Main Street Cafe opens in Margaretville
By Julia Green
Those who dined at the Key West Café in Pine Hill roughly a decade ago will no doubt recognize the face behind the counter at the recently-opened Main Street Café in Margaretville.
Bob Landes, a native of England with a background in training racehorses, owned and operated the Pine Hill restaurant with his wife Elizabeth, until it closed about 10 years ago.
“That was a lot of fun, and people seemed to like it,” Landes said. “Then the building [on Main Street] became available and I’ve always liked that building, so we thought we’d do this.”
“This” is the Main Street Café – a charming eatery that boasts traditional and vegetarian cooking and a casual, relaxed atmosphere.
“I saw that the building was available six or seven weeks ago, and then we spent a few weeks working on the building and trying to get it in good shape,” Landes said. “We worked on the floors, the walls, cleaned the kitchen and painted. And the man who owns the building, Ross Hamilton, he pitched right in and helped us. He was great, and he sure did work hard with us.”
The Main Street Café opened for business just short of two weeks ago, and Landes said the response thus far has been promising.
“I think the word is really getting around,” he said. “The response has been good to the vegetarian options and then we have the people who love the traditional food – they love it, too. And we try to run specials all the time. It takes time, but it’s far outdone what we expected in the beginning.”
Diners at the café can select from a menu that varies from classic favorites like hamburgers and egg salad to more diverse fare like hummus, tofu and lentil burgers. And, for those with a hankering for an omelet, breakfast is served all day.
“We like to introduce people to some new things and still provide the old standbys that they grew up with,” Landes said. “But you’d be surprised – we’ve got people trying things like hummus and lentil burgers, and they like it.”
The atmosphere is laid-back and surprisingly quiet, given its location on Main Street. The layout is cozy and intimate, with a floor plan comprised of smaller rooms with a few tables apiece, and soft music emanating in the background. Contributing to the tranquil ambiance are the colorful floral baskets and the airiness of the dining spaces, helped no doubt by the fresh air drifting in through the open windows.
That welcoming tone of the restaurant itself is mirrored by the affable and friendly staff, led by Paul Farnsworth.
“We’ve got a great guy working with us in Paul,” Landes said. “He does a lot of waiting on tables and talking to customers. He’s very good.”
That cordiality, Landes added, is a key in his business philosophy.
“We just want to put out the best food that we can and be friendly with people, and make everybody feel welcome,” he said, adding that he’s enjoying being back in the restaurant business. “In fact,” he said, “we’re getting quite a few of the people from the other restaurant coming in and saying, ‘We’re glad you’re back.’ It’s fun.
“I’ve always liked Margaretville,” he added. “It’s been my favorite town around here for a long time, and I think Margaretville is kind of a happening little place. It’s got some life to it.”
The Main Street Café is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day except Wednesday.