Alchemy Bagel Cafe popped onto the scene at the Glens Falls Farmer’s Market this summer and almost immediately became a favorite part of our Saturday morning routine. Walk the dogs - head to the market - fill our bag with fresh fruits and veggies - grab bagels, a baguette, and a blueberry muffin from Alchemy - head home and devour the aforementioned baked goods on the back porch. We are so excited that they are now up and running in their new space at The Shirt Factory so that we can grab their goodies pretty much any other day of the week, too!
It’s been fun getting to know owners Meg and Alex at the Market this summer and seeing their passion for what they do. We loved hearing the story about Meg receiving a cake decorating kit for her 11th birthday, whipping up a cake, and her grandfather being so impressed that he encouraged her go to college for baking. “Only the best,” as she remembers him saying, “Go to the CIA.” And go to the CIA she did - the Culinary Institute of America - where she met Alex in what she describes as a “love at first sight” scenario, graduated with a Baking and Pastry Degree, and the rest is history.
Meanwhile, Alex, who grew up in Queensbury, started his baking career at the age of 16 working summers in Nantucket at the widely known Something Natural Bakery. He worked his way up over five summer seasons, gained knowledge in the operation of a high volume bakery, and while he studied briefly at the Culinary Institute of America (and met Meg!), he ultimately found the best fit with the Sustainable Agriculture and Production Program at Green Mountain College, where he was able to combine his two loves - farming and cooking.
While they spent the last few years working on Nantucket, they came back to the Glens Falls area to be closer to family as their son gets ready to start preschool. “We knew from our connections to the area that Glens Falls was turning the corner for the better and new businesses were moving into the city, along with more young people,” they said. “This gave us the confidence that Glens Falls would be the right place for us to start up; as it was, in our minds, a way to break into a growing culinary scene. This, in combination with the access to a commercial kitchen [at The Shirt Factory], which was generously outfitted to our needs by Eric Unkauf, made it possible for us to get off the ground.”
And if you’re curious, like us, about how the name came to be - Meg noted that it’s because Alchemy “is the predecessor of modern chemistry, which is a large part of pastry and baking. Managing the interactions of ingredients, elements, and specific technique is essential to great baking, and is the premise of Alchemy.” Perfect choice!
So, the Cafe! The space is perfect for a morning pick-me-up, light and bright with a big wall of windows on the far wall, and a gorgeous counter that Alex built himself.
And of course, the food! They’ve got a plentiful variety of the most delicious bagels, but if we had to pick a favorite, it’d be the Parmesan. We loved it even more as a bookend to their traditional breakfast sandwich, served alongside a hot coffee at the cafe. Their blueberry muffins were a favorite of ours all summer (made with farm fresh berries from Hand Melon Farm in Greenwich), and of course we could not leave without a baguette (a hot commodity in our house, since Tom has been known to steal large portions of it when I’m not looking!). And don’t leave without grabbing a few of their amazing macarons - so many great flavors like carrot cake (our favorite!), salted caramel, pumpkin, espresso… we could go on! We also couldn’t help but notice the cupcakes that were featured on their Instagram the other day - chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing and crushed butterfingers on top. It just doesn’t get much better than that!
Have you been over to the Cafe yet? They’re open Wednesday - Sunday in Suite 111 of the Shirt Factory. See you there - but save us a couple of Parmesan bagels! ;)
P.S. See more of our First Look series with local restaurants here.