The Book Nook Café: A Small Restaurant with a Big Heart
"Food is Love. Food is Family."
That's the philosophy of Lisa Graziano and her daughters, Natalie and Sofia. Together, they are the Book Nook Café located in the lobby of the Sierra Vista Library.
A Soft Opening and a Pandemic
Lisa Graziano and her daughters Natalie and Sofia opened the Book Nook Café in the Sierra Vista Public Library on February 24th, 2020, so their third anniversary is coming up. If you just did a quick memory check, you’ll remember that was mere weeks before the pandemic shut the world down.
“We never really got out of our soft opening,” owner Lisa Graziano muses. She and daughters Natalie and Sofia make up the entire staff of the little café tucked away in the lobby of the Sierra Vista Library.
The café is a true passion project for the family. Believe me when I tell you, if you have lunch with them once, you’re now part of the family. Don’t be surprised if they take the best care of you, treat you like they know you, and even call you by name when you come back for your second visit. And the food! So fresh and delicious, you'll wonder why you ever ate anywhere else.
Feeding You Like Family
“I feed my customers like I’m feeding my family,” Lisa says, and she really means it. Lisa told me she doesn’t order her ingredients from any of the big suppliers like Sysco, but instead personally shops for each of the dishes they create, all crafted with conscious love and care each week.
“Except for Fridays when we always have homemade chili, the menu changes all the time,” Natalie told me. It all depends on what’s in season and what they’re creating for that week’s menu.
While the specific flavors evolve all the time, at the heart of every menu is a variety of sandwiches, quiche, homemade soups, and a variety of baked goods. Everything, even down to the bread, is made fresh daily, and most of the dishes are made the moment you order. The fresh made oat bread is even Lisa's dad's recipe, right out of the little bakery he ran when she was a child.
Homemade Food & Vegan Options
Sofia told me they always create vegan options alongside the regular choices. Soups like lentil, chicken tortilla, loaded baked potato soup, are a few of the rotating choices. Some are vegan – all are delicious.
Lisa is a transplant from Massachusetts originally, but says she’s been living in Arizona longer than she lived in Mass. Aside from her obvious east coast dialect, she now considers herself an Arizona native.
Beginning in Bisbee where she opened the Cornucopia on Main Street in 1993, the little place started as a juice bar. At the urging of their customers, the Cornucopia expanded into some of the some of the delicious homemade fare offered at the Book Nook today.
Food Is Family
Lisa’s joy for food and care for her customers is so apparent, I asked her where her passion began. “I’ve been cooking my whole life,” she said quickly. Then she paused and amended her statement. “Well, not so much when I was a kid. That was my ma and my gramma,” her eyes softened as she waxed into memory.
“I come from a big Italian family," Lisa recalled. "The women were always cooking. That was how they loved us - with food. They made sure everyone came together. Our meals would last hours as we ate and visited. To me, food is love. Food is family.”
Lisa and her girls carry this philosophy into the Book Nook Café. “I think of food as gathering people together. Food is community. And in the digital age where everyone is always on their phone, I think we all need more family.”
When To Go
Visit the Book Nook Café in the lobby of the Sierra Vista Library Monday thru Friday from 9 to 2pm. Wanna see what’s cooking today? Visit The Book Nook Café on Facebook. See something you can’t live without, but not sure you’ll make it before they run out? Give them a call (520) 508-6656 and they’ll set some aside for you.
And when you visit, be sure to tell them "hello" from Val.