Café SoL is a fun, relaxing, quirky and friendly café co-owned by Tabatha Miranda and Brian Bellmore and located in the heart of downtown Niantic.
While Tabatha was born in Puerto Rico and lived in New York City as a young child, her family made their way to Mystic, where she graduated from Fitch High School. She worked her way through Connecticut College and went on to graduate with a degree in Hispanic Studies and Education.
It was when she worked at Mohegan Sun after college that she fell in love with the food and beverage industry. Tabatha and Brian met while working at a restaurant there, and the idea for Café SoL was born.
Tabatha bought a house here in 2001 and has called Niantic home ever since. So, in 2011 it was an easy decision to open Café SoL right here on Main Street. They were immediately welcomed by the community. Other than Dunkin’ Donuts, there were no coffee shops in town at that time. Right from the start, Café SoL offered friendly service and food that’s fresh and unique. The sense of community immediately started to build.
Tabatha credits Brian with the delicious flavors he creates for their menu items, especially the cookies. She credits herself as the taster! Tabatha also handles most aspects of the business operations.
High quality food and service has been the utmost priority for Café SoL since Day One. They select the freshest ingredients and products from a variety of sources. Upon entering the café, you are greeted by friendly faces. Tabatha says the staff has always been her family and, in fact, does include her daughters, Isabel and Miranda. While Isabel is the smiling face who often greets you, Miranda prefers to work behind the scenes.
You’ll find salads, sandwiches and soups with unique blends of fresh ingredients.
While the breakfast menu includes classic breakfast sandwiches, bagels and yogurt with berries and granola, consider some of their special offerings. One example is the Mexicali which features egg, freshly ripened avocado, Havarti cheese, salsa, roasted corn, black beans with chipotle yogurt sauce on a wheat wrap.
Their salads are anything but ordinary. While classic Caesar and Greek salads are available, special offerings include a BBQ Chicken Caesar Salad with chicken, romaine, roasted corn, black beans, roasted red peppers, croutons and Caesar dressing with Reggiano. Another favorite is their black bean sweet potato burger on Organic greens with roasted corn, black beans, roasted red peppers and fresh ripened avocado tossed with balsamic vinaigrette with a dollop of salsa.
You can expect the same from their sandwich menu. They serve up classic PB & J sandwiches along with grilled cheese. But don’t overlook one-of-a-kind combinations like the East Meets West. This combo includes tender pulled pork with house-made bourbon BBQ sauce, melted aged provolone topped with organic fuji apples and an Asian kale superslaw on a Vienna roll. Or The Blue – Boars’ Head oven roasted turkey, prosciutto, organic fig jam, evoo, lettuce and blue cheese crema on multigrain bread.
While they initially made their own soups, they couldn’t keep up with the demand. So, they now get their hearty soups from New York City, delivered fresh to them.
They offer a variety of specialty coffee drinks, using local beans from Ashlawn Farms. Cookies, muffins and scones will satisfy your sweet tooth. Brian provides the recipes for the cookies, and they’re all baked onsite. The muffin batter comes from C & R Bakery in Danbury, and the muffins are baked onsite. Zest Bakery in Stonington provides the scones.
In addition to many unique offerings you won’t find anywhere else, Café Sol also offers Vegan options and can accommodate all allergies.
In 2013, they had the opportunity to double in size when the space next door became available.
Through the expansion, they were able to add significant room for indoor and outdoor dining.
They have always felt welcomed by our community. Fellow downtown business owner Deke Haylon, owner of Deke’s Bagels, recently said this about Café SoL: “You were a first-class act and made everyone else step up their game.” Yes, indeed, Deke!
Their delightful gardens are a community affair and bring people back again and again to enjoy an outdoor coffee, meal or treat in a gorgeous setting. The flowers come from Smith’s Acres, located right up the street. Café SoL is grateful to Bill Brubaker, a local gardener who maintains the flower garden with the help of many volunteers. The gardens are so beloved by all that Smith’s Acres has posted signs next to some of the favorite “Café SoL” flowers at their nursery. The signs read “These are the ones in front of Café SoL”.
Local mail woman and artist Patricia Daley enjoyed stopping into Café SoL often to chat with her favorite barista, Bel. When she noticed the original Café SoL sign was deteriorating, she came in one day with a special gift – a beautiful, new sign that fits right in with the magnificent gardens.
With the Niantic Bay Boardwalk just a few steps away, Café SoL is the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, a meal or a snack after an invigorating walk along the gorgeous views of the Long Island Sound.
Restaurant Week Special
Free drink with purchase of breakfast or lunch sandwich. See all the participating restaurants and their specials here.
346 Main Street, Niantic
8am to 4pm, seven days a week
About Our Main Street Blogger:
Joanne lives in, and loves, our community. She was looking for an opportunity to help share all that our local businesses do to make East Lyme such a special place to call home, and she is excited to contribute to our blog. Joanne brings to the role her experience from New London Main Street where she contributed content to their website, newsletters and email communications for many years.