Bisque sales will rack up donations
MILFORD >> All through February, the butternut squash bisque at Bobette’s Take Out Bistro warms more than the tummies of customers.
A portion of the proceeds from each bowl sold during “Butternut Buddy” month is being donated to Beth El Center, which provides shelter for the homeless and food for the hungry.
“The connection between Bobette’s hearty soup and our mission to end hunger and homelessness is interwoven in such a special way. Not only are their customers buying delicious, nourishing soup, but they, in turn, are providing physical, mental and spiritual nourishment to our clients,” said Beth El Center Executive Director Toni Dolan. “Their support is greatly appreciated.”
Gary Caulfield, who owns the bistro with his girlfriend of 44 years, Bobette Moore, said they love helping, because “every time you see someone homeless, you think, not too much could happen and you’d be there.”
Caulfield said the monthlong fundraiser has through the years netted from $800 to $1,200 for the center annually.
Caulfield said most people are “a paycheck away” from being in need themselves.
The pair, in business for 29 years at 93 Boston Post Road, specializes in soups and also serve sandwiches, panini and salads. Each day, they offer about 10 different soups and 20 sandwiches.
Caulfield said they made soup the centerpiece when they opened the business because it occurred to him that it was rare at that time to find homemade soup in an eatery. Most people back then only knew soup out of a can, he said.
Neither he nor Bobette knew anything about making soup at first, so she became an expert with the help of friends, and trial and error. They started with only a microwave oven, then moved onto a stove, then soup kettles.
The couple quickly adopted the view that they could “make any dinner into a soup,” and through the years, aside from the staples like chicken orzo, spit pea and beef barley, have served lasagna soup, stuffed pepper soup, chicken pot pie soup and even a BLT soup that Caulfield quips may have been “going too far.”
More than a decade ago, they began offering the butternut squash soup in February to benefit the shelter. Caulfield said it began after he approached then-Mayor James E. Richetelli Jr. looking for ways he and Bobette could give back to the community.
The mayor told them Beth El was a cause close to his heart and referred them to Dolan, who embraced the butternut squash soup idea. The soup can be served pure or with brown sugar and walnut topping. Not only did they learn how to make soup, they’ve mastered it. Caulfield said their mussel chowder was a runner-up in the world Chowder Fest in Newport, Rhode Island.
Each day, they offer several staple soups and another six or so other varieties, including lobster bisque on Fridays and drunken tomato tortellini. He said their pea soup “almost has a cult following.”
Caulfield even collaborated with a musician friend to produce a CD, “She’s Got the Soup,” songs about food, healthful eating, soups, small-business hurdles. Many of the lyrics were written by Caulfield, including the song, “She’s got the Soup,” a bluesy piece written for Bobette’s birthday. There’s even a song about the butternut squash bisque.
So many people have asked for their recipes that the pair have an e-cookbook, “The Bobette One Pot Soup Method,” that can be ordered on Amazon for $4.95.
Although the bistro has a local following and lunch crowd — they deliver — Caulfield said they also get license plates from all over the country because travelers get off the highway to visit after reading their reviews on Yelp.
Bobette’s Take Out Bistro is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. They deliver as far south as Bridgeport and as far north as Orange.