Sustaining Utica is a multimedia project produced by UC journalism students in this semester’s Multimedia Web Design course. They examined how locally owned food businesses and farms have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the semester, they visited restaurants and farms to understand how the food supply chain was impacted while spotlighting the farm-to-table element that is popular at many local eateries.
We all have a favorite local restaurant or specialty, but do we know what goes on behind the scenes? We might think we know everything about our go-to establishments, but do we? Local businesses are filled with interesting tidbits. Here is some noteworthy trivia on some of the businesses featured in the Sustaining Utica project.
“Bagel-ing,” is a labor of love. The Bagel Grove, Utica’s first authentic bagel shop, is able to mass produce hundreds of bagels a day because they have a large rotating oven that allows them to bake 36 dozen bagels at once. Before Bagel Grove, local residents had to rely on a once-a-week truck that drove up from New York City for authentic bagels.
Utica Coffee Roasting Co.
Utica Coffee sells their “Wake The Hell Up!” coffee on Amazon and sources their coffee beans from around the world in more than seven different countries. The Clinton Cafe, Utica Coffee’s second location, celebrated its 5-year anniversary in October.
The Copperccino’s business started through the Rome Main Street Alliance, which is a non-profit organization located in Rome.Co-owners David Amidon and Michael Brown surveyed Rome residents and asked what the top five things were they would like to see downtown. “A coffeehouse” was the winner and that is when Copperccino’s got started.
Outta The Way Cafe’ Downtown & Joey’s 307
Both Outta The Way Cafe’ Downtown and Joey’s 307 were birthday gifts for owner Matt Grabski. Outta The Way Cafe Downtown opened a few days after his 40th birthday in 2018 and Joey’s 307 opened shortly after Grabski’s 41st birthday.Before pursuing his passion for cooking, Grabski was an Internet Sales Manager for Steet/Ponte Chevrolet Inc.
Chef Michael Latrielle not only owns the Hamilton Inn, but he also owns Michael’s Fine Food and Spirits in Waterville. The Hamilton Inn is Chef Michael’s dream imagined and realized.Siobhan Woods, the Bar Manager at the Hamilton Inn, created a cocktail called a “Bee Sting,” which sources honey from Irish Ridge Honey and also involves some habanero peppers.
The Tailor and the Cook
The Tailor and the Cook works with 61 different farm partnerships in the local areas.Each month, The Tailor and the Cook selects a local charity or organization to partner with and they donate a portion of every Chef’s Tasting Menu to their community partners for that entire month.
O’Scugnizzo Pizzeria, which was founded in 1914, is the second oldest pizza joint in the United States.COVID-19 is the second pandemic that O’Scugnizzo has endured. The Spanish Flu, also known as the 1918 Flu Pandemic, was the first.
MAWS farm is an acronym for Mike and Wendi’s, who are the owners of the farm.The location of the farm, which is right across the street from the West Canada Creek, provides for a longer growing season since the proximity to the water affects the freezes.
Irish Ridge Honey
Dr. Sara Scanga, who is botanist and plant ecologist, is the chair of the Biology Department at Utica College who also owns and operates Irish Ridge Honey.Scanga says that honeybees should be viewed as livestock and they are very particular about what plant species they pollinate once they hone in on a particular species, which is why they make such great pollinators for larger crops like almonds.