New bakery, restaurant now open in Dracut – Lowell Sun


DRACUT – For Deana DeSimone, resident of North Reading, the idea of ​​opening a restaurant was a “project of a lifetime”.

The dream came true for her at the end of November with the opening of Ella May’s Country Kitchen and Bakery on Merrimack Avenue. Located in the space that once housed the Sophia’s Cafe, the restaurant offers a full breakfast menu, a selection of lunch options, and baked goods made from scratch.

“I really wanted to do something like this when I was in my twenties,” DeSimone said recently in the new restaurant overlooking the Merrimack River. “But like everyone else when you’re in your early twenties, you’re not financially stable, you’re not in a place where you’re really capable or educated enough to figure out how to run your own business. “

Deana DeSimone, owner of Ella May’s Country Kitchen and Bakery, chats with a customer on a recent Thursday. The restaurant opened on Merrimack Avenue in November. (SUN / Meg McIntyre)

DeSimone learned to cook from his grandmother and great-grandmother growing up in Laconia, New Hampshire. And while her goal of owning a restaurant hasn’t always been within her grasp, for the past four years or so, she has used the skills the family matriarchs taught her through a personal home chef business in the entire Côte-Nord region.

She chose her grandmother, Ella May, as the namesake of the new restaurant.

“I think these are the best ways to learn how to cook anything, it’s from your elders because they have so many years of experience,” she said. “They have so much knowledge about different techniques and different styles.”

Most of the ingredients on the restaurant’s menu are grown fresh in DeSimone’s garden, she said, and what she can’t grow on her own, she tries to source from local farms. She also uses personal recipes, some of which have been passed down by her family for generations. One recent morning, she was getting ready to make a batch of “Cowboy Candy” – candied jalapenos using peppers from her garden – which will be canned and sold in the store.

The menu has a wide range of breakfast options including omelets, pancakes, waffles, and breakfast sandwiches, as well as a small list of lunch options. DeSimone keeps the bakery case filled with a rotating selection of handmade pastries, such as mini cheesecakes, cinnamon buns, and cheesecake-filled banana bread.

She’s also working on getting her nutritionist certificate, and good nutrition is something she tries to emphasize in Ella May, she said. All of the restaurant’s baked goods can be made low-carb on demand – from cheesecakes and cupcakes to brownies – and she also hopes to introduce keto-friendly versions of popular menu items like pancakes. in the future.

“I want to take the supermarket off the table, that’s really what I wanted to do,” she said. “I wanted to be able to make this kind of ‘your neighbor’s yard’ deal.”

Tyler Perkins cooks breakfast for a customer at Ella May’s Country Kitchen and Bakery in Dracut. Perkins’ mother is owner Deana DeSimone. (SUN / Meg McIntyre)

Before opening, DeSimone had to make some updates to the space, she said, such as pressure washing all the kitchen equipment and moving the breakfast bar to make room for a cooking zone. DeSimone said she decided to place the cooking zone at the front of the restaurant so customers can see that everything is really made from scratch with fresh ingredients. She is adamant that nothing comes out of a box or a box, and said she works hard to make sure her food has authentic and unique flavors.

“Being a consumer was one of the biggest things I hated,” she said. “You could go to very few places and you knew it wasn’t from a box.”

DeSimone noted that the restaurant’s name isn’t the only way she tries to emphasize the importance of family. Her son, Tyler Perkins, works in the kitchen, and daughter Britney Bodreau often helps out on weekends with the baking and the waitress when she is from New Hampshire, DeSimone said.

” It’s the family. You can’t go anywhere in life if you don’t have the backbone of your family, ”she said. “So I really wanted to make sure this was a family business and that we really kept that family orientation with everything.”

Ella May’s Country Kitchen is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 6 a.m. to noon and Wednesday to Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additional information is available on the restaurant’s Facebook page at

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