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Mount Kisco-Based 'Love' Empire Continues Growing

Leslie Lampert at Cafe of Love. Photo Credit: Jeanne Muchnick
The soups that are part of the new distribution program. Photo Credit: Jeanne Muchnick
A sign at Ladle of Love invites guests to try bone broth. Photo Credit: Jeanne Muchnick

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Who knew a growing empire of “love” would evolve from a sliver of a farm-to-fork storefront in Mount Kisco? Leslie Lampert, the owner behind what started as a take-out soup shop, still can’t believe it herself.

“I didn’t have a strategy planned for The Love Group,” she said of her 11-year-old company, which now includes Ladle of Love, Cafe of Love, Love on the Run and an Electric Food Truck, along with a new distribution program. “I just knew what I wanted to do. I knew what resonated with me and I kept my fingers crossed that honest, locally-sourced and prepared food would resonate with the community.”

The White Plains resident, who is known in the area for her charitable giving even when she herself was "one french fry away from welfare," said her mission with her brand remains the same as it was on Day One: To cook slow, contemplative comfort food, care for the community and create a family environment in a company of like-minded colleagues.

"It happened in chapters," she said of her growth. "I like to think my success comes from paying attention to my philosophical views on cooking and hospitality--even when the financial landscape threatened to limit buying excellent ingredients."

A former magazine editor, she said her motto at "Ladies' Home Journal," where she worked for many years, was that a good idea is only as good as how’s its executed. “I believe I've taken that same kind of adaptive understanding of telling the story properly-- through a distinct perspective on food, guest services, ambiance and staffing,” she said.

New to the company: Lampert’s Stock Market Program sells Ladle's new bone broths, which are 24-hour, slow-simmered broths that boast a healthful, sipping experience and deliver nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and amino acids. They are available at Ladle of Love and many Mrs. Greens Stores. The company also plans to expand into Whole Foods and beyond.

Lampert also will open more Ladles stores and is looking at several venues in Southern Westchester and New Yorj City.

She said folks always are telling her she’s an inspiration --mostly because she started her business from a series of losses that began with a devastating divorce, the death of her parents, downsizing from her Chappaqua home and sustaining serious financial difficulties.

"I don't take anything for granted,” she said, “Including the success I’ve had. As far as I’m concerned, we all live life in chapters and I'm just at the beginning of my book."

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