CLINTON — Less than a month after opening the doors, Sartori’s Kitchen has developed a loyal following of regular customers.
Elizabeth Abbott, a Westbrook resident says she comes to the eatery often and has enjoyed everything she has order off the menu.
“I like their pancakes with their fresh fruit. I like their egg dish, everything … omelets, whatever,” she said, adding that she doesn’t cook at home for herself, “if I can help it.”
On a recent Saturday morning after cleaning her plate of pancakes, the 86-year-old applauded the work of the chef, Jason Sartori.
“A little syrup and fresh strawberries and the pancakes are light and fluffy and excellent,” she says.
Jason Sartori, along with his wife Tiffany, opened the 1,700-square-foot restaurant after finding the perfect spot at 350 East Main St. The eatery is open for breakfast and lunch.
“Everything we make is comfort food,” Jason says. “Like the mashed potatoes and steak.”
In addition, he stressed, everything is fresh. “We don’t even own a freezer in here,” he says.
This includes strawberries, peaches, apples and blueberries. Jason also makes the daily offerings of soup, cutting up the vegetables and making homemade stock when he arrives at work about 5 a.m.
“It’s always been a dream of ours to open our own place, like this,” says Jason, who has spent years working in the restaurant business. “It’s always been a thing I’ve wanted to do is cooking, ever since I’ve been little.”
The 37-year-old credits his mother with instilling a love of cooking in him as a young child.
“Growing up, she’s always been a big supporter…she actually wanted me to go to culinary school,” he says. “I’ve never been able to. She’s always been with me on the dream, trying to get a place like this.”
Although his mother didn’t live to see his dream come true, he says “she’d be very proud.”
With Jason at the grill and Tiffany upfront, they are building a steady clientele.
“This place is great!” writes Kim Ferraiolo on Facebook, who visited three times in two weeks. “Seems like a very nice family trying to make it work at a nice mom (and) pop place.”
The Sartori’s are encouraged by the repeat customers.
“It feels like we’re doing something right,” says Tiffany. “Our food is good. Service is good and they’re happy and they keep coming back.”
The Sartoris have lived in Guilford for six years, where they are raising their two daughters, Breanna, 10 and Jaelynn, 4. They also have an 18-year-old son, Jonathan.
Right next to the cashier register little Jaelynn has her plastic play kitchen, complete with pots and pans, ready to emulate what her dad is doing in the restaurant’s 800-square-foot kitchen.
Jaelynn says her favorite thing to “cook” is pancakes and her favorite pancake is Mickey Mouse, which her father makes for her, complete with big ears and a smiling face created out of chocolate chips.
While Jason says he used to cook a lot at home that has waned with the opening of Sartori’s Kitchen.
In addition to pancakes and eggs for breakfast, the menu includes the Diablo, eggs, steak, poblano (a mild chili pepper) and red peppers; bagels; home fries and French toast with strawberries, peach or apple.
For lunch, cold sandwiches include the Italian combo sandwich with provolone cheese, salami, hot capri, pepper ham, pepperoni, lettuce, tomato, red onion, oil and red wine vinegar; the American combo with cheese, ham, bologna, turkey, lettuce and tomato.
If a hot sandwich is what you’re hankering for there’s the meatball parm with meatballs with cheese and sauce; steak and cheese Philly with chicken, cheese, mushrooms, onions and peppers.
Sartori likes to mix it up a bit by adding items like “Slap ya Momma” chicken, marinated overnight with a southern spice, served with mashed potatoes and broccoli.
This self-made chef often adds a lunch special like baked mac and cheese; chicken piccata; brisket and mashed potatoes; gnocchi, potato dumplings and poutine, French fries with a house stout gravy, cheese curds and meat.
One of the customer favorites are the home fries. Ask Jason what his secret it and without hesitation he says, “Love, I guess.”
Sartori’s Kitchen, 350 East Main St., Clinton, 860-664-5941; Facebook Sartori’s Kitchen