By Nikki Gardner
I walk into Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen on a booming Thursday morning. The tables are packed with the breakfast crowd, still lingering into the 10 o’clock hour. I take in the vintage charm, including a figurine of Betty Boop next to the bakery case, before wandering back to the kitchen where Auntie Cathie herself plates orders from tickets the servers tear from their order pads and pin to a clothesline, old school style.
Nothing fancy. Just a pen, notepad, calculator, and cash register, and it all works together seamlessly. We chat about her homemade coleslaw, jam, pickles, and gluten- and allergy-free baking mixes, all made and served in house. She and her team shop locally for daily specials and seasonal breakfast and lunch menus for eggs, meat, maple syrup, honey, goat cheese, blueberries, vegetables, and fruit from Blossoming Acres (Southwick), The Kitchen Garden (Sunderland), Barnum & Buckley (Southwick), Scantic Valley (Somers, CT), Sweet Pea Cheese (Granby, CT), and Gray Dog’s Farm (Huntington).
Beneath the cool retro vibe and mountain-high frosted cupcakes, there is a sense of home and being nourished by loved ones. As I watch plates of big beautiful pancakes, vegetable-laced omelets sidled up to home fries and gluten-free toast, and grilled salmon salads being carried out to one table after another, I understand why Auntie Cathie’s is West Springfield’s daytime hot spot.