A Greek restaurant is moving onto Albany Street in Cazenovia, in the location of the former Emma’s Café, which closed recently.
Kalamata Pita, owned and operated by Scott Baker and his wife Chrissie and children Ethan and Ella, will offer a traditional menu of gyros, chicken pita, pork souvlaki, and falafel.
“Our vision is to create a space with a comfortable feel where people can come and enjoy a quick healthy meal or easily take it to go,” said Scott Baker. “We hope to offer an alternative option to current choices in Cazenovia and, so far, have received an amazing response from the community — people seem to be very excited about having Greek food in the village.”
This will be Baker’s second career after running a successful construction company that installed commercial playgrounds across New York state for 15 years. His restaurant idea was inspired by his friend Brian Horvath, owner of On the Street Pitas in Ithaca, who has been in the business for 30 years.
“His gyros are out of this world,” Baker said of Horvath. “He has a great following for his gyros and pitas at Ithaca Farmer’s Market and other venues in that area.”
Baker said he had the idea of bringing a similar business to Cazenovia and things “just fell into place” when he heard recently that the building and restaurant at 47 Albany St. — Emma’s Cafe — was going up for sale.
“The location and the set up were just what we were looking for,” he said.
Baker purchased the entire building from previous owners Dave and Chris Preston, closing on the sale July 3, and will install Kalamata Pita in the restaurant space previously occupied by Emma’s Café.
Baker said he is remodeling the restaurant interior by tearing out the existing counter and the booths and will replace them with tables seating about 20 people. The booths will be donated “somewhere in the community” to give them a new life, Baker said. The cooking area will remain in the same spot, with a counter-type service area in front of it — similar to the way Subway serves its customers, but in a more unique and flavorful way, he said.
“It’s definitely going to look different [than Emma’s],” said Baker, who will be the restaurant’s cook.
After installing a fire sprinkler system in the entire building, Baker will rent out the two bedroom, one-and-a-half bath, two-story apartment that is upstairs, he said.
Kalamata Pita is set to open in early August with planned hours to be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They will also offer catering for business luncheons.
“Both Chrissie and I have experience running our own businesses,” Baker said. “We feel that we have secured a terrific location and are looking forward to interacting with the community and bringing these great tasting items to Caz.”
For more information, visit kalamatapita.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.