- courtesy of O’Maddi’s Deli & Café
When the Knotty Shamrock shut down in August, it was Northfield's third restaurant to close this year. JT's Fries & Pies shuttered midsummer after less than a year in business, and Northfield Village Pizza served its final pie last winter. The spate of closures left the town's 6,200 full-time residents — and Norwich University's 2,500 students and staff — with few choices for a sit-down supper.
Now, O'Maddi's Deli & Café owners Kaylan and Shaun Sweet hope that serving dinner at their sandwich stop, which has been a cornerstone of the town's daytime dining since it opened in 2010, will help reinvigorate the local scene. "Northfield's a really small town," says Kaylan, "so there's a huge void in the town for options right now, which in turn causes people to leave town."
O'Maddi's will close this Sunday, October 18, so the staff can upgrade kitchen equipment, install draft lines and renovate the seating area for evening service. The Sweets say they plan to reopen on November 2. When they do, the café will supplement its more or less unchanged selection of sandwiches, wraps, salads and baked goods with twists on pub classics such as fries, wings and burgers — those last topped with mushrooms, onions and Swiss; or Florentine spinach and cheese.
"It'll be almost like we're running two different businesses," Kaylan says. "We'll have our usual breakfast-lunch deli, and then at 4 [p.m.] when the servers come on, we'll do dinner and drinks." She says O'Maddi's will offer a handful of beers on draft — some local, some not — and a few wines by the glass.
The plan is to keep things simple, at least to start: "We're not starting off with a two-page-long menu. We're going to do what we know," Kaylan says. Both Sweets have worked in restaurants their entire adult lives; most recently, they split their time between their own business and the Knotty Shamrock, where Shaun cooked and Kaylan managed the front of the house.
Nightly specials — perhaps incorporating customer suggestions — will enhance O'Maddi's regular bill of fare. Kaylan says she hopes to offer breakfast all day on Sundays, and perhaps on other days once she and Shaun get into the swing of things. "I don't want to bite off more than I can chew," she says. "I've been in the restaurant business long enough to know better."
Still, the two have high hopes for their new endeavor. "There's an opportunity here to grow our business," Kaylan says, "but this is really for the town. There's still room for more restaurants in Northfield, and we've got a lot of people rooting for us, which is really cool. I can't see it not going well."