Owners and couple Cindy Therrault, an interior designer, and Scott MacPherson, veteran music producer/engineer, said they had been dreaming of opening up their own café for years, especially after getting fed up with their chain-heavy neighborhood. Viola’s Cafe, located inside the Monte Mario Motel at 947 New Loudon Road, offers fresh farm-to-table food.
Photo by Zan Strumfeld.
continued A few renovations later and with a menu developed, the team was ready to open. The small but versatile menu includes salads, sandwiches and array of homemade sides, mostly priced between $6 and $7.50. Currently, there are two vegetarian options, but Therrault said the roasted red pepper and goat cheese sandwich, filled with layers of roasted red peppers, goat cheese, capers, homemade pesto and thinly sliced red onion ($6), is one of their top sellers for any kind of palette. For dessert, the café has a homemade cookie of the day.
Everything at the café is intended to be as local as possible, MacPherson said. The bread is from Heidelberg Baking Company in Herkimer, the meat is from the Niskayuna Co-Op, and produce is often obtained from the Troy Farmers Market. Therrault’s sister owns a catering business and helps out occasionally.
Nothing is processed and there are no preservatives in the food, MacPherson said. For an even homier feel, the owners grow their own herbs right in the café’s windowsill.
“Every sandwich is thoughtfully prepared. No production line with everything ready to go,” Therrault said. “We try to really view each order that we do with the same kind of care as if I was making it for myself or a friend or family member. I think that shines through with our food. I think you can tell it’s a handcrafted lunch, that’s important to us.”
While the café doesn’t have its liquor license yet, customers can bring in their own wine if they’re eating in.
Right now, the owners said they’re focusing on expanding their catering section. With several nearby businesses, Therrault said they’ve been filling many take-out or delivery lunch orders for large companies.
One of the café’s biggest struggles, the owners said, was coming up with the perfect name. After deliberating for three weeks, Viola came naturally, as the name runs in Therrault’s family, and it also represents a flower and musical instrument. Yet, as of now, the café remains unmarked along Route 9 as the owners save up for a sign. MacPherson suggested a possible fundraiser with music to help get their name out there.
Eventually, the café will add dinner portions to the menu, and might open up in the evening for private parties, with seating for up to 20 people.
Right now, the couple is still getting accommodated with their small but charming café.
“We’re still learning and growing,” Therrault said. “I think we have dreams someday when we grow up we’ll get a bigger restaurant. Dreaming big, living large.”
Viola’s Café is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for eat in, take out and free delivery on minimum orders of $20 within a 5-mile radius.