Main Street Eats
Rumors spread in Durham that a second location of the Big Bean was coming to town. Could it be true? If so it would be a dream come true. We have dined at the Big Bean Café in Newmarket several times and had never been let down. We’ve brought family and friends from all over to show off their incredible breakfast options that we can’t get enough of. Every college student knows or should know by now, if you want an inexpensive, delicious breakfast meal then you need to go to the Big Bean. And now the convenience of the cozy breakfast café is at our fingertips.
October 8 marked the grand opening of The Big Bean Café in Durham, New Hampshire. The hipster breakfast and lunch café is known for its cozy vibes and incredible breakfast options. From eight different eggs benedict dishes to their signature breakfast dishes, they do not disappoint. The menu offers classic breakfast dishes like their Big Bean Breakfast to more intricate dishes like the Eggs benedict with salmon and chive cream cheese.
The Big Bean has been serving intricate and incredible dishes for the past three generations. Before the most recent owners, Jon and Arley Wells took over the hipster cafes in early 2018. The Big Bean has been around for roughly 30 years. Jon Wells says the previous owners of the café are the creative brains behind the delicious menu that locals have come to know and love. But the menu is never completely finished. With new specials and tricks and treats up the sleeves of the cooks, “the whole staff experiments with different ingredients, everyone comes up with new stuff. That’s why the menu is the way it is,” said owner Jon Wells.
Co-owners and married couple Jon and Arley Wells have had over 20 years of restaurant experience from your neighborhood bar and grill, night club, to a little taste of Italy. Working in the restaurant business is different because of the variety of foods you can incorporate into your business, but overall they are all the same. “You’re here because you take pride in the foodservice industry,” Jon said. “The atmosphere is all about dedication and being hands-on.”
Owner Arley Wells, said they have a supportive staff at the Newmarket location which allows them to continue the work that needs to be done in Durham. Either Jon or Arley make it to the Newmarket location at some point in the day, while the other is in the Durham location.
Running two businesses and having a family is undoubtedly a lot of work. “No one is overwhelmed,” as the couple laughs trying to figure out which artwork should be framed in the to-go bakery connected to the dining side.
The Well’s are incorporating their original dining style and menu in the main dining room with the added benefit of a full bar. The Durham location does have a full bar stocked with liquor, wine and beer to make Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and Margaritas.
Although there is a bar and alcoholic beverages that may be served to celebrate birthdays or cure the necessary hangover, the Big Bean is still being advertised as a food-driven restaurant, said Jon Wells. The breakfast bar is still welcoming to parents and their families, and will not be seen as your “typical bar,” explained Jon.
The to-go bakery and casual sit-down café is located where the old Spot used to be. The counter service bakery will have menu items catering to vegetarians, vegans and people sensitive to gluten. Whether you’re going to your early morning class and want a quick breakfast burrito to go or sit down in between classes and have a smoothie or a piece of avocado toast; the Big Bean will have it all at a reasonable price.
Jon and Arley wanted to incorporate a cozy and inviting feel to the Durham location they feel is missing in the Newmarket location.
“People have been coming to us for a long time now, so we want to treat them right,” said Jon. Whether that is customers sit and have a little pick me up mimosa, dine in and enjoy the hardy, all-natural breakfast, or grab a cappuccino to go on the way to class; the main priority is the customer and always has been for Jon and Arley.
Having been in the business for as long as this power couple has, their hopes and dreams do not seem too far out of reach. Five years from now, Jon says he hopes the Durham location can have a steady flow of business throughout the day welcoming regular morning customers to students grabbing a muffin before rushing off to their next class.
No matter what this couple takes on next, they know their business will be nothing shy of exciting, creative and trendy.