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Lovin’ Cup offers healthy and hearty meals in Huntsville

By Valerie Phillips - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Dec 29, 2021

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Owner/chef Jay Tyler poses outside the Lovin’ Cup Café in Huntsville.

Lovin’ Cup Café has an Old West-meets-rock-concert vibe. In a good way.

The building, next to the Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville, is made of rough-cut logs and wood flooring. But inside, owner/chef Jay Tyler decorated it with posters of concerts he’s attended, such as the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Jeff Beck and Widespread Panic.

And the menu reads as if you’re attending a concert. It starts out with a list of “Openers,” or light breakfast items, and moves on to “Headliners,” or hearty breakfast fare. Then there’s the “Second Set” of sandwiches; “With Special Guests” featuring sides, soup and salads; and finally the “After Party” of desserts.

Many of the items have song references. For instance, Born on the Bayou (the Creedence Clearwater hit) is a three-egg omelet with Andouille sausage, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheddar and jack cheese, served with Cajun potatoes (breakfast potatoes with Cajun seasoning) and toast.

I Am the Eggman (from the Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus”) is a breakfast sandwich with two over-hard eggs, tomato, cheddar and jack cheese on grilled sourdough. The bread is made in-house from a sourdough starter that’s seven years old and counting.

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The New England-style clam chowder with house-baked sourdough bread is one of chef/owner Jay Tyler’s signature dishes.

The popular Ruben and Cherise (from a Grateful Dead song) is a Reuben sandwich of corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese on grilled rye bread. There’s also a Raspberry Beret salad, which gets its Prince-inspired name from the house-made berry vinaigrette.

Even the restaurant’s name, Lovin’ Cup, comes from a Rolling Stones song.

“I’ve been in a band, and we played that song a lot,” Tyler said. “Lovin’ Cup also fits well because soups are a major part of what we do here.”

In fact, for every bowl of soup sold, Tyler donates 25 cents to the food bank.

“I told my daughter when I make my first million, I’ll start donating,” he said. “But I realized that I probably won’t make that in the restaurant business, so I might as well start donating now.”

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Owner/chef Jay Tyler of the Lovin’ Cup Café.

New England-style clam chowder is his signature soup, drawing from his upbringing near Boston. While working at the Appalachian Mountain Club in New Hampshire, he learned secrets of making soup from scratch and developed his creamy, crowd-pleasing clam chowder.

“If I ever get famous, I hope it’s for my clam chowder,” he said. “It’s authentic; it’s what I grew up with.”

After traveling and working in Australia, New Zealand and then a summer in Idaho, he found his way to Ogden. He spent 20 years cooking in Ogden restaurants, including Rooster’s and Jeremiah’s.

In 2017, Tyler opened First Class Catering and had a successful run selling soup at the Ogden Farmers Market. Then, he heard that the Huntsville building — former home of the Blue Coyote Café — was available.

“I’ve skied a lot up here and I think it’s beautiful, and it’s growing,” Tyler said. “I wanted to get in here while it’s young.”

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The popular Smoked Up Salmon BLT features salmon that’s smoked in-house.

Currently, the restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, except Tuesdays, when it’s closed. Tyler hopes to expand the hours and add a nightly dinner special when he’s able to hire more staff. His daughter, Holly, is one of his staffers.

“It’s important to me to give people a good job and pay our servers a living wage,” he said. “I’m trying to make it a good, healthy work environment instead of high stress with everyone yelling at everybody. That just doesn’t fly anymore.”

His menu — mostly made from scratch — offers a variety of both healthy items and hearty comfort foods, “so there’s something for just about everyone,” Tyler said.

Many of the “Openers” are nutrition-minded, such as the Bruce Banner (a green smoothie of avocado, mixed greens, fresh banana and organic plant-based protein powder) and the Purple Haze Bowl (acai berry blended with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and banana topped with local honey, coconut and house-made granola).

There’s also Loxed, Stocked and On A Bagel (house-smoked salmon on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, caper and red onion).

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The Rock ‘n’ Cinnamon Roll is made from scratch at the Lovin’ Cup Café.

“We smoke the salmon ourselves,” Tyler said.

It’s also used in the Smoked Up Salmon BLT ($13.99), where the salmon is sandwiched with thick-cut bacon, lettuce, tomato and lemon aioli.

The top-selling “Headliner” breakfast is What’s Shakin’ Bacon and Eggs, consisting of two “Farmhouse” eggs, three strips of thick bacon, Cajun potatoes and toast. The eggs are referred to as “Farmhouse” because it’s a song by the band Phish, said Tyler, adding, “I hope to use local eggs soon.”

Another popular breakfast “Headliner” is the Wakenbake Breakfast Bowl, a mix of eggs, peppers, onions, cheddar and jack cheese with a choice of Cajun potatoes, tomato slices or mixed greens. You can add bacon or sausage for $2.50.

The Rock ‘n’ Cinnamon Roll is baked in-house, and “our French toast is made with our own banana bread,” Tyler said.

The restaurant has indoor seating for about 45, mostly upstairs, with large windows offering views of Ogden Valley. In summer, there’s plenty of outdoor seating due to the wraparound porch, large back deck and upstairs balconies.

“In the summer, this place will really be hopping,” Tyler said. “But we also have to get through the shoulder seasons. We have to make this a destination because we don’t have a lot of foot traffic.”


If you go

LOVIN’ CUP CAFÉ

Location: 7355 E. 200 South, Huntsville

Contact: 385-364-4200; thelovincup.com

Prices: $3.95-$13.95

Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily (closed Tuesdays)

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