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Written by Henry Schwan for Wicked Local Natick on June 9, 2018.  Edited for space purposes

Photo courtesy of Buttercup

A husband-and-wife team opened a restaurant in Natick. It’s their second venture into the restaurant world.

NATICK – The owner of the town’s newest restaurant needs a double shot of espresso in the morning.

Dora Tavel-Sanchez Luz made it herself, standing behind the bar at Buttercup, 13 West Central St. in Natick Center.

It gives her a boost of energy to get through a long day. Luz gulps down a quadruple shot over ice later in the day, a few hours before Buttercup opens for dinner. She needs both because her days are jammed-packed with duties, including running her other restaurant, The Farmhouse in Needham.

Luz was dressed in a Farmhouse sweatshirt and sweatpants while working Thursday morning at Buttercup. She said she works out every day, eats a healthy salad for lunch at The Farmhouse, and lives on only a couple of hours of sleep nightly.

Strong espresso must be her secret ingredient.

Business and life partner
Luz’s business and life partner is her husband, Gabriel Sanchez Luz. They met in New York City while Dora pursued an acting career. That lasted 12 years, and to help pay the bills, Dora worked as a waitress. In one of those restaurants, Gabriel worked in the kitchen, and a love connection formed.

They eventually moved around – the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, then to Mexico where Gabriel grew up. Over time, they had two children, Sophie and GianMarco.

Then it was time to move back home. Dora grew up in Wellesley, and she and Gabriel saved up enough money to start a restaurant.

They opened the Farmhouse five years ago. The Buttercup opened last week, and both locations are “super busy,” Dora said.

Both are farm-to-table establishments, a popular trend in the local restaurant scene. When asked what separates her restaurants from the competition, Dora said she and Gabriel have a close relationship with several local farms.

Gabriel’s dishes have a French influence, and Dora pointed out his sauces are not overpowering, which can be the case in some French cooking.

Gabriel’s specialty is fish, especially center-cut Halibut, and it’s on the Buttercup menu. There are also fish tacos, short ribs, and what Dora called “delicious” chicken.

Buttercup’s interior is divided between a bar area and a dining room, and there’s an outdoor patio with seating. Total seating capacity throughout is more than 100, and Buttercup has a 10-year lease in the refurbished American Legion Building.

Two features in the interior excite Dora – an original brick wall from the American Legion Building and a barn door that hides the less glamorous side of the restaurant business. It’s where cleaning supplies are kept.

Farm-to-table makes sense for Dora, because her passion is farming.  She and Gabriel live in Framingham, where they run Sun Washed Farm, a three-quarter acre plot on their property that supplies vegetables in Buttercup’s dishes.

For now, Dora and Gabriel don’t have much time to do anything but tend to their restaurants and their kids. However, Dora does have what she called a “pipe dream.”

She loves her farm in Framingham, but would one day like a bigger one.

There’s also a second dream – she wants to own a cow.

“I do want that cow, maybe two, and they need to be black and white,” Dora said with a smile.