The Wise Owl Café & Curiosities

A new Saugerties spot offers a compilation of charms.


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Much more than drinks, this café offers inventive bites and decor.

Photos by James Orr

Ingenuity is abundant at The Wise Owl Café & Curiosities in Saugerties. From the collection of goods for sale, to the clever use of a tiny space to create delicious dishes, this cheerful café serves a mix of “savory and sweet multicultural eats, with a side of creativity and love.”

In less than two years, Jen Powlison and Katie Fleissner met for the first time at a mutual friend’s house, became good friends themselves, and opened this business together. Pulling inspiration from their own lives as mothers, yogis, and healthy foodies — Fleissner had previously worked in the culinary industry for 20 years and Powlison has a natural talent for cooking — the duo opened the café in March. “The feeling of community in the café is what it’s all about for me,” says Fleissner.

Powlison and Fleissner pride themselves on being “ingredient conscious,” sourcing their products locally first, and then from organic farmers if they aren’t available. The savory menu offers a mix of vegetarian, vegan, and pescatarian sandwiches, salads, and power plates.

The Coltrane sandwich is one of the most popular dishes, consisting of a smoked Faroe Islands salmon filet from local purveyor Hookline Fish Co., cream cheese or avocado, tomato, scallions, fresh herbs and lettuce on a toasted whole-wheat, onion, and poppyseed bagel. The Monk, a power plate dish of organic chickpea tempeh with Atina Foods’ Indian pickle, accompanied by steamed kale and quinoa with garlic drizzle, is another tasty standout.

An extensive line of conventional and alternative desserts complements the savory menu. “We pride ourselves on our vegan options,” says Fleissner, whose previous wholesale pastry business was strictly vegan. Pair your dessert with their hand-selected, five-bean espresso blend, or a cup of Peruvian French roast coffee, which is available for sale by the pound as well.

You can also shop the local ceramics, cards, and assorted knick-knacks that line the walls while you wait for your order. Fleissner, who has an art background, says their aim is to support local artists while keeping things approachable and affordable. “Just as we do with our food,” says Fleissner.

The Wise Owl Café & Curiosities
196 Main St, Saugerties; 845.247.3824

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