November 4, 2008
DeRuyter cafe serves up slice of retro
Red and White Cafe opens in the former Red and White Food Store
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Christine Glave chats with lunchtime customers at the Red and White Cafe in DeRuyter Monday. Glave and her husband have turned the former grocery store into a cafe.
DeRUYTER — A new cafe is serving up pancakes, fresh bread, sandwiches and a hearty dose of nostalgia.
The Red and White Cafe on the corner of Albany and Utica streets opened about five weeks ago in the former location of Red and White Food Store.
The wood-floored cafe is decorated with advertisements and crate art — lables pasted on fruit crates — from the turn of the 20th century on the inside and a mural advertising coffee on the exterior wall.
The Red and White Food Store was opened by Robert Rowe in the 1950s. It later became the Big M Supermarket , whose owners changed the building’s layout.
Christine Glave and her husband bought the building four years ago and restored it to resemble the Red and White Food Store.
“We wanted to make it a beautiful thing again and restore it to its former grandeur,” Glave said. “It was considered a thing of beauty at the time it was built.”
Uncontrollable external factors worried Glave as the business took shape, but the cafe is now running smoothly, she said.
After the Glaves began renovating the building, a hurricane caused lumber prices to double. About a week before the cafe opened last month, the stock market crashed, and many people began watching their budgets more carefully.
“There’s always some challenge. We just rise to it the best we can,” Glave said.
The Red and White Cafe’s specialties are local and unusual foods.
The cafe serves locally grown produce, meat and honey. Employees bake all of the cafe’s bread and pastries and roast its turkey, roast beef, corned beef and ham on site. Glave buys the coffee from Coffee Mania in Cortland.
Glave said they also sell ethnic foods such as prosciutto, fresh mozzarella cheese, and rare sodas, made by companies such as Dr. Brown, Izze and Gus.
Glave bought many of the cafe’s antique decorations and artwork from live auctions and the Web site E-Bay.
To the left of the front door upon entering is an old wooden phone booth with a rotary phone and stool. Glave said she calls it the “cell phone booth” and asks that people take their cell phone calls inside of the booth to avoid disturbing other customers.
The wall opposite the phone booth is used for monthlong art shows. It currently features photographs taken by Tim Etter of DeRuyter.
Near the back of the cafe is a children’s section, which features several board games and a chalkboard.
The cafe also provides free wireless Internet access.
Glave has worked in several restaurants since majoring in hotel and restaurant management at Morrisville College, but this is the first business she has owned.
Glave said she has about 10 employees. She hopes to soon expand her business by shipping her baked goods to other businesses.
Glave said that business is doing better than she expected, as people from Syracuse, Binghamton, Cortland and other cities have visited to experience the atmosphere of the cafe.
“These are the types of businesses that are doing better than some other types of businesses,” she said. “The retro thing is real hot right now.”
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