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Peterborough

Social Grove serves up homemade atmosphere

  • Maria Crowley prepares soup at Social Grove cafe as Caitlin Mooney,  Nicole Bishop and Lisa Black, from left, keep busy in the kitchen.
  • Caitlin Mooney, Nicole Bishop, Maria Crowley and Lisa Blakc behind the counter at Social Grove cafe.

PETERBOROUGH ­— After a number of years of waitressing and bartending experience in area restaurants, Nicole Bishop and Maria Crowley are making the leap to ownership, opening Social Grove, a new cafe in the 43 Grove Street building that houses Ava Marie Chocolates and several other businesses.

The two women met while working at Marzano’s restaurant in Peterborough, where Crowley still waitresses occasionally. They both like to cook but also love to interact with customers, and the small open kitchen in the newly renovated space gives them an opportunity to do both.

“We’re not stuck behind the scenes,” said Bishop on Friday, as the two women sat at a table next to the counter. “We get to talk to people, which we love.”

Crowley, 29, grew up in Temple and now lives in Peterborough. She has a 1 1/2-year-old daughter, and had been thinking of ways to add to her income.

“I’d been planning a cupcake business and I took in some samples to work,” she said. “Then Nikki approached me with the idea for this business. With a partner, it seemed much easier to accomplish. And here we are.”

Bishop, 33, is originally from Ashburnham, Mass., and moved to Peterborough with her family five years ago. She has two children, who are 9 and 1 1/2 years old.

The cafe has been open for about three weeks, after Bishop and Crowley worked since April to get the kitchen, counter space and tables installed.

“We were general contractors for a few months,” Bishop said. “We wanted to iron out the kinks, but now we’re ready. We do breakfast and lunch, and dinner on First Fridays.”

Bishop and Crowley said their sandwiches are made to order, with the turkey special panini especially popular. Their lobster macaroni and cheese has also been a hit.

“We’re doing everything homemade right here,” Crowley said. “We don’t buy cold cuts. We roast our own meats for the deli.”

The women are also offering catering service.

Bishop and Crowley are planning a grand opening this Friday, when they will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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