A new restaurant in Mansfield hopes to erase all memories of what came before it. Called Hearth Cafe, it's an independently owned new spot that opened July 10 in the Tom Thumb center off Route 287 and Country Club Drive. It went into the former Don Julio's Mexican Grill, which closed in the spring.
No, it won't have Don Julio's cheap Tex-Mex, nor its cheaper happy-hour specials. Hearth Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch only and it won't serve alcohol.
But as a nod to its predecessor, it does have Tex-Mex breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs and choice of brisket or tomatillo chicken; and chilaquiles verde, with sunny-side eggs, potatoes, pinto beans, jack cheese, and queso fresco for $10.
The rest of the menu is a wholesome lineup of pancakes, biscuits and gravy, hash, build-your-own omelets, and yogurt with granola.
Lunch includes meatloaf wrapped in bacon; a grilled cheese sandwich with smoked Gouda on sourdough; fried chicken sandwich on Texas toast; and a veggie sandwich with broccoli, cream cheese, spinach, and avocado.
If you take a second look, you can spot the occasional upscale touch in a dish such as avocado toast or an arugula salad with goat cheese. There's coffee but also espresso drinks including foamy cappuccinos.
Chef-owner Will Watson did some traveling and cooking at various beachside resorts before returning to his hometown Mansfield. Manager is Kyle Robertson, who most previously worked for Americado.
Their secret weapon is pastry chef Shana Graves, who's turning out fresh-baked goods daily. They're still working through the bakery menu; on opening day, they had blueberry muffin tops, salted chocolate chip cookies, and house-baked doughnuts.
"We'll see what people are responding to," Robertson says.
One thing they made sure to keep from the Don Julio's days: a drive-thru window. "That's something people liked, and we'll be serving espresso, coffee, iced teas, and baked goods," Robertson says.