Latest business in Knox hamlet focuses on coffee

— Photo from Facebook

Espresso drips into a mug at the Knox Market Café located on Route 156 in the Knox Hamlet. The owners hope to open the business next month following approval from the Knox Zoning Board of Appeals.

KNOX — A new café may soon be coming to the Knox hamlet. Two chefs, Michael Ward and Stefanie Stegman, plan to open the Knox Market Café next month at the location of the former Knox Country Store.

Stegman said that there will be a heavy emphasis on coffee, with an extensive menu for the different types of beans and blends offered. They will be using beans from Capital City Coffee Roasters, and creating their own blends, she said.

The café will have a full breakfast menu, said Stegman, including pancakes, Belgian waffles, omelettes, and baked goods. Everything will be made on site by herself or Ward, she said.

For lunch, they will offer soups and sandwiches and possibly build on the menu more from there, she said. Starting this summer, from Thursday to Saturday the café will offer a rotating dinner menu of items such as steak or salmon, she said. On the weekend, they will offer a brunch menu.

Stegman said that the couple hopes to create the relaxed feel of a familiar coffeeshop, with a couch, comfortable chairs, and books set up in a section of the café.

“Some place they can walk in and they know us and we know them,” she said.

Stegman said that the café will open May 1. Their planned hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, closed on Monday, and opening at 7 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday. Their closing times are still being determined, but Stegman said that they will be staying open until at least 6 p.m.

Stegman will serve as the primary chef, but she will be going on maternity leave in six weeks, and so Ward will serve as the chef for about a month. When she returns, they will build on the menu more, she said.

Stegman and Ward, of Johnstown, who are engaged to be married, have worked together and separately in the past at different restaurants. Stegman had previously worked at The Overlook Restaurant in Denali National Park in Alaska.

Ward worked as the executive chef of the Barnsider Restaurant in Albany and previously owned a diner in Albany — Johny’s Diner. They also currently operate their own catering business.

The two wanted to open their own business and to focus on serving quality food, said Stegman. They were initially looking at opening a business in Gloversville when they discovered the building in Knox a couple of months ago and fell in love with the space, she said.

They contacted Ardi Cecunjanin, who owns the complex and formerly ran a restaurant in the spot, and had a deal in the works that day, said Stegman. The two agreed to an eight-year lease for their section of the building, starting at $1,200 a month and increasing until it is $1,900 a month in the final year.

The building, located on Route 156 in the Knox Hamlet, had formerly hosted the Cecunjanin’s restaurant Knox Market; he had bought the building from Knox Supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis in 2017. Cecunjanin, who owns and runs the Fox Creek Market in Berne, closed the Knox restaurant this winter and instead opened a new location — The Roasted Garlic — in Clarksville.

Cecunjanin said that the Clarksville location, formerly a convenience store, was closer to his home in Delmar. He remains the owner of the Knox building, which has two other units, one of which is leased to a dog grooming parlor.

Stegman said that they are still waiting to get approval from the town’s zoning board of appeals. There will be a public hearing at the board’s next monthly meeting on April 25 at 7:30 p.m., she said.​

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