NEW CASTLE — Home baked bread, soups and salads from scratch and delectable desserts are just additions to the homemade comfort food now being offered up at Maud’s on Main in New Castle.
The doors of the new eatery were open on Tuesday afternoon for a “soft” opening of friends and family, with the grand opening taking place on Thursday.
“It’s just fantastic,” said Sylvia Stauffer of Carbondale, who ordered the Beef On Weck, a sandwich of thinly sliced, oven-roasted, top-round beef, horseradish, au jus and served on kimmelweck bread. “It’s very inventive — it’s delicious.”
The restaurant is owned by Molly Mogavero, whose husband is architect Jeff Ellis of Land & Shelter Architects in Carbondale. Ellis drew up the design plans for the restaurant, which is located at 316 W. Main St. in the old Rock Saloon building. Mogavero operates the restaurant with her mother, Ann Andzel, who previously owned “Maud’s Cafe & Deli” in Buffalo, N.Y., more than 20 years ago. Ann’s husband, Ed, works as a handy man, performing a variety of jobs at the restaurant.
So then, who’s Maud?
Maud is actually the name of Ann’s mother.
“My grandmother had always wanted to open a restaurant, but she didn’t have the means,” Mogavero said. “Instead, my mom opened a restaurant and named it after her mother.”
And that’s where the concept of serving comfort food came from.
“That’s where I got the idea that everything had to be scratch-made,” Andzel said.
“I knew this was where we were supposed to be,” Mogavero smiled. “I could just feel it.”
She and her husband gutted the building, and the plans for the restaurant began churning in her mind.
“I knew it needed an old-fashioned name,” she said. “And then it came full circle. My restaurant would be ‘Maud’s on Main.’”
And there was never any doubt that comfort food would be the cuisine.
“Comfort food comes from the heart and soul,” Mogavero said. “It nourishes people spiritually and physically. I think that’s what comfort food is.”
“It’s more than just an eating experience,” Andzel added.
Having worked in the restaurant business since she was very young, Mogavero strayed away from food for a time and found herself working instead as a certified massage therapist for 13 years.
“But the restaurant industry is really in my blood,” she said with a laugh.
Mogavero lived in Carbondale for more than 10 years before deciding it was time to look for a good location for her restaurant. Last year, when a Realtor took her to the space in the old Rock Saloon building in New Castle, which was built in 1890, she knew it was the right place.
The small sit-down dining room at Maud’s on Main has seven tables and seats 22 people, and artwork from local artists adorns the walls. The dining room is open to the kitchen, where an impressive commercial grade Garland gas stove sits and an array of shiny kitchen utensils hang from racks. A genuine old-time cash register sits on the front counter alongside a display case that tempts the palate with homemade pies, cakes and other concoctions that are made fresh every day.
“I love the interaction between the customers and the kitchen,” Mogavero said. “Basically, I want people to feel like they are coming into my house for dinner.”
Though not classically trained as a chef, Mogavero is self-taught and takes her culinary skills seriously.
“I’m really, really passionate about creating well-balanced, yummy food,” she said, her eyes lighting up at the thought. “I want to make food that will make your belly do back flips.”
Salads include favorites such as Caesar, Greek, spinach and the classic Cobb, along with shrimp and avocado and Nicoise.
Sandwiches include Italian sausage, the Beast Burger, Reuben, blackened chicken, the Molly Cristo, Turkey Jenwich and old favorites such as roast turkey, tuna melt, ham and B.L.T.
And while it may be comfort food fare, this is not your stereotype Blue Light Special of meatloaf and a slop of mashed potatoes. The food that comes out of the kitchen at Maud’s looks like works of art.
“Food is my art,” Mogavero said with another big smile.
The entrées include things such as vegetable chartreuse, pierogis, manicotti, almond encrusted chicken, crispy Japanese salmon cakes, bistro tender steak stacks and barbecue ribs. There are daily specials available as well.
“I like to think of it as comfort food with attitude,” Mogavero said with another big smile.
Maud’s on Main is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5-9 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday. For more information about the restaurant, call (970) 984-7259; email email@example.com; visit www.maudsonmain.com; see the specials on Facebook at facebook.com/maudsonmain or tag your meals on Twitter at @maudsonmain.