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New Food Services Come to NECC

Submitted by on September 4, 2019 – 8:10 pm
Felecia White stands at the counter in Newbury Cafe .

Felecia White stands at the counter at the Newbury Cafe in the Spurk Building on the Haverhill campus. 

With the start of the fall 2019 semester, Northern Essex welcomes two new food services and the return of another fan favorite to the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses.

CocoRay’s will offer everything from burrito bowls and tortas to pastelitos and everything in between at its satellite location in the newly renovated Dimitry Building at 45 Franklin St., Lawrence. CocoRay’s may be familiar to many as it was the first graduate of the Revolving Test Kitchen in Lawrence. This Mexican and Puerto Rican fusion restaurant has a permanent location at 197 Parker St., in Lawrence.

The current inhabitant of the Revolving Test Kitchen – Bocaditos returns for the fall semester with a new student-oriented menu that is budget friendly. The most expensive item is $6.99 which includes a sandwich, chips, and a drink. Prandy Tavares will be behind the counter at Bocaditos serving up breakfast and lunch sandwiches and a natural juice selection. It will be open from 8 a. m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Items from its full menu are also available.

Prandy and Katarina Travares can be found behind the counter serving up food at Bocaditos.

New to the NECC food scene is the Newbury Café, formerly Jitters, operated by Felicia White, in the Spurk Building. Salads, sandwiches, and home-cooked meals will be available at the Haverhill campus eatery.

All locations opened Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Ray Gonzalez, who owns CocoRays says he has barely slept for the last few weeks because he is so excited about opening an additional location.

The nearly 1,000 square-foot food bar in the lobby of Dimitry has all new equipment and furniture. Gonzalez says he looks forward to “breaking in” the new kitchen with help from clients of Opportunity Works. There is seating for up to 45 people.

Gonzalez, who is vegetarian, says he was certain to offer more healthful choices such as three salad selections, fruit cups, brown rice, and fruit shakes with no sugar or milk added. Nothing is fried everything is grilled. While there are rice cookers and warmers, some of the food will be prepared in the Parker Street kitchen.

CocoRay’s hours of operation will be 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday with the possibility of adding evening hours.

CocoRays’s budget friendly menu.

Meanwhile, Felicia White has been settling in on the first floor of the Spurk Building on the Haverhill campus where she is opening Newbury Café. It was named for the town the original settlers of Haverhill came from.

With 23 years of experience from dishwashing to catering, White is ready to tackle the food needs and catering needs of NECC. She hopes the café gives off a welcoming vibe. Breakfast will include bacon, eggs, toast, muffins, bagels, and yogurt parfaits. Lunch will include prepared salads and sandwiches, soups, and a hot meal.

“It’s home-style cooking,” she said. “I want people to feel like they do when they go to their parents’ house for a meal.”

She will occasionally introduce novelty items like a taco bar. Her goal she said is to keep the price point under $6. In addition to operating Newbury Café, she will also do catering upon request. She is prepared to serve everything from continental breakfast to assorted sandwiches to prime rib dinner.

Her full menu will soon be available here.

For more information on food providers go to the campus food page.