Good Eats & Sips is even more self-explanatory than it sounds.
The new Skaneateles restaurant, which opened in mid-June at 18 W. Genesee St., offers a menu that's good for your body, your taste buds and even your Instagram page. It includes fruit smoothies, teas and specialty bagel sandwiches, as well as a variety of picturesque bowls filled with grains, greens and noodles.
Marie-Helene Gingras, who owns the business with her husband, chef Don Agate, said they've been looking to open a place of their own for years. They came close to buying a few properties in the area, and considered several different concepts. Good Eats & Sips, then, resulted from the right mix of idea and location.
Being from Montreal, where breakfast restaurants are commonplace, Gingras felt the idea could work in Skaneateles, where they aren't.
She found the perfect location at 18 W. Genesee St. At the time, it was the tasting room of White Birch Vineyards, which she managed. In the heart of the village, its mix of food and vehicle traffic made the idea of a breakfast restaurant feasible, so she and Agate leapt at the chance to take over the location.
But they wanted to open more than just a breakfast restaurant.
"We wanted to capture the breakfast crowd, but we also wanted to offer them options that they wouldn't feel bad about themselves after eating," Gingras said. "Lighter options that are also rewarding, that fill you up but in a way that keeps you moving."
They decided to center the menu around bowls due to their simplicity and portability — and the latter has become all too important during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gingras said. The bowls are prepared by Agate, a Cortland native and chef who's worked at The Krebs, The Springside Inn and more locally, as well as restaurants in New York City, Texas and Montreal. He gives the bowls and other items at Good Eats & Sips a visual appeal, Gingras said, their color and composition remaining photogenic even when the restaurant is overwhelmed by customers.
That aspect of the menu has been played up by CinSyr, a Syracuse-based creative group that worked with Good Eats & Sips on its branding. For instance, every circle in "good" is filled with top-down images of the restaurant's bowls in the logo on its website, goodskan.com. And A&M Graphics, of Auburn, printed the group's artwork for display on the walls.
Gingras said renovating the former tasting room into Good Eats & Sips was a simple process, requiring little more than some painting, the removal of a wine shelf and the installation of a bench. Otherwise, the polygonal archways and other visual details of the former tasting room were "perfect" for the concept of a breakfast restaurant, she continued.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been more of a complication in the restaurant's opening. It was originally planned for Memorial Day weekend, Gingras said. And the state's reopening guidance has limited Good Eats & Sips to 50% of its capacity and required a list of sanitation measures for its staff of 10 to follow. But she and Agate have adapted by removing menu items that weren't as portable as the bowls, as well as creating an easy takeout system that leaves items on a shelf labeled with the letters of the customer's last name.
Despite the pandemic, the response to Good Eats & Sips has been great, Gingras said, and she and Agate are grateful for that. Eventually, she'd like to explore later hours for the 7 a.m.-5 p.m. restaurant. She also hopes to be able to franchise it one day — if she and Agate can make the idea work in more locations.
"I would like to find other villages that need this," she said. "They all have their pizza shops, but they don't have this."
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