Grand Opera House

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23rd Annual Golden Fork Awards

Q & A: Nicole DeFranza, Co-Owner, SAP (winner of Best Dessert and Best Breakfast/Brunch) and Carmella’s Italian Bistro

In your opinion, what makes SAP’s breakfast award-winning?107-GF-SAP

I think our success for breakfast is rooted in our quest to use the best possible ingredients, sourced locally when possible. I believe our guests not only love our delicious food and abundant choices (breakfast, lunch and dinner all day), but also appreciate our excellent staff who are always smiling and continuing our mission to give every guest who walks through our doors the best possible experience. This can only happen when our front of house and back of house are working together and providing the support each needs to thrive. Both [Co-Owner] Kristen and I are in awe of the amazing teams that work so hard every day at both Sap and Carmella’s. We would not be who we are without them!

What makes SAP’s desserts special?

I think what strikes me the most is how beautiful and colorful the dessert cases always look, very reminiscent of those I was in awe of during my travels throughout Europe. I think it’s safe to sat that Kari Mueller is one of the best pastry chefs in the state and we are so very lucky to watch her hard at work every day and to enjoy the fruits of her labor. The demand from our guests for her delicious creations keeps her so busy that she now has a team of pastry chefs under her, all of whom have blossomed under her diligent teaching and leadership. There is always something new that must be sampled. She weaves the most unique flavors together in a way that lets the ingredients shine. Never too sweet, just honest and pure. Just like her!

Any knockout desserts that people have to try?

Part of what’s great about Kari is her never-ending quest for something new and different, but if you get the chance, you absolutely must try her lemon meringue tarts or her carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing — two of my personal favorites. —ACW

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