free muffins. My husband and I, we’re dreamers. That’s not such a bad thing.” Given her passion, it’s easy to see that whatever she dreams up next for Savour, it will be fresh, innovative, and delicious.

Savour Café is located at 287 Newton Sparta Rd. in Andover Township and is open seven days a week. The café can be reached by phone at 973-940-7802, and business hours and menus can be viewed on their website at Savour offers local delivery for a nominal fee, and online ordering is now available.

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