By Paul Schott
Connecticut Post, Bridgeport
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet the two Connecticut mompreneurs who are sharing their love of granola through an expanding business that caters to health-conscious consumers.
Julie Mountain and Dana Noorily released this week a “greatest hits” collection.
The casual-dining entrepreneurs describe their latest Granola Bar, which opened Monday at 700 Canal St., as a compilation of the best of their offerings from their restaurants in Westport and Greenwich.
At The Granola Bar’s first takeout-only location, local gastronomes can find a range of granola and parfait specials, egg dishes, salads, smoothies, sandwiches and wraps, baked goods, and coffees and teas.
“For us, the space spoke to testing out this to-go concept, and that’s how it was built,” Mountain said in an interview Tuesday. “Something that’s important as a brand is to be able to get you out quickly. These are the menu items that are not only delicious but items we can produce in a to-go environment in five minutes or less.”
Recruited by the owners of 700 Canal, Mountain and Noorily said they were drawn to the South End address by its bustling location, which adjoins the mixed-use Harbor Point complex.
“This is an up-and-coming area,” Mountain said. “It’s got youth, it’s got families, workers and health-conscious people.”
Granola Bar’s new space occupies some 900 square feet. Its layout compares with those of the Westport and Greenwich Granola Bars, except that it does not include seating. Highlighting the on-the-go theme, an extensive “grab-and-go” display in the front features wrapped sandwiches, salads and baked goods, and other prepackaged items.
The interior projects a post-industrial décor, with its exposed piping and gray-tinted color scheme. A yellow espresso machine accentuates the palette.
Coffee made by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Toby’s Estate and tap and canned versions of the nitro cold-brew coffee made by Stamford-based Rise Coffee and Half Full Brewery feature on the drinks menu.
“The coffee-making is almost like a show,” Noorily said. “It’s something you can watch and enjoy while it’s being made.”
Eight people work daily at the establishment, open seven days a week. Situated in the same plaza as the Serendipity Labs co-working center, the Stamford Granola Bar serves a large number of office workers.
“The coffee is delicious,” said Jacqueline Collins, holding an iced latte during a lunchtime stop Tuesday. “It’s a great establishment, and it’s convenient because I work in Stamford.”
The original Granola Bar opened at 275 Post Road East in Westport in December 2013, followed by a second at 41 Greenwich Ave. in Greenwich in May 2016.
Mountain and Noorily previously ran a granola business, Oats, whose products they sold in Whole Foods outlets and other stores.
Earlier in their careers, Mountain and Noorily respectively worked in music marketing and sales and finance in Manhattan before taking a few years to focus on raising their children.
Mountain’s children are now 7 and 9 years old; Noorily’s children are 9 and 11. Mountain lives in Weston, while Noorily resides in Westport.
A busy next few months await Mountain and Noorily. A fourth Granola Bar is scheduled to open this summer in Rye, N.Y. Also this summer, the owners plan to launch a catering and events division that will include a food truck.
“We’re growing,” Noorily said. “We’re in expansion mode.”