Small town gourmet eatery is big time destination in Newton

| 15 Feb 2018 | 04:07

By Laurie Gordon
Two years ago, a new gourmet eatery came to Spring Street. Not only has Erin Louglas' Between the Bread thrived, but it's become the go-to place for amazing soups, luscious lattes, and exquisite sandwiches and pastries.
Of the past two years, Louglas said, “I feel like everyday I am reinventing myself and my restaurant. Every single day is a new situation and scenario, a new customer and something new to deal with. On the other hand, I like to refer to the first advice I ever received, 'Don't ever change your vision, if you start changing your personal vision to cater to what people are whispering in your ear, then it's not your business anymore, it's theirs.' So I try to find a happy medium between the two, I will be flexible and cater to pretty much anything/anyone, but at the end of the day, I do things the way I planned, I don't stoop down in quality or service for any reason.”
Between the Bread's most requested items include their soups.
“We sell out of soup every single day ‑‑ it doesn't matter if I make a double batch, a triple or 10 batches,” Louglas said. “Our famous latte is the Lavender Bee, made with local honey, locally roasted espresso and real lavender that I get from a little shop in Savannah, GA.”
The menu is seasonal but Louglas does keep a couple of the customers' favorites on every menu like the Rabbit, the Triple Threat and the Gobbler.
“We also have this amazing pot roast sandwich that I slow cook in red wine and pair with gruyere, crispy potatoes, maple aioli and spinach- that's definitely a huge hit in the fall and winter,” she said. “I think people really resonate with the fact that we don't really care about the cash register, we just care about making good food and making our guests happy and comfortable.”
Louglas was born and raised in Newton and went to Newton High School where she participated in concert choir, honors choir and touring choir. She was the choir manager her senior year and was also in student council and peer leadership. Louglas graduated in 2013 and went to Sussex County Community College for two years where she studied liberal arts taking all kinds of classes in math, the sciences, English and literature, public speaking, philosophy, economics and business.
Her culinary background started when she was a little kid. "My family always hosted parties at our house, and I always helped with that. My parents were a big part of the PTC at Merriam Avenue School so we were always cooking for spaghetti dinners, meetings, etc and I was always tagging along helping serve and cook," Louglas said, "I've always known scratch baking because my dad was always making muffins, biscotti, and all kinds of Italian desserts. As soon as I turned 16, I worked at a local cafe and I was very inspired by my boss. She was very creative with cooking and catering and I loved watching and helping her."
Once Louglas got to high school, she took cooking classes and won the Top Chef competition with the help of three other teammates. "My senior superlative was 'Most Likely to be on Iron Chef,'" she said, "Everyone knew me for my love of cooking. I baked cookies for everyone all the time."
Louglas was a server at a few different local restaurants and worked in bakeries. She attended Taste of Newton and noticed a number of available places to rent on Spring Street. She learned that the spot that had housed Andre's was going to be for rent, so she went to check it out and fell in love with the dining area. The next thing she knew, she was signing a lease and beginning a business.
Over the past two years, in addition to building Between the Bread, Louglas had become extremely involved in the community.
“I am currently running the Newton Merchant Association,” she said. “That organization ran Harry Potter Day which will absolutely be happening again this year. We are already planning it all. It's going to be huge and so much better then last year.” I
Louglas is also on the Board of Directors for The Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce.
“Additionally, I own Studio 171 with some partners and that's basically a community center,” she said. “We host yoga classes, crafting classes, makeup workshops, live music and a whole slew of other exciting stuff. I have a very close relationship with everyone on the street. We are all a big family and that is what makes Spring Street so fantastic. We all help each other out, cover shifts for one another, have dinner; there is no competition on our street or in our town, we're just a big family. A fellow shop owner actually told me yesterday that once I opened up, the street vibe changed a lot because my thing is to really bring people together.”
Catering is absolutely huge at Between the Bread.
“We cater literally everything. This month I have already booked out every single weekend for March and April for baby and bridal showers, birthdays, clubs, meetings, etc. I have a couple catering menus that I like to work off of. But my favorite thing is when I have bridesmaids come in with their Pinterest boards and ask me to work off of that. I get to be super creative, I learn a ton of techniques, and we get to make exactly what the customers had in mind. When we catered our last wedding, the couple wanted Greek food, so i made lamb meatballs with tzatziki, spanakopita, baklava, etc. It's always something fun and new, I'll do anything people want (as long as its not fried! Ha ha).”
Between the Bread offers pick up every day, and they do deliveries on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
“If I have a customer call me in the morning on a Tuesday and order a large order, I absolutely deliver it for them. It really depends on my staff but we can usually deliver any day with a $25 minimum,” Louglas said.
Of owning Between the Bread, Louglas said, “My biggest challenge is not only a challenge with the restaurant, but also a day-to-day challenge in my life. I am 22 years old, I have been in business since age 20. The most difficult thing in the world is getting treated with respect. People see me and think they can walk all over me but it doesn't last long. Not only am I a 'child' to most, but I am a woman. People get nervous when they see a young woman doing all that I do. It's an interesting dynamic when I have people ask me who's in charge. I smile and say 'That's me!' and people feel confused. Even women get a little weird about it sometimes, but I brush it all off because I was raised to be a leader and that's just what I am going to keep doing.”
She added, “It's really incredible when customers bring their daughters in to meet me and see all that they can accomplish with a little elbow grease and positive attitude. it makes me feel like I am making a difference and being a positive influence to little girls who are just like I used to be.”
Louglas holds events the NJ Sharing Network, a vital nonprofit that pairs those in need of organs and tissue with donors. This affiliation began because her mother is a recovery specialist there.
“We all call them the 'earths angels' because they save and enhance so many lives,” Louglas said. “I cater some of their meetings and luncheons but mainly, my mom and some of her coworkers and volunteers asked the Town of Newton to give Organ Donation it's own proclamation. So now Newton honors Organ Donation every April with ribbons and such. It's truly a wonderful blessing that I get to work with them.”
Louglas said, with heartfelt appreciation, “I just want to thank the community as a whole for supporting us for the past two years. It's been an honor to serve here in my favorite place, Newton, New Jersey.”
Located at 182 Spring St. in Newton, Between the Bread is open Tuesdays through Sundays. For more information, call (973) 940-0219 or find Between the Bread on Facebook.