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Get to Know Mansfield Businesses


As a college town, Mansfield has a diverse array of businesses and entrepreneurs.  Celebrating their milestones and success stories is one way in which we work to foster a business-friendly environment. 

If you know of a business that is celebrating a milestone or other achievement, let us know!


Dog Lane Café

Since 1989, when brothers Barry and Brian Jessurun opened the Vanilla Bean Café in Pomfret, they’ve wanted to expand into the Mansfield community. The proximity to UConn and discussion of the redevelopment of Downtown Storrs provided a lucrative opportunity to set up shop in Mansfield. And this is exactly what they did.

As planning and development for Downtown Storrs began to heat up in the late 2000s, so did the Jessurun brothers’ preparation for their next project. In 2008, they were the very first business to sign a letter of intent to become part of the new development in Downtown Storrs, and they did so by locking down the anchor location at One Dog Lane. Several years later in 2012, Barry and Brian brought Steve Smith on board as their third partner and full-time manager of Dog Lane Café.

Photo courtesy of Dog Lane Café

The idea behind Dog Lane Café is simple yet well-orchestrated: Provide fresh and locally sourced food in a friendly, casual environment. Dog Lane Café was designed to fill a dining niche in the community. While there were many restaurants that catered to college students providing quick, cheap, grab-and-go meals, there were few options for adults interested in a high-quality, hand-prepared meal. And although there are a number of UConn students that value the offer at Dog Lane Café, it was designed as a restaurant that encourages local friends, families, and business professionals to meet and dine in a relaxed, casual environment.

Fast forward five years, and it takes one visit to Dog Lane Café to realize that they have mastered this environment – the airy sunlit space, the subtle harmonious décor, the small-town hospitality. Then you take a gander at the menu. Dog Lane Café pride themselves on serving quality food products with minimal processing, sourced from local farms and vendors. Preparing the newest and most innovative specials, the large array of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options will have you coming back for more.

And when you finally decide what to order, Dog Lane Café’s dedicated staff will work with you to ensure you are absolutely satisfied. From the quality of food to the customer experience, Dog Lane’s 30+ employees treat every customer with the neighborly hospitality they have grown to expect from their favorite local eatery.

When I asked Steve the key to his successful operation at Dog Lane Café, he said “be the mayor of your community.” In order to build a sustainable consumer base, it is important to build an effective line of communication with those individuals that matter the most – local community members. Steve works with local farmers weekly, expressing his aspirations for the menu, and receiving expert feedback. He’ll even swing by farm stands on his way to the restaurant to pick up his orders. Because local suppliers are his friends and because the working relationships are so strong, Dog Lane Café is able to pass on the freshest and purest ingredients to its consumers.

For more information about Dog Lane Café, please visit their website, doglanecafe.com, or stop in an experience it for yourself at One Dog Lane.

Written by Christopher Whitten


Photo courtesy of Dog Lane Café