The beef for Café Sarina’s grass-fed burger comes from just four miles down Route 133 at Herrick Farm in Rowley. Juicy and perfectly cooked to order, the half-pound patty, served on a grilled brioche bun with lettuce and tomato, is indicative of the restaurant’s philosophy—putting local ingredients first, wherever possible, to tasty results.
Vegetables are organic and local as much as possible, the goat cheese on their Mediterranean Salad comes from Valley View Farm in Topsfield, and the bread for some sandwiches comes from Fantini Bakery in Haverhill.
It’s no surprise that the Georgetown cafe—opened in 2019 by Steven Flynn Jr.—is focused on what’s seasonal and local. Flynn, who also owns Nunan Florist & Greenhouses next door, and his family have always been involved in the local community, supplying free plant rentals to nonprofits, hanging baskets to beautify area downtowns, and supporting organizations like Anna Jaques Hospital and local senior citizen organizations.
The café, named for Flynn’s daughter Sarina, who was born with Down Syndrome, is just one more way the family is supporting the community, with a gathering place focused on healthy food at fair prices. Open for breakfast and lunch, with dinner hours in the summer, patrons can find everything from trendy acai bowls to classic eggs Benedict, not to mention an array of salads and sandwiches.
All the café’s sandwiches, along with that tasty burger, can be customized with a variety of toppings. There’s cheese, of course, and applewood-smoked bacon from North Country Smokehouse in Claremont, New Hampshire, but you can also get a fried egg, or mushrooms, or even roasted red peppers.
While temptations abound, from a Reuben topped with more than a quarter-pound of corned beef to a caprese sandwich on a ciabatta roll, the star might well be the tuna melt. Inspired by one of chef/operations manager Katie Taricani-Hickey’s favorite staff meals, it starts with a slab of Fantini multigrain bread, topped with albacore tuna with just the right amount of mayo, celery, and onion, then layered with tomatoes, thick-cut North Country Smokehouse bacon, and Swiss cheese.
While it comes with shoestring fries, that might be gilding the lily—for an extra $2, you can substitute a side salad. Add a glass of Big Salt, a crisp floral white from the café’s thoughtful organic and sustainable wine selection, curated by Oz Wine Co. in Haverhill, and you have the makings of a leisurely lunch or evening meal. The café also offers a variety of beers, ciders, and hard seltzers that change seasonally—any of which are perfect for enjoying on the expansive patio, enhanced with a fire pit and the soothing sounds of a waterfall.
The waterfall is just one feature of the minigolf course below, which is planted seasonally with flowers and shrubs from the adjoining nursery, attracting turtles and rabbits in addition to players. It’s a fun way to do some shopping for your garden while enjoying outdoor entertainment—especially if you have kids in tow.
Of course, with the family-friendly vibe, there are plenty of options for little ones, from a Kobe beef hot dog to mac and cheese from Taricani-Hickey’s mother’s recipe. But we’d recommend the chicken tenders—and you’d better get a large order, because the adults are going to want to snag some, too. The recipe starts with organic chicken pieces marinated in buttermilk and spices, and breaded to order with gluten-free panko. The tenders are fried in a dedicated gluten-free fryer—a signifier of how seriously the kitchen takes food allergies. We promise, whether you avoid gluten or not, they are a winner.
If pandemic regulations allow, the café hopes to feature live music out on the patio, as they have in years past, adding to the relaxing vibe. Whether there is music or not, linger a bit longer for an ice cream at Kallie’s Kones, named for another Flynn daughter who beat cancer at the tender age of 4. Keeping with the theme, the ice cream, served from a window on the side of the café, is made by North Shore neighbor Richardson’s, just a short way to the south. The flavors are numerous, but right now we have a soft spot for Peanut Butter Oreo—enjoy it on the patio while watching golfers play through, or just listen to the running water.
Mains: Choice Grass-Fed Burger, $13
Tuna Melt, $9
Chicken Tenders, $12 (adult portion) $7 (kids portion)
Salad: Mediterranean Salad, $12
269A Central St., Georgetown, 978-769-5012, cafesarina.com