Blue Plate Special: A taste of home at the Dove’s Nest in Sunderland

  • Wendi Rose, owner of the Dove’s Nest Restaurant is Sunderland, says “I’m your waitress, your cook, your cashier, your everything” first thing in the morning. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Dove’s Nest Restaurant’s Mexican omelet — one of Rose’s best-selling dishes — is made with onions, peppers and American cheese and topped with tomatoes, salsa and sour cream. Each order includes home fries and buttered toast. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Wendi Rose, owner of the Dove’s Nest Restaurant in Sunderland, cooks her Mexican omelet at the grill. “You don’t have to read a long description to know what’s in the dish.” Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

For the Recorder
Published: 5/10/2019 2:44:33 PM
Modified: 5/10/2019 2:44:20 PM

Wendi Rose’s life has seen a lot of changes since she took over the Dove’s Nest Restaurant on Amherst Road in Sunderland last year. But the hardest change was getting up at 3:30 in the morning.

In her previous 32-year career as a hairdresser, Rose said, she liked to sleep until 8:30 a.m. Despite the hard hours, though, she relishes her work as manager and chief cook at the Dove’s Nest.

“I love to cook,” she enthused. “I can go to work and say, ‘What kind of soup do I want to make? What kind of pie do I want to make? What kind of muffins do I want to make?’ I do whatever I want. It’s very creative.”

The Dove’s Nest serves breakfast and lunch (but mostly breakfast) daily except Tuesdays. It doesn’t officially open until 6 a.m. on weekdays, but the official hours don’t deter Rose’s loyal and hungry clientele.

“I get in at five o’clock, and there are three or four customers waiting in the parking lot,” she explained. “People rely on me to come in that door by five o’clock. I’m cooking by 5:15. ... I’m alone in the morning from 5 until 6:30. I’m your waitress, your cook, your cashier, your everything.”

Despite admitting to not being a morning person, Rose manages to stay cheerful.

“It’s nice to hear the spoons dinging in the coffee cups and the guys laughing,” she said. “They tell me a joke, and I pass it along to the people at the next table. It’s a very nice atmosphere. I actually look forward to going to work every day.”

Rose celebrated her first year at the Dove’s Nest in April. She actually purchased the business in January 2018, but she spent a few months on renovations. These included painting the countertop, putting in new flooring, refurbishing the baseboards and installing a hood above the grill.

She proudly announced that she has retained many of the restaurant’s old customers and attracted new ones.

“We have a lot of new faces,” she noted. “And my customers from doing hair come to the restaurant.”

She paid tribute to the role her mother and father, who live in South Deerfield, have played both in bringing in customers and in running the business.

“They work for free,” she said with emotion in her voice. “I want to say thanks to my parents for helping me out and supporting me working these crazy hours.”

Rose feels she has settled into a strong routine at the Dove’s Nest. She continues to serve many of the foods the previous owner prepared, but she has added items to the menu and may add more as time goes by.

Asked to sum up her style of cooking, she laughed.

“Some people characterize it as ‘the greasy spoon,’” she replied. “Eggs over easy and so forth. You don’t have to read a long description to know what’s in the dish. It’s very easy to look at the menu and read it. In some places, it takes you a half hour to order because you have to read all 30 things on the menu.”

Eggs are always popular at the Dove’s Nest, Rose noted. In fact, her two best-selling regular dishes are the hobo omelet (which she called “a little bit of everything”) and the Mexican omelet, for which she shared the recipe below.

Her daily specials have also attracted a following, she said. These include a Polish lunch every Wednesday and haddock every Friday. The specials are advertised in the Greenfield Recorder on Monday, and customers call in to reserve them, something she recommends because the specials generally sell out.

“People know it’s home cooking,” Rose said with a smile.

Dove’s Nest Mexican Omelet

Ingredients:

½ cup mixed chopped onions and bell peppers

3 eggs

A dollop of milk

2 slices American cheese

3 tomato slices

1 spoonful of sour cream

2 spoonfuls of salsa

Fry the onions and peppers on a griddle. (Rose uses pre-cooked onions and peppers to prepare dishes faster. Home cooks may do this or may just cook them before starting the eggs. If your stove has no griddle, use a small skillet and fry the vegetables in a little neutral oil.)

Whisk together the eggs and milk. Spread them as flat as you can on a griddle (or in a frying pan with melted butter). Place the cheese on top. Cook until the eggs set and the cheese melts.

Place the grilled vegetables in the middle of the egg mixture, and fold the eggs over to make an omelet. Place the omelet on a plate. Top it with the tomato slices. Scoop a little sour cream onto the middle tomato slice, and scoop salsa onto the other two.

Rose serves this omelet with toast and home fries. Serves one generously.

Tinky Weisblat is the award-winning author of “The Pudding Hollow Cookbook,” “Pulling Taffy” and “Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb.” Visit her website, TinkyCooks.com.


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