Two New Beacon Cafes

Branche speaks to customers while spreading her message of peace, love and salad. Photos by K. Merry

Branche speaks to customers while spreading her message of peace, love and salad. (Photos by K. Merry)

Salads and smoothies on the menu

Butterhead Salad Company

Sabena Branche, the owner of the newly opened Butterhead Salad Company at 208 Main St. in Beacon, isn’t the person you might expect behind the counter.

For 20 years, she sold real estate. “I loved every minute of my job as a broker,” she says, but was ready for something new.

 Sabena Branche owns Butterhead Salad Company.

Sabena Branche owns Butterhead Salad Company.

It was during her nightly ritual of making creative salads for dinner that Branche had an epiphany. She thought customizing a house search might be similar to customizing a salad bowl. “You want to make sure the customer is getting exactly what they want,” she says.

She also was motivated by helping her sister, Cicely Prevost, who owned an eclectic boutique in Beacon, Ella and the Earth. Branche began creating recipes and, last spring, looked for a storefront.

This past fall, a space became available across the street from Ella and the Earth, and the sisters persuaded the landlord to let them split the storefront. Ella became House of Maxx and Branche gave notice at her job.

“Signing that lease and leaving the comfort of my 9-to-5 was both terrifying and exhilarating,” she recalls.

In her half of the space, she added rattan light fixtures and a wall of wallpaper covered in peacocks, her “spirit animal.” She took a maximalist approach to her menu. “I ordered top-of-the-line equipment to bake, fry and cook everything in-house.” There was a learning curve in a commercial kitchen. “It was intimidating,” she admits, “but I’m getting the hang of it.”

In addition to a packed salad bar, Butterhead has options for children, such as bento boxes and yogurt parfaits, as well as heartier meals for adults. “My partner is a meat-and-potatoes guy, so I also wanted to make sure we offer plenty of filling protein,” Branche says.

Butterhead Salad Company is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. See butterheadsaladcompany.com or call 845-440-6222. Salads and rice bowls start at $12 and quinoa bowls at $13.

Healthy in Color

Katrina Alvez and Angel Rodriguez met at Cascarino’s, a pizzeria in Montgomery where they both worked. “We developed a friendship first and then as we got closer, we realized that we shared the same dream — to own our own restaurant one day,” Alvez says. That dream is Healthy in Color, at 259 Main St.

Angel Rodriguez and Katrina Alvez show off two of their dishes outside Healthy In Color.

Angel Rodriguez and Katrina Alvez show off two of their dishes outside Healthy In Color.

Alvez, an Orange County native, has worked in food service since she was 16, working her way up to become the manager at Cascarino’s. Rodriguez, a native of the Dominican Republic, was hired as head chef in 2017.

Rodriguez says he learned to cook by watching his mother as a boy, then honed his skills at culinary schools, restaurants and cruise ships, although the latter made him realize he wanted a career on land.

Some of the menu items at Healthy in Color, particularly the smoothies, are inspired by the tastes of his childhood. “Bananas and mangos were always key ingredients where I grew up,” he says. “When I was little, I would blend them up daily and share them with my friends.”

The menu is a far cry from Cascarino’s. “Working in a pizzeria is a fast-paced and demanding environment,” Rodriguez says. “We would eat all that unhealthy food and it weighed on our physical and mental health.”

In 2020, the couple decided it was time to change their diets. “We made trips to the grocery store together on breaks and cooked up healthier meals in the pizza kitchen,” says Rodriguez. 

In early 2021, he began making his own line of organic juices. By late 2022, they  were ready to open their own space. Alvez and Rodriguez spent their early mornings, late nights and days off from the pizzeria at 259 Main, experimenting.

Whittling the smoothie menu down from about 50 to 14 options was a delicious challenge. In addition, Rodriguez says, “I am always experimenting with new produce and whole grains. I feel like I can let my imagination run wild.”

The cafe opened in March. Alvez continues to work at Cascarino’s as the business gets going; Rodriguez recently gave his notice.

When it comes to love and business, Alvez and Rodriguez believe they have found a balance. “We both have our strengths and we have learned to lean on each other,” she says. “It’s been a natural progression in our relationship and careers to start this business together.”

One long-term goal is to sell their juices to warehouse workers on overnight shifts as an alternative to fast food. “Discovering the benefits of healthy food was a life-changer for us,” says Alvez, “and we want to share that with as many people as possible, especially those who don’t have easy access.”

Healthy in Color is open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. See healthyincolor.com or call 845-440-6221. Breakfast starts at $8 and lunch salads at $11. Smoothies are $8 and energy juices are $6.

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