It began with a chance meeting at a mutual friend’s house. A seriously delicious cupcake soon followed, and it was just a matter of time before the two, Jen Powlison and Katie Fleissner, became best friends and opened a business together in the center of the village of Saugerties.
Both moms from Woodstock, the pair own The Wise Owl Café & Curiosities at 196 Main Street, adjacent to the Orpheum Movie Theater. The shop is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Powlison and Fleissner describe their shop as “a unique combination of eatery and retail shopping with a variety of sweet and savory foods and artisan-made products.”
Though there are a variety of hand-crocheted items, wood decorations, and other interesting objects created by local artists, the real attraction to this tiny shop is the food. Powlison specializes in soups and noshes. Fleissner, who has extensive experience in the food industry, is the baker. Her tarts, torts and cupcakes are the main attraction.
She also specializes in vegan and vegetarian dishes. One item that’s made in few local establishments is steamed eggs. “We steam them,” Katie explained, “and they look like scrambled eggs but they are so much smoother” and more delicate. Don’t tell anyone her secret is an espresso machine).
“One of the things we want to people to know is that most of our food comes from locally sourced farms,” Fleissner said. “We’re really all about farm-to-table, and we’re really proud of that.”
Added Powlison, “Also, we’re really aware of the needs of our customers. A number of them asked us about gluten-free items so we adapted a number of our items for them.”
“We’re people persons,” she continued. “We love to talk to our customers, get to know them, and create the types of dishes they want.”
They offer a five-bean coffee.
The shop on Main Street is 218 square feet small, barely bigger than the inside of a VW microbus. Since there is not room for a kitchen, the pair rent space at St. Mary of the Snow’s kitchen.
Two more shops ready to open
The Wise Owl isn’t the only new shop in Saugerties.
Jennifer Tsakis, who had an antiques shop in Woodstock until the owner of her building sold it, is moving to the village. Her Pop Vintage Antiques Shop will soon open at 252 Main Street.
Pat Rauh is opening Kylie’s Sweetshop and Gelateria at 120 Partition Street.