The team behind one of Newport’s busiest breakfast cafes is expanding their brand and talent to open a new restaurant this spring.
The Newport breakfast and lunch scene will grow this March when Matt and Anna Tscheulin, chef and owners of Rosemary & Thyme Artisan Bakery/Cafe, open Rustica Kitchen at 404 Thames Street.
Rustica Kitchen will be serving up street-driven and chef-driven food: “I want to make the stuff that I (and other chefs) like to eat. I think people like to get a little messy,” said Matt. “I’d like to take four or five really good ingredients that are combined in a way that you have enough food to satisfy people, but yet it’s unique. I want to take things (like a hotdog) and put my spin and creativity on it.”
Rosemary & Thyme has been serving fresh, scratch-made artisanal baked goods, such as scones, muffins, stuffed breakfast croissants, bistro-style sandwiches, salads, and much more in their European-Syle Cafe since 2010. Rosemary & Thyme will open for their eighth-year at 7 am on February 27th.
As far as the idea and inspiration for a second location in Newport, the Tscheulins have been looking for five years, and it comes out of necessity. “It comes out of necessity. You’ve been to our place, it’s just so small. It’s the number one complaint we get on Yelp and Trip Advisor, people say ‘great place but it’s only got 12 chairs’. So you’re fighting that and fighting that and after a while, you feel kind of bad but you also know that after a while that not only for the business to get better but for us to retire someday that you have to have a bigger place,” Matt said.
With the look and feel of shabby, sleek, and industrial, Rustica Kitchen can almost be considered the adult version of Rosemary & Thyme, and with more tables and space – it’s definitely a place you can hang out.
As far as changes to Rosemary & Thyme, there will be some. “Rosemary & Thyme is going to do all the baking and all the pastries are going to happen up there. In the beginning, we’re going to keep the breakfast options the same, the stuffed croissants will always be available there and probably never down here (Rustica Kitchen) because we’ll never be able to keep up with it. We’re going to keep the breakfast bagel program that we did, and we hope to eventually have a lighter lunch program up there (Rosemary & Thyme), but that’s all going to depend on hiring and staff,” Anna said.
The Tscheulins hope to open Rustica Kitchen on Tuesday, March 20th. Upon opening, the restaurant will be serving up breakfast and lunch, but the goal is eventually to include dinner.
“In the beginning, lunch will be done here (Rustica), we hope to seat about 40 or so. So we figure it will be a whole lot easier to do the baking up there (Rosemary & Thyme) and lunch down here (Rustica) and eventually expand,” Anna said.
Things that will eventually be available at Rustica Kitchen will include a phone-order only menu, grab-and-go street food snacks, use of BYOB, industry nights, brunch, and more. The Tscheulins anticipate that Rustica Kitchen will be open year-round.
“That’s another reason for the expansion and a second place,” says Anna. “We bake and make everything fresh daily, but we could only hold so much food (at Rosemary & Thyme) and only have so much space to keep food fresh and safe. Although the quality has always been so much more important to us than the quantity, that’s why we always ran out of things. With Rustica, we’ll have more space to do things”.
The Tscheulins begin baking at Rosemary & Thyme around 3 am daily. Opening the second restaurant will allow the Tscheulins to have Rustica and its kitchen focus on lunch, and Rosemary & Thyme and its kitchen to focus on baking longer into the day (rather than switching to lunch). That move means that Rosemary & Thyme will be able to increase the quantity and quality of its baked goods and breakfast program, while also supplying breakfast items to Rustica.
In addition to a light lunch menu, expansions at Rosemary & Thyme could eventually include expanded hours to make fun desserts available in the evening.
The Tscheulins are looking to add ten new employees to their growing restaurant team. Rustica Kitchen is currently looking for all house staff. FOH – servers, front counter, assistant manager. BOH – prep and line cooks, bakers, dishwasher. They are offering both full and part-time shifts. Qualified candidates should have previous restaurant experience in a busy environment. Apply here.
Rosemary & Thyme is located at 382 Spring Street in Newport. Rustica Kitchen is located at 404 Thames Street in Newport.