Scotia

Heaping Helpings: Be Nourished cafe in Scotia, opened during pandemic, works to meet community’s dietary needs

Be Nourished owner Allie Bova,(right) and manager (Aunt) Rena Gallup inside their newly opened cafe on Sacandaga Road in Scotia
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Be Nourished owner Allie Bova,(right) and manager (Aunt) Rena Gallup inside their newly opened cafe on Sacandaga Road in Scotia

The smell of baked goods and soups waft through the air, and although her smile is hidden behind her mask there’s a twinkle in Allie Bova’s eyes and happiness in her voice as she greets customers walking into her cafe, Be Nourished on Sacandaga Road in Scotia.

Bova opened the cafe several months ago, a passion project she had been planning for some time and one that complements her husband Joe’s office next door, Bova Health and Wellness.

“He practices functional medicine, so he puts patients on very restrictive dietary plans for health purposes,” Allie Bova said. “So along with that, we’ve worked with people who have changed their diets and looked for healthy foods, and we found that it’s just very difficult for them to find things within their diet while out to eat.”

She wants her cafe to be a place that people can go to get something healthy but also tastes good. The eatery’s atmosphere is cozy and bright as daylight blankets the space, inviting anyone and everyone in to delight in soups, salads, baked goods, acai bowls and much more.

Bova said her passion for food is inspired by her family.

“I grew up with food always made from scratch, whether it was from my grandparents, at home, going to my aunt and uncle’s house. So family gatherings were always around food,” Bova said. “It’s a big part of what we do, so we wanted to extend that to the community.”

Everything is made at the cafe, from the soups to the salads to the baked goods, said Rena Gallup, Bova’s aunt who helps manage the cafe. Everything is also gluten-free and dairy-free. Gallup and Bova said they worked on the menu together. Bova said her favorite items are the salads.

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“I love a good big salad,” Bova said. She’s also a fan of the acai bowls. The Be Nourished acai bowl is the cafe’s signature item. It features blueberries, strawberries, bananas, coconut, organic peanut butter and honey from Nally’s, based in Glenville.

“I would say it’s a great introduction to an acai bowl,” Bova said. Her kids also love the bowls.

Bova said Gallup makes exceptional soups. However, Gallup’s favorite menu item isn’t a soup, but the very berry acai bowl, which consists of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cacao nibs and organic peanut butter.

Bova said she’s both dairy-free and gluten-free, and many of her husband’s clients are as well. She’s also able to cater to customer Kourtney DiGesare’s 11-year-old daughter, Giavanna, who is deathly allergic to dairy.

“That’s really freeing,” DiGesare said.

She said she knows her daughter is safe at the cafe because she won’t come into contact with any dairy products. Due to an autoimmune disease, DiGesare is also on a specific diet that includes being dairy- and gluten-free. She said the cafe provides her with food options that are delicious and healthy.

“It’s a very different feeling than if we go anywhere else,” she said.

DiGesare said her family loves the cafe so much they are there at least a couple of times a week if not more. One of those days includes Saturday, when she said she slips away with her husband for a breakfast date. Her daughter Sophia also works at the cafe on Saturdays.

“We’re all in,” she said. “It’s really a special place. You eat something and you feel nourished. You feel good about what you’re eating.”

Bova said she’s thankful for such a loyal customer base, adding that the ability to have people order online and then pick up at the cafe has really helped the business during the pandemic, as some people don’t yet feel comfortable dining inside restaurants.

Bova and Gallup said they will add seasonal items this spring and summer. As the cafe settles in, it’s likely more items will continue to be added and the business expanded.

Bova also tries to find ways to thank her community when she can. This year, Be Nourished offered a discount for teachers and veterans.

“Anytime we have the opportunity to bless somebody, we want to,” Bova said.

Bova said she’s looking forward to seeing people’s faces again without masks.

“We’re just looking forward to the day we can see people’s smiles again,” she said.

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Categories: Food, Heaping Helpings, Life and Arts

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