By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
NORTHBOROUGH – Britney’s Cafe in Northborough has, for more than two decades, acted as a friendly, bustling hub of good eats and socialization for customers from far and wide.
After a year and a half of pandemic life that tested and challenged all sorts of communities, the owners and staff at Britney’s are grateful to their customers and excited about their future.
“It’s amazing,” said Britney’s owner Judy Bartkiewicz in a recent interview.
Cafe seeks to offer cozy neighborhood environment in Northborough
Judy opened Britney’s with her husband, David, 22 years ago when they found themselves wishing for a local breakfast destination after dropping off their daughter, Britney, at St. Bernadette’s School in town.
Coupled with a trip to Seattle where Judy saw a cluster of homey cafes and coffee shops, the pair dove head first into opening a cafe bearing their daughter’s name.
Now, Britney’s offers a variety of menu options, including their famous pancakes and omelets, other common breakfast staples, and a variety of sandwiches and burgers for lunch.
Community welcomed cafe ‘with open arms’
The whole family pitched in as Britney’s Cafe got off the ground.
That included Britney’s “Grampy” Gerald Porcaro, as well as Britney herself, who was just six when the cafe opened.
“He held our hand throughout the whole opening and all the way up until when he got sick, he was there right by our side,” Judy said of Porcaro, who has since passed away.
Judy’s sister Annette has also lent a hand, continually helping support the cafe over the years.
“We work together with an awesome crew to make the cafe special,” Judy said.
As the family worked, the community welcomed their new business with open arms.
“They supported us and cared about us,” she said. “It’s been that way forever since we started.”
Cafe gives back during pandemic
The atmosphere inside Britney’s Cafe is one full of friendly energy and joy, Judy noted.
There are loyal regulars, large groups and families stopping by for a meal. One family from Rhode Island goes out of their way on an annual trip to New Hampshire to visit the cafe.
That energy continued during COVID-19, when Britney’s cut prices by 20 percent in recognition of the economic hardship many were facing.
In turn, Judy said, the community continued its support.
“This was all we knew, so they helped walk us through the pandemic,” she said. “It was amazing. I could never imagine how to pay all these people back.”
‘We eat, sleep and dream the cafe’
Britney’s Cafe remains a neighborhood destination for a hearty breakfast and a sense of connection in Northborough.
Eyeing a post-pandemic future, the family business is continuing efforts to embrace and care for all customers who are able to stop by.
“We eat, sleep and dream the cafe,” Judy said. “But it’s worth it.”
Britney’s Cafe is located at 291 Main St. in Northborough. Learn more at www.britneyscafe.net.