BY DEB AND TIM SMITH
There is a new kid on the block in the restaurant world of Mendon and it will carry over a few local traditions, embellished by a new “touch of the green” Irish flair. Located in the Mendon Commons Plaza, which is the one on the east side of Pittsford-Mendon Road in the hamlet, Caifé Erin is setting up shop in the old Crabby Dan’s location.
The new eatery is owned and operated by Richard Baker & Addie Neary. Born in Ireland, Richard has worked as a chef since coming to the U.S. decades ago. He worked at Mendon 64 for a couple of years when that restaurant first opened so he did have a basic familiarity with the hamlet.
An impetus behind the move was the desire to spend more time home with the kids; collectively Richard and Addie have 5 altogether. In the gourmet chef jobs Richard has previously held, later evening hours pretty much came with the territory.
Speaking of hours… Caifé Erin will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 6:30 am to 2:00 pm and Friday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Part of the tradition that will be returning to Mendon is that Caifé Erin has possession of the award winning “secret” fish fry recipe that was such a favorite at Crabby Dan’s.
We asked the couple what had led to their decision to come to Mendon and they shared that they had been looking for a spot in locations ranging from Honeoye to Ovid to Waterloo. When they connected with plaza owner Tim Schiefen, “It just felt like the right fit.” They signed the deal right after Halloween, got the key right after Thanksgiving, and have been hard at work ever since.
All of that hard work will culminate with a grand opening this coming Sunday, January 21st. Mendon Town officials will be present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony which is scheduled for 11:00 on Sunday, with Richard and Addie’s two youngest kids participating.
Part of the renovations include a strategic relocation of the bathroom. For those familiar with the establishment, you may recall that the old bathroom was rather awkwardly located on the right side of the space, as you enter, kind of behind the counter. The new bathroom, complete with changing table, is located in the back left corner of the space where a storage room used to be.
Richard and Addie stressed the ecofriendly approach Caifé Erin will take, partnering with a Rochester firm for a composting arrangement. They also strive to support local businesses, pointing to a Stoney Ridge Farms maple syrup ball cap that was resting on the counter during our interview.
They sent us home with a menu which we perused to locate some tasty Irish specialties they feature, in addition to a nice variety of all-American fare. To kickstart your day you might want to try the “Irish Breakfast” which consists of two eggs, sausage, bacon, black & white pudding, tomato, mushrooms, and toast. Their “Boxty” is a traditional Irish potato pancake made with grated and mashed potatoes; pan fried until golden crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.
So, if you’re looking for something special to start your Sunday, why not head to the hamlet and be a part of the Grand Opening of Caifé Erin.