CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Named for the round building and round oven inside it, Lisa and Scott Carrino's Round House Bakery on their farm in White Creek, N.Y. found a way to exercise its need for expansion last April with the opening of a café in Cambridge.
"My husband and I have always been hobby bakers," said bakery owner and operator Lisa Carrino. "We've done a lot of cooking and hosting at our farm, contributed to educational programs and done a lot of catering. We wanted to stay close to home."
In staying close to home, the White Creek couple managed to take over the old Cambridge Valley National Bank building at the corner of Washington and East Main Streets after it sat vacant for over seven years. Even more so, they have made it a gathering place for the Cambridge community.
"We had been looking at this place, as well as a lot of other people in the community, because it had been a coffee shop before It instantly became a meeting place in town. People have been very grateful," Carrino said.
The cafe is mostly open for breakfast and lunch, but will soon be open for dinner at least once a week. There is a drop-down screen and projector for movie nights as well.
"The farmer's market has held meetings here," Carrino said. "We've had both political parties hold sit-ins and we hold an open mic night at least once a week Groups are always asking to use the space.
Before opening the cafe, the Round House Bakery mostly sold products at farmers markets in Cambridge and Glens Falls, N.Y., at the Cambridge Co-op and Spice ‘n Nice in Bennington, Vt.
Though the Carrinos still sell wholesale, the cafe has become another outlet for them. The bakery is also part of a Community-Supported Agriculture, which enrolls members similar to a co-op, to send farm products throughout the growing season in a delivery once a week.
Before starting the bakery, Lisa Carrino was a teacher at the Hiland Hall School in Bennington. She said the work she does now is a good substitute for her previous career. "It's very rewarding: I think having employees is a lot like being a teacher. You have to pay attention to every employee because it's a complicated business, especially the way we do things," she said.
The small kitchen in the bakery is part of what makes her employees' work complicated. The cafe offers a full menu of breakfast, soups, salads and sandwiches, so most of the food is made at the White Creek bakery and brought in at the beginning of the day. The cafe also offers custom-made cakes and other desserts.
One of the café's best-selling items is its egg sandwich: Custom made with eggs, the customer's choice of a plethora of vegetables on a baguette.
"We make everything from scratch," Carrino said. "We make most things from organic ingredients, most of which we grow ourselves on our own farm. It's really farm-to table. We go with what's in season: If it's not in season, we don't have it on the menu."
The Round House Bakery and Café is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday thru Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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