Main St. Goodness Is Chatham's Charming Community Cafe
A couple combines small-town community culture with honest-to-goodness eats in the Hudson Valley.
Photos by Eva Deitch
Here’s a business strategy you won’t hear about in Forbes: Wave at people as they walk past your storefront.
That’s the tactic employed by Christopher Knable, Nicole Maggio Knable, and their staff at Main St. Goodness in Chatham. “It’s part of being a small-town shopkeeper, in my view,” says Christopher. “Nine times out of 10, when people are walking by — even if they weren’t planning on coming in — when you wave at them, they come in.”
It’s a shift in workplace culture for Knable, who spent the bulk of his career in the hospitality world, working at hotels that have likely appeared in Forbes. But after a six-year stint in the Middle East, he and Nicole, a former publishing executive, returned stateside with the glint of entrepreneurship in their eyes.
The couple’s venture started in November 2017 as PieconicNY, a “handwrought” pie company, selling delectable flavors like bourbon chocolate walnut and Crown Maple pecan. However, as locals continued to stop into their store, the Knables soon realized Chatham needed a community hub. Soon after they cultivated their cafe idea, and while their pies are still available for wholesale and mail order, PieconicNY has evolved into a full-blown, in-house bakery for Main St. Goodness.
Christopher and Nicole have developed a menu that caters to their customers, including a variety of foods friendly to dietary restrictions.
The concept behind “the Goodness” is uncomplicated. “We’re doing simple food and we’re just trying to do it well,” says Christopher. Many of the offerings have been dictated by conversations with customers. “You have to be all things to all people,” he says. That’s why they’ve whipped up everything from gluten-free pancakes with sweetened coconut to a gluten-free, vegan chicken potpie.
Nicole says they’ve also discovered untapped markets in the local food scene. They introduced their chicken potpie in the form of a pasty (a savory hand pie invented in Cornwall, England) and in the span of one week, four different Brits walked in with requests for more traditional British pies.
It’s this kind of interaction that fuels the food at Main St. Goodness. The Knables have plans to add lunch items and expand their diet-friendly options, but so far their biggest seller has been their Breakfast Lover’s Pasty, which is filled with scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, and American cheese.
That should be enough to get you out of bed in the morning, but if the quilts hold you captive, don’t worry: Breakfast is available all day.
Open Thursday–Tuesday, 8 a.m.–7 p.m. 20 Main St, Chatham; 518.392.2988
Christoper and Nicole Maggio Knable outside Main St. Goodness