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Virginia caterer brings hospitality home with Harvest Table café

'The location is so key. We walked in and felt like home. We want people to walk in and feel like home.'
Posted at 10:12 AM, Nov 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-27 10:13:10-05

DAYTON, Va. — Of many things, Belinda Koteita is a mom, a daughter and a caterer.

Those three things come into play in the new restaurant and coffee bar Koteita opened with her family in October.

“I’ve been around food and setting the table for people with food my whole life,” Koteita said. “(It feels) very surreal.”

Harvest Table recently opened on John Wayland Highway in Dayton, near Grammie’s Ice Cream and Valley Water Gardens.

Celebrating a soft opening, the new café, called Harvest Table, had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its grand opening prior to the annual Dayton Days Autumn Celebration, a vendor market and festival that draws thousands to Dayton’s historic district.

During the ceremony, Koteita, her husband Blake, mom Irene Koogler, kids and friends -- along with representatives from Dayton -- crowded on the porch of the new restaurant, beneath a stylish swag of gold, black and white balloons as kids helped cut the red ribbon with the scissors for a crowd of customers and supporters.

With a full kitchen, catering, special rotating menu, coffee bar and indoor and outdoor seating, Belinda Koteita curated everything customers need for a grateful gathering any time of year.

Harvest Table has a regular menu including the Brisket Biscuit with ‘Bama Sauce – a sliced soft biscuit with sweet and savory brisket slices and a side of ’Bama white barbecue sauce.

“This will be another place that people can gather and share a meal together,” Dayton Mayor Cary Jackson said at the event. “It’s one of the things I love is watching family and friends enjoy a meal together.”

The café menu also includes nachos -- a fresh and wholesome take -- made with fresh lime and cilantro, warm queso blanco, black beans and warm ground beef and diced tomatoes on crunchy tortilla chips, along with amped-up classics like the Maple Bacon Cinnamon Roll, harvest granola parfait and mini charcuterie.

Harvest Table has a full coffee menu, including hot and iced coffee, espresso drinks and seasonal flavors, including a pumpkin spice chai latte.

Koteita said she was inspired by the feeling of gathering around a table to create her restaurant. She grew up in the area and worked at the Dayton Inn, in addition to catering with her mom and making meals for sale with friend Ashley Cook.

“Hospitality is her niche. She’s amazing at serving, taking care of people,” Cook said. “So to combine food and hospitality is her wheelhouse.”

The restaurant has a clean, modern vibe, with natural wood, black and white accents and green plants. It features a comfy couch in one corner, so diners and coffee drinkers can relax and recline.

“The location is so key,” Koteita said. “We walked in and felt like home. We want people to walk in and feel like home.”

“We want to host people and we want to do events,” said Blake Koteita, who owns the restaurant with Belinda. “It’s so much more than coffee or a café.”

Upcoming special events at Harvest Table include a Baking Spirits Bright Cookie Decorating Party, a ticketed event to decorate a half dozen holiday-themed cookies to take home, according to Harvest Table’s Facebook page.

In addition to the regular menu, Harvest Table features a rotating special meal, like bourbon chicken with scalloped potatoes and salad. The plates are available Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and change each time. Belinda Koteita said to check out Harvest Table’s Facebook page to see what’s being served.

A pastry case rotates with treats. Right now, find the succulent, moist and warm-spiced pumpkin bar with silky frosting and cinnamon dusting, a fluffy peanut butter bar, Swiss rolls, ciabatta sandwiches, bottled drinks and more.

“I’ve already gotten to come enjoy a couple of cups of coffee, cinnamon rolls and everything else,” Jackson said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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