Ambler Spotlight: Sweet Briar Café

by Caitlyn Walsh

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Sweet Briar Café is a quaint farm-to-table restaurant tucked in the charming borough of Ambler.  The family-friendly café, which serves breakfast and lunch every day as well as dinner Tuesdays through Sundays, sources its ingredients from local farms as much as possible, including from its very own Sweet Briar Farm. The owners grow their own ingredients on their farm, in their home gardens, and even on site. You can’t get much fresher than fruits and veggies picked straight from the vine and put onto your plate! With scrumptious and unique daily specials, wonderful baked goods, and a wide variety of ice cream, this Ambler café is a local favorite.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes exclusively at Sweet Briar Cafe

Root Beer Float Cupcakes exclusively at Sweet Briar Cafe

In the historical borough of Ambler, where community support and friendship are a huge part of daily life for the locals, Sweet Briar Café found its home. It was 1924 when the grandparents of Jeaneatte Talese bought the Sweet Briar Farm, located in Bedminster of Bucks County, PA. Jeaneatte, or JT as the locals of Ambler affectionately know her, opened the Sweet Briar Café in downtown Ambler in May of 2012. In an effort to bring something new to town while supporting local venders and farms like the one she grew up on, JT and her husband, Frank, helped create a lunch spot favorite.

We sat down with JT and Chad, the head Chef at Sweet Briar, to discuss the café and why it is such an important part of the Ambler community and found out that they are true to their word. Just about the only thing not sourced locally at the restaurant is its paper and packaging products and a few exotic fruits! All other veggies, fruits, eggs, meats, and baked goods are gotten from farms and venders in the surrounding area. These include Nelson’s Ice Cream store located in Royersford, Sunflower Farm located in Quakertown, and a local man named Mr. Rittenhouse, who is well-known in the community for his old fashioned blue truck that brings fresh produce from Souderton, to the locals of Ambler.

13087666_1112002578863464_7808856438826656414_nJT is passionate about the community, “I love my town. Ambler is only one square mile. My feeling is that there are some awful things going on out there, on the news, in the world. Seeing it all just enforces my passion for what we do at home, in our own backyard. We can’t control what’s going on in the rest of the world, but we can have influence over what’s going on in the next mile, and that’s where you have to start. That’s my belief. I’m a community-minded and hearted person, and if I can share some of my parsley or herbs that I’m growing at the café with a customer, then those are the little things in life that we should be doing for each other that makes it all worth it.”

Another draw to this lovely café is its outdoor seating, live music on the weekends, family friendly service, catering, and what many call the best ice cream in the county. Nelson’s Ice Cream store works with the café to bring a large variety of flavor’s to Sweet Briar customers, for an affordable price. The café also does a lot of catering, but what makes their service unique is that Chef Chad works with each individual customer to create exactly what they would like, regardless of whether or not it is on their menu. Furthermore, they have recently started providing custom baking services to their customers. You can now get several flavors of Sweet Briar cheesecakes, ice-cream cakes, cupcakes, and more.

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SweetBriar Breakfast Burrito 2 eggs sautéed onion, peppers, tomato & cheddar cheese over spicy black bean purée

The café is the preferred spot for Sunday brunch. Customers love sitting on the patio in the spring and summer months while they enjoy the widely varied and ever-rotating specials menu. You can find things like a cheeseburger omelet with home fries, strawberry, banana & chocolate pancakes, chicken and waffles, zucchini fritter eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce, and the list goes on! They also have their very own Sweet Briar coffee roasted by Backyard Beans, located in Lansdale, PA, as well as espresso by Parry Roasters of Ambler, PA.

The breakfast, lunch and dinner specials are updated daily on their website and Facebook page each morning for convenience. Customers are also welcome to the café’s BYO policy, and may even get a special treat during one of the Tuesday Special Tasting dinners, which often feature a local brewer, winery, or distillery giving out samples.  These tasting dinners take place on the first Tuesday of every month and include four mouth-watering courses for only $28.00. Almost all of Sweet Briar’s meats are purchased locally and roasted in-house without any preservatives, including their highly sought-after roast pork sandwiches.

Braised local short ribs in coffee and chocolate over pappradelle topped with fresh herb ricotta cheese.

A dish featured at a recent Tuesday tasting dinner – braised local short ribs in coffee and chocolate over pappradelle topped with fresh herb ricotta cheese.

Summer Caprese Shrimp- sauteed jumbo gulf shrimp in a homegrown basil pesto, served with cool roasted corn and Sweet Briar Farm tomato orzo salad

Summer Caprese Shrimp- sauteed jumbo gulf shrimp in a homegrown basil pesto, served with cool roasted corn and Sweet Briar Farm tomato orzo salad

It’s no surprise that Sweet Briar frequently tops the Montco Happening List competition, taking home dozens of awards over the past several years. Those accolades include being named Montgomery County’s best “Brunch”, “Burger”, “Kid Friendly Dining”, “Chef”, and “Brunch” as well as one of the best in”Ice Cream”, and “Desserts”.

Sweet Briar strives to support their community and local charity events by any means possible. Chef Chad says one of his favorite things about being located in Ambler is the community support. “You walk in, and we know you by name, and you know us by name.  Our servers already know what people like, and I love that small town, comfortable feeling. It can really feel like a family.” So whether you go for the delicious locally sourced breakfast, lunch, dinner or ice cream, one thing is certain: an inviting ambiance will be included.

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