Eat, Shop, and Live Local at This Renovated Saugerties Café
Olsen & Company serves beautiful brews and its signature farm-to-table fare inside a historic carriage house on Jane Street.
Photos by Joe Wehner and Olsen & Company
Olsen & Company, or O&Co, is the sort of place every Hudson Valley town needs. Part café, part mini-market, the Saugerties eatery has been a favorite in Ulster County since it opened in June 2017.
Over the years, it’s become just as much of a destination for morning lattes and farm-fresh dishes as it is for pantry essentials like Chaseholm Farm cheese and Olympia Provisions charcuterie. Charming from the inside out, it has a cozy interior made for grabbing coffee with friends or simply stocking up on kitchen treats during the drive home from work.
Yet as anyone who stepped foot into its storefront at 81 Partition Street can attest, it was just a little bit small.
Was being the operative word.
At the beginning of 2019, co-owners Marianne Olsen, her daughter Elizabeth Olsen, and her niece Janelle Olsen-Leipheimer decided it was time to do something different.
“We were hitting a wall and not allowing our business to grow the way it needed to due to the small size of our shop,” they explain. After tossing out one idea after the next, they stumbled upon their next move during a conversation with fellow Saugerties business owner Jen Hicks. Hicks, who owns a number of properties in town, including the 11 Jane Street art gallery, also has a charming carriage house next-door to it.
The Olsens loved it.
In August, they commenced renovations on the carriage house in order to refurbish the interior while preserving some of the pre-existing details.
“Aside from one brick wall and the beautiful ceiling with original beams, almost everything was redone, painted, or just built new,” they say. Marianne’s husband, Keith, served as the contractor and worked with family and friends to replace the floors, paint the brick, install new doors and windows, and build a bathroom and kitchen. The café also received a custom bar, bench, and tables to match the design of the ones at the Partition Street location.
The overhaul was comprehensive and lasted until mid-October. Yet it also meant the Olsens were able to remain in Saugerties, a village that is home to them.
“We stayed in Saugerties because it’s where we belong,” they admit. “We have a really great local community that supports us and we feel our shop is a good addition to the already existing shops in the village. We hope our location will give other people in surrounding towns a reason to come to Saugerties for a visit.”
So what’s new about O&Co?
“The new space is completely our own,” the trio enthuses. “There’s even more space and the vibe is totally different. There is a much greater sense of community [and] people gather here.”
As for the menu, it’s just about the same (so longtime visitors can breathe easy). The breakfast and lunch spreads center around hyperlocal ingredients from farms and small producers. Bread Alone bagels served with Churchtown Dairy cheese sit alongside house-made gluten-free granola complemented by Ronnybrook Farm yogurt. In the evenings on Friday and Saturday, the café offers curated small plates like local bread with roasted garlic and Maplebrook burrata with roasted Sun Sprout Farm butternut squash. On Saturday and Sunday, O&Co also does brunch, a light affair powered by flavorful dishes like creamy oats with local fruit and gourmet grilled cheese on Catskill bread.
On the drinkable end of things, O&Co still pours organic coffee and No Six Depot Street Legal espresso along with hot teas, homemade hot cocoa, and elixir lattes with superfood powder add-ins.
It also stocks a curated menu of beer, ciders, and wines. The vino roster is wonderfully varied, with sparkling French champagne listed alongside an Italian orange and California red. Just as O&Co prioritizes organic wines, so too does it favor local beers and ciders. West Kill Brewing and Kings Highway Cider are inhouse favorites, and both drink nicely alongside daily-made sandwiches or freshly tossed salads.
And then there’s the pantry. While O&Co isn’t a full-scale market, it does stock a medley of hard-to-find artisanal goodies from makers like Savor Fine Foods, ImmuneSchein, and Fine & Raw Chocolate. It’s also a one-stop shop for fridge essentials like local milk, eggs, bread, and yogurt, along with bits for charcuterie board-making and tapas-style dinner parties.
“O&Co is a cozy place where you can find many different reasons to visit,” the trio sums up. “Some come to sit and have a glass of wine (or two), others come to cozy up with a cup of coffee and do some work, but mostly we see friends meeting friends for a meal that we proudly make with the freshest ingredients we can find. We truly do our best to make sure that everyone who sits down for a sandwich or salad or bowl of soup is thoroughly satisfied when they leave.”
Sounds like it’s time for a visit, no?
Olsen & Company
11 Jane St