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It’s BitterSweet on Shrewsbury Street As Sweet Kitchen & Bar Plans to Close Its Doors

Sweet Kitchen and Bar on Shrewsbury Street in Worcester, MA

Alina Eisenhauer, who has been dazzling Worcester with cupcakes and more at Sweet Kitchen & Bar on Shrewsbury Street, has decided with her partners to close the restaurant when the lease expires this month. The last dinner service will be Saturday, July 22 and the last brunch Sunday, July 23.

“This is an end but a new beginning too,” said Eisenhauer. “My partners and I wanted to go in different directions, and I wish them nothing but luck. I love this space. We were successful in it despite the pressures of the restaurant business. I know they will come up with something great and worthy of it just like we did when we moved Sweet here in 2013.”

Eisenhauer, who opened the original Sweet on the opposite end of Shrewsbury Street in 2008, is most disappointed she will not have more time to say goodbye and help her team. When the decision was made, she said, her biggest concern was for others: “No one should worry about me. I’ll be fine. My concern is for my staff, my guests, and the people who have events and orders with us for after we close.”

On those fronts, Eisenhauer has already made giant strides. She is using all her deep connections and relationships in the Worcester food and restaurant community and beyond. All the events and orders are being handled, and she is placing her staff as quickly as she can, “in the right job worthy of his or her talent . . . the best job, not just a job.”

For her customers, Eisenhauer says she would have “loved to take two months for a long celebration including a big farewell party (or two) but the reality is we have two weeks. So we are going to make it fun. We’re going to put everyone’s favorite stuff on the menu. Stuff people have asked for and cupcakes and dishes they request. My staff is amazing. We are going to do all we can!”

Plus, Alina assures us we’ll still be able to have our Sweet cupcakes and eat them too. The women who do the baking for Alina will be taking her recipes to a new location soon, which Alina will make sure to post about on her social media feeds, so keep checking back.

As for Alina? She built Sweet on her reputation and word of mouth, and when she is ready for something new, she won’t be shy about telling us. But for now she sees a silver lining:

“I’m taking a break and spending time with my family, which I haven’t been able to do for 10 years. Working 100 hours a week and regretting not spending time with them? My son is in high school. I’d like to be able to spend time with him and be at all of his games and events while he is still under my roof. I’ll do a little consulting, private events, and work on my YouTube channel and cookbook for now. But then there are so many more options now then when I started in this business, so I am going to take my time and explore them.”

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A Quick Bite With Dale LePage

Dale LePage (Photograph by John Preves)

For thousands of years, food has become a synonymous component of success. Books, journal articles and scientific research have all indicated its enormous function in the equation for a healthy and productive lifestyle. These studies boost the utopian living of homegrown, organic, in-your-backyard, eating habits that suggest it is the fundamental distinction between successful and unsuccessful people, assuming that all of the Greats cooked, ate and digested the holy grail of foods leading them to the top of the totem pole.

Dale LePage taking the microphone and performing to a private crowd in Sutton, MA
Dale LePage taking the microphone with his trio during a private performance at Vaillancourt Folk Art in Sutton, MA

“Food and my success? Nope, I rarely cook. I once sprained my wrist cracking an egg,” exclaims Dale LePage, multi-award winning New England Entertainer. “When I do cook, my husband is surprised if it has any taste at all.”

LePage is a connoisseur of personality. A vibrant being in the center of it all. A jack-of-all trades in the entertainment industry but don’t connect his eating habits with that of the path to success, because the last place you will find LePage is in the kitchen baking cookies.

“Preparing a meal would include sharp tools and my husband, Jeff Burk, keeps that drawer locked,” says LePage. “I appreciate the experience of five-star dining, instead.” While appreciating the culinary skills of Chefs and their ability to cultivate dishes that entice every human sense, for LePage, the restaurant dining experience is about more than just the food. “Although, I understand all of the hard work that goes into preparing a five-star cuisine, the one thing that sets the mood for me, when dining, is the wait staff.  Having a great wait staff will set the tone for the entire evening. As of now, the best service I’ve had was at Padavano’s Place. Oh, and if you go, don’t forget to try the Chicken Marsala.”

Personality is contagious. Laughter, smiles and a good attitude is said to be infectious and for LePage, the friendliness, ability and personality of the wait staff can shake off the heebie-jeebies of a bad dish.

While craving for top-notch experience and the ability to indulge in pre-prepped meals to order, he appreciates the very foundation of the food culture – the piece of the equation making eating all worth wild; comfort foods. “I have always been a fan of comfort foods. My mom used to make the best Sheppard’s pie, but with a recent trip to EVO, deciding on who owns the title of Best Sheppard’s Pie is a tough call – but don’t worry mom, yours is still the best,” he says.

Although, cooking is not a routine part of the day for LePage – a man boosting a hectic schedule between television hosting for Worcester Pride TV and Woo Tube and performing across New England – it is ultimately a piece of his life that brings an enormous level of humility and satisfaction; that is, as long as someone else is cooking. “Whenever we host a dinner party, we are sure to be clear on the invitation that Jeff is cooking. To ensure that people come,” says LePage, as he continues to describe his affection for the dinner parties with family and friends. “Even on nights we dine out, I love getting together with friends for dinner. My favorite is gathering a group of six close friends and heading to Sweet for appetizers, then walking over to Nuovo Restaurant for dinner – which is where I’ve had the best salmon of my life – then we continue the night at Ceres Bistro for drinks on their patio. After a long night, we usually end up at Nick’s on Millbury Street for an amazing homemade ginger bread topped with whipped cream, to appreciate the music. With everyone on social media, tweeting, sharing photos on Facebook and yelping, I find new places to eat all the time.”