Upon entering Rachel’s Cafe & Spice Company, customers are greeted by Rachel Dutra herself — the friendly co-owner embodying boundless energy.
In fact, by the time the eatery opens, it’s likely that Rachel has already been awake for the past four hours, with her daily workout already complete.
“Through the cafe, I’ve definitely become a morning person,” said Rachel.
And that’s a good thing for the many customers who enjoy Rachel’s delicious breakfasts. While some arrive early enough to grab one of her famous malasadas (a Portuguese confection similar to a donut), others seek paleo, keto, or vegetarian options. Whatever the preference, Rachel’s unique menu promises a delicious and memorable experience for everyone!
Founded on Family, Fun & Flavor
Rachel and Dave Dutra, her husband and fellow co-owner of Rachel’s Cafe & Spice Company, are no strangers to the food service industry.
Though Rachel initially planned to be a teacher, she proved to be entrepreneurial assisting her parents with their restaurant business. Dave’s background was in amusement park management, and he also owned a tavern. Over the years, many recognized Rachel’s creative talents in perfecting recipes.
“People became interested in whatever Rachel was creating in the kitchen,” said Dave, “Her unique blend of spices really made the food stand out.”
Rachel added that it’s her love of research and development that makes her food so extraordinary.
“I don’t settle with food,” she said, “I want everything we serve to taste amazing.”
In the summer of 2015, Rachel was working at the family restaurant when her signature energy suddenly lacked. Those around Rachel wondered if she was working too hard, with too many long hours.
But in fact, Rachel learned she and Dave were going to be parents! As the exhilarated couple prepared for the arrival of their son, Elias, the timing was also right to go all in on their dream endeavor.
Rachel knew that her “magic” in the kitchen was in large part because of how her spice blends enhanced the food she created.
Captivated by a deep appreciation for clean, high quality seasonings, Rachel and Dave dreamed of owning a retail spice shop. As their vision took shape, the Dutras committed to a “try before you buy” experience, adding a breakfast and lunch menu full of culinary creations that showcased their hand-blended spices.
Think elevated flavor when avocado toast gets Rachel’s Everything Bagel seasoning, or chicken wraps with a kick when Farm Hand Chili Powder, or Nacho Average Mexican Seasoning is added!
They also launched an e-commerce site for anyone anywhere to order their products, and presented their spices at various events and festivals.
Top Tip: With holiday shopping around the corner, Rachel’s spice collections are beautifully packaged and make for an easy, affordable gift!
A “Super Sweet” Consequence
In 2018, Rachel and Dave opened their dream eatery, complete with a cozy dine-in area, a retail section with spices and loose leaf teas, and outside dining. Rachel’s sister, Heidi Cobb, also came onboard as the restaurant’s executive baker.
Like many restaurateurs, when COVID hit in March, the family was forced to be creative. They quickly launched themed takeout options, along with generous soup selections.
“People love our soup,” said Rachel. “It was really easy for people to grab quarts of our soup for them to keep in their freezers.”
Without on-site customers, Rachel was able to pour more energy into perfecting her recipes. The result: “Size of your head” cinnamon rolls!
Once restaurants could re-open at 50% capacity, Rachel launched her very popular “Super Sweet Saturdays.” Every weekend, she spotlights her famous malasadas in featured flavors, plus offers trays of giant cinnamon rolls (while they last)! Pre-orders are highly recommended the Thursday before super sweet days, and like many dishes on her menu, Rachel offers the cinnamon rolls in gluten-free and low-carb options too.
“I try to eat healthy,” said Rachel, “And I want to be able to go to a restaurant, regardless of my lifestyle, and not have to order just a salad. Healthy options can taste awesome too!”
As the weather cools, Rachel and Dave know it might be tough if customers can only eat inside. They remain optimistic that their takeout, online retail, and baked goods orders continue. One thing is for sure: they have a lot of fans.
A sample of online reviews:
“French toast latte and sugar crusted malasada (donut) will make your day the best day in the history of days.”
“The atmosphere is great, the spices are top-notch, the food is fantastic (plus they are more than accommodating to just about any dietary preference there is).”
“If grass fed beef, all natural meats, cage free eggs, local, clean, and sustainable ingredients are your thing – this is the place for you!”
Special thanks to NBT Bank for supporting this story. Regional Exec Marc Monahan said, “NBT understands the challenges small business owners are facing to manage these difficult times, and we gladly support our local restaurants, customers, and communities.”