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Norwich — When you hold a grand opening ceremony for a new bakery, you don’t cut a ribbon, you cut a freshly baked 5-pound Russian rye bread.
Partners Bob and Tom Adams — longtime restaurant business owners in the Norwich area — celebrated the opening of Poppy & Rye at 137 Norwich Ave. in Taftville Friday with about 30 city and state officials and several customers who just stopped in for coffee and pastries.
Tom Adams handed the long bread knife to Mayor Deberey Hinchey to do the honors.
“Think of this as the budget,” his brother Bob Adams said, pointing to the bread.
Hinchey said she already has been to the bakery several times since it opened informally in mid-July.
“It is so wonderful to have all these fresh-baked goods here in Norwich,” Hinchey said.
The bakery features several regular breads baked daily, including seeded and seedless rye, pumpernickel, Italian and sourdough breads. The huge Russian rye breads are cut and sold in quarters. The café serves breakfast and lunch sandwiches and eight coffee flavors, a dozen types of tea and Willimantic-based Hosmer Mountain soda.
On Fridays, the ovens are filled with challah, Jewish braided egg bread. The aroma of large trays of challah filled the air at Friday’s grand opening.
Staff served samples of hermit cookies, almond and walnut pastries, tea and iced coffee to guests.
Pat and Bob Demars of Norwich stopped in at the café for quiet cups of coffee, unaware of the grand opening ceremony that packed the place with politicians, business leaders and well-wishers. They also were pleased to be handed a coupon for a free drink or pastry with a future purchase.
“It’s a very good place,” Pat Demars said. “They have a nice selection of pastries.”
The Adams own the building that recently housed the Taftville Family Restaurant. When that business moved out, the brothers decided to open their own place rather than try to find another restaurant tenant.
In addition to Bob and Tom Adams, Poppy & Rye has five full-time employees and two part-timers.
Bob Adams, 57, owns Adams Restaurant Equipment a short way down Route 12 at 727 Boswell Ave., and Tom Adams, 67, had been retired. The family started with a doughnut shop, Colonial Maid, in 1972 and converted that into a full bakery as Treat’s Bakery in 1980. They sold the business in 1989 and it eventually closed.
Bob Adams opened a new Treat’s Bakery in Franklin two months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. His partner was in the National Guard and was called away frequently. Adams gave up after the five-year lease ended.
But with Poppy & Rye, he is as busy as ever, running the restaurant supply store, an auction business and a personal property appraisal business.
“This now is taking 16 hours a day,” Bob Adams said, showing an employee how to roll out rectangular dough that will be cut into pastry strips. “When we get people trained, we’ll be OK.”
Location: 137 Norwich Ave., Taftville
Hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
Phone: (860) 383-2026