Emma’s helps ease conflicted feelings toward Cazenovia

I always have had the feeling that there is some tension between Cazenovia and the rest of Madison County. The village  is a charmer, no question. And it has money, and it has its rules (i.e. required permits for out-of-town fisherfolk who want to use its lake), and it has this air about it that just rubs the wrong way sometimes.

It so wants to be Skaneateles, but isn’t quite there, and you get the sense it blames its neighboring villages and towns for dragging it down, just like the prized sibling who is embarrassed by his brothers and sisters and angry that they are holding him back from gaining entry into the more rarefied world he aspires to.

Or, maybe, none of that is true and I ought to focus more on my driving as I cruise through the Route 20 village than try to infuse human qualities to municipalities.

I pondered these deep thoughts as Wife L and I stopped in at Emma’s, a breakfast and lunch place on the north side of  Cazenovia’s Albany Street. I’ve always been conflicted about Emma’s, too. Folks who have written to me here on Unchained Restaurants rave about the place. But the last time we thought about eating breakfast there I had called to check that they were open and had a bewildering conversation with a woman who said that they serve breakfast until they close, which back then was around 11, unless they wanted to close earlier. Huh?

Anyway, on this past Saturday the small restaurant was busy, with its 10 or so small booths filled and its counter nearly so. We waited for our waitress to seat us,  as the sign directed us to, and after she cleared a vacated booth we slid in.

The wooden booths reflect years of idle carving by diners who scratched their initials and dates in the wood. They must have used steak knives, because none of my silverware was going to be useful for carving “Unchained 11/14/11” into anything.

Our waitress was very efficient; she was on her own and  moved  quickly and seamlessly from booth to booth.

We perused the menu and the specials up on the board over the grill. Frittatas, blueberry pancakes, and Belgian waffles were a few of the specials, but I opted for a cheddar cheese omelet that came with fresh fruit and toast. It was all nicely done, with the fresh rye bread a treat.  Wife L had eggs, bacon, and home fries and deemed it all good.

There were definitely regular patrons in the place, as they stopped to chat with one another and with the waitress on the way out. The restaurant had a good feel to it that morning, and we felt welcomed there. So that was good.

 It was sad to see that Albert’s restaurant across the street was shuttered. The longtime eatery was on the market for about three years, and will now become a dance studio and apartments.  I suppose it’s good that patrons will exercise more than just their elbows in the renovated space.  But Albert’s always seemed like one of the regular guys, one of the good guys in Caz, and you hate to see a place like that go.  Shoot, there I go again. I’ll stop now.

3 thoughts on “Emma’s helps ease conflicted feelings toward Cazenovia

  1. A delayed comment but sincere, nonetheless. We spent many Sunday mornings at Emma’s when our son was a student at Cazenovia College. Always enjoyed our breakfast and, even more, our visits to “Caz.” We found it to be a welcoming, comfortable community which — if it could ditch its brutal winters — would be a fine retirement destination down the road. We haven’t been back since he graduated in 2009 but it is — and will always be — near the top of our list of weekend getaways.

  2. I love Emma’s food and ‘tude, and I hope Dave and Chris will offer up both for as long as they can. But the idea that Cazenovia “so wants to be Skaneateles” could not be more wrong. It’s a superficial comparison – based on income levels in the two villages – and it not reflected in my reality as a long-time resident of the area.

  3. For great food, served by the finest waitress in madison county and beyond, I urge giving Emma’s a try. Sure the food can sometimes be served with ( or without) attitude. I like it both ways myself. And as far as a side serving of soapbox conservative politics….. Can’t beat Emma’s. *****

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