A Coffee Break With Charm



Although our home here in Hamilton is full of beautiful scenery and friendly faces, rarely do we have the opportunity to try a new restaurant, shop in a new boutique or explore a new side street. When students began trickling back to Colgate last week, however, they were greeted with an edgy, unique and delicious surprise in the form of the Utica Street Café. The café opened on July 4 and serves as an alternative to the other restaurants and coffee shops in town. From cheesecake and flavored frozen yogurt to five-minute massages during Finals Week, the Utica Street Café has it all.

This new student venue is owned by Carolyn Gherardi and managed by Hamilton resident Eric Gardey. The two of them have tirelessly worked to build an area that is both conducive to studying and a fun and relaxed Hamilton hot spot.

“What makes our café unique is that all of our servers are trained baristas,” Gardey said. “There are four of them that have gone through barista training and are trained in milk art as well.”

Milk art, Gardey explained, is the ability to draw pictures such as hearts and ferns in coffee with the milk.

The Utica Street Café also has a juice bar modeled after those found in big cities, and can make smoothies ranging from Shirley Temples to Coffee2 Buzz2, which is made of coffee, chocolate espresso beans and yogurt. There are even sugar free smoothies and smoothies especially made for those who are lactose intolerant. Besides the wide variety of coffees, smoothies and desserts, the café also has a salad bar and a deli for handmade sandwiches. According to Gardey, the one sandwich that everyone should try is the Tango Mango, a sandwich made with grilled oven roasted turkey, mango, mayo, guacamole and balsamic vinaigrette.

The café’s décor is also drastically different than that of the other restaurants in town. The walls are covered with murals and interesting pieces of art, and every single item seems to fall into the coffee shop theme, right down to the pen holder, which is a large vase filled with coffee beans. Local resident Samantha Stolhohz painted the café’s murals and dedicated the painting in the back room to her brother in the Peace Corps.

“She has been an inspiration to all of us because of her energy and because of how much she loves what she does,” Gardey said.

The theme of peace and unity echoes throughout the entire café, which nicely compliments the edgy decoration and furniture.

The relaxed atmosphere and diverse menu should be enough to entice students to make the trek to town, but Gardey says they are doing even more to put the Utica Street Café at the top of the pack. The coffee shop plans on offering sports games on Sundays as well as Madden tournaments for video game enthusiasts. In order to provide students with a relaxed study space, the café is working on opening a silent study room in the back as well as five minute massages during finals week.

Ultimately, however, the Utica Street Café takes pride in its coffee and variety.

“We love our coffee so much; it is a part of us,” Gardey said. “When we hire people we want them to have the same passion as we do. If we don’t have our heart in it, it shows in the coffee.”

Open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, the Utica Street Café provides both an early morning study spot, as well as an alternative night time hangout for students.

“We encourage everyone to give us a try once,” Gardey said. “We promise you won’t be dissatisfied!”