John Bove's decision to shutter My Way CafE after 27 years wasn't an easy one.
This is the toughest decision I've ever made, this is tough and I'm having trouble with it, said Bove. "People say 'Why?' and I say to them, 'I just think it's time.' I'm 75 and I think it's time to punch the clock and go fishing."
My Way CafE in Mechanicville has made a name for itself, from the quaint white farmhouse-like appearance to the dimly lit interior that cozily seats 50 and is inundated with Frank Sinatra memorabilia to the husband-wife duo that make patrons feel like family.
What kept the Italian restaurant thriving, though, was the food.
"Being a chef is a creative process, so what you do is take recipes and you play with them just like you do everything else in life, and you come out with the best you can do with the product," said Bove.
When Bove opened the eatery in 1984, he was no stranger to food or the restaurant business. He grew up working in his parent's restaurant Mary's Luncheonette in Troy and opened a string of his own larger ones, at one point hoping to have a chain of pizza joints.
But My Way CafE was different than all his other ventures.
"In the very beginning of everything I got bigger and bigger because I had three children they all wanted to go to college. I needed all the dollars I could get and the big restaurant afforded that for me," said Bove. "But once they were out of college I felt as though I wanted to do something different and this has been a pleasure it hasn't been all smooth but it's been a pleasure compared to what I had before."
The luxury of an intimate setting meant Bove could concentrate on bringing his customers the freshest and best Italian dishes he could prepare. He's the only chef and grows much of his own ingredients; his philosophy is, if it can't be served fresh, don't serve it at all.