The Athens Messenger
Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2012
Cafe, Catering Operation Opening in Old Alexander School Building
ALBANY — People who can remember eating school lunches in the former Alexander Elementary School building will be able to eat there again, but this time they’ll have a choice of food and it promises to be tastier.
A new café will begin regular operating hours Monday in the Albany building, and a grand opening celebration is planned for Friday. Center Albany Café and Catering is a sit-down restaurant that promises “down-home specialties made from scratch” by chef Amy Foster.
“Not only is (the restaurant) a plus for all current and future tenants in the building, but we expect that it will quickly become a major draw for Athens County residents who not only look for a tasty, home-cooked meal that is affordable for families, but also for those folks who actually grew up in this fantastic building,” said Jeff Niese, who is building manager and works for Capstone Property Management of Athens.
Capstone took over management of the building after it was purchased from the village of Albany for $206,000 by Central Albany Ltd. last summer. Soon after, Bob Prebe of Capstone said a restaurant was being sought for the building, which has a commercial kitchen.
According to a news release from Capstone, the restaurant has retained some historic attributes of the space, but will include “a well-appointed dining area with an old-fashioned country feel …”
The restaurant will feature local produce, grab-and-go options and heart-healthy menu options, the news release said.
Foster spent four years as sales and catering director at Hocking College and three years as banquet captain at the Ohio University Inn.
Albany Café and Catering is looking to provide full-scale catering on and off site, including having the ability to host small and large gatherings (up to 350 people) in the former school gymnasium.
“We feel that weddings, small conferences, business meetings, service groups and more will really benefit from our catered offerings and the convenient and affordable facilities,” Foster said.
The Center Albany Café will be open weekdays, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At the present time, Saturdays are reserved solely for catered events, and other days of the week are also available for catering.
Friday’s grand opening starts at 4 p.m. and will feature a buffet and tours of the building.
Capstone manages the building, which the company said is being renovated into a community and small business hub. In addition to the restaurant, current tenants are Sound Health, Stages Early Learning Center, the Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center, village government offices and the Albany seniors group.