Vermont cafe keeps it simple and local, with a menu of soups and sandwiches

MONTPELIER — He trained in France and worked in high-end restaurants from New York to California. Now the owner of a new cafe in Vermont’s capital aims to keep things simple while taking the soup and sandwiches a step above the norm.

What is the place?

Joe Buley opened Café NOA on a small, winding alley on rue Barre in Montpelier on February 25, in the midst of a major snowstorm.

“People skied,” he said.

Café NOA is located near Joe’s Kitchen at Screamin’ Ridge Farm, where Buley has been producing soup for years that is sold at local stores and farmers markets. The cafe has some of that soup on the menu — the March 8 list included chicken tortilla, minestrone and cheddar beer — as well as coffee, tea and a variety of soft drinks.

The cafe’s raison d’etre, however, might be its sandwiches, served at breakfast and lunchtime. Egg sandwiches come with optional toppings including avocado, bacon, pulled pork, and kimchi.

A pork belly banh mi at Café NOA in Montpellier on March 8, 2023.

Sandwiches most likely to be ordered for lunch include grilled cheese, roast or smoked turkey, Reuben pastrami, and Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches with barbecued pork belly or tempeh. (The latter, Buley said, is the café’s most popular sandwich so far.) The sandwiches can be served on NOA Café’s homemade English muffins or on bread from Red Hen Baking in Middlesex, one Buley’s first soup customers. Diners looking for gluten-free options could eat a sandwich wrapped in a corn tortilla.