Printed with permission of Maggie Callan
Are you looking for a curated selection of cheeses and meats, or maybe some homemade sandwiches, soups, salads and pies? If so, then Martha’s on Madison, commonly referred to as MOMs, is the place for you. Located at 3 Madison St., next to NBT Bank, MOMs invites locals, professors, students and others to gather in their rustic, farm-to-table store and tavern.
Colgate alumni Britty Buonocore ‘12, MA’13 and Brendan O’Connor ‘09, co-owners of Flour & Salt bakery and café, opened Martha’s on Madison earlier this summer. Since opening, MOMs has generated much chatter up the hill — students can’t stop talking about their great food, friendly staff and cozy community space. And MOMs does not only offer an assorted selection of specialty groceries and homemade foods. Buonocore and O’Connor went a step further in their decision to add a bar and tavern to MOMs.
Maggie Callan ’15 is currently a graduate student on campus pursuing her Master’s in teaching. Since returning to campus, Callan has found a new home in Hamilton at Martha’s on Madison, working as a bartender at the tavern two days a week, Thursdays and Fridays, from 3:00 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
Once Callan heard that there was an opening at MOMs, she immediately applied to work as a bartender.
“I have always loved the energy of Flour & Salt, and really loved the idea of MOMs. While Flour & Salt has so many options, MOMs is much more curated,” Callan said.
The tavern, which opened Aug. 26, has four beers on tap: a light, dark, IPA and cider beverage. In addition, they provide four red wines and four white wines that rotate periodically and a cocktail selection that offers classics like Manhattans and Paper Planes.
Callan explained that she, along with some of the other tavern employees, had never been a bartender prior to working at MOMs.
“It’s fun [being a bartender] because everyone works together. If anyone needs a cocktail to be made, we all jump in and clean up after each other.”
Through this fun and exciting environment of learning and collaboration, Callan has been able to flourish in her role at MOMs alongside her new coworkers.
“I have always loved making my own cocktails at home, so to learn it in a bar and get paid for it is so exciting,” Callan said.
Army and Navy is the tavern’s most popular drink. With gin, lemon juice, almond syrup and bitters, Army and Navy is tangy and sweet, with a distinctive licorice taste. Callan’s personal favorite drink is the Paper Plane, which contains aperol, bourbon, lemon, Italian liquor and creative garnishes of little paper planes.
Callan explained that Martha’s on Madison fosters a community where creativity and innovation are welcome.
“While [Buonocore and O’Connor] have been setting up the tavern side of MOMs they have become really curious about what people think and want to make sure it is a good place to work. So, we have been experimenting making cocktails and they will take our advice and recommendations into account.”
In this way, Callan feels that she is a part of the growth of something special. Additionally, Callan has been able to immerse herself in the Hamilton community with the opportunity to meet and talk to locals, Colgate professors and students from behind the bar.
“A lot of the same people come back, [which makes it] fun to build relationships with [customers]. Our regulars are not just one type of person. It’s people from other businesses downtown, Colgate professors and students. We have the best conversations with everyone.”
It is through these conversations that employees from Martha’s on Madison have been able to connect with the larger Hamilton community on a more personal level, sparking a special feeling of warm hospitality. Buonocore and O’Connor have truly mastered the art of bringing all types of people together over food and drink. Callan feels lucky to work in such a special environment. At the end of Callan’s one and half year-long master’s program, it will be interesting to see how much MOMs changes and grows. Come stop by for a bite and a drink!