The new owners of Shirley’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs are opening a cafe in the historic Jonesville Store.
Jean Pierre Lareau, his son Alexei Lareau and Alexei’s girlfriend, Stephanie Ho-Tran, will run Shirley’s Cafe, which has a grand opening slated for 7 a.m. Tuesday in the store at 989 Main St. in Jonesville.
Thursday will be the one-year anniversary since the two Lareaus and Ho-Tran bought Shirley’s Restaurant on West Avenue, an iconic diner that for decades served up traditional diner fare. A week ago, the new owners changed the menu to include crepes and new omelets while keeping the classics, Jean Pierre Lareau said.
“The response is fantastic,” he said, and the Shirley’s Cafe menu will be based on those new items and combine comfort food and novelty.
“The breakfast will be innovative new creations,” Lareau said. The menu includes several different crepes every day as well as omelets with smoked salmon and one with avocado, roasted tomato and feta cheese. Pancakes will be on the menu as well.
Lunch will consist of daily soups, sandwiches on homemade bread, burgers and salads. Montreal smoked meats will be served, bringing some of the Lareaus’ French-Canadian roots into the eatery.
The cafe also will serve gourmet coffees, such as espresso and lattes.
It will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, including Thanksgiving Day, when they will be serving a traditional turkey lunch special.
The trio have a rent agreement for the building and an option to buy. The Jonesville Store, built around 1854, has been used for various businesses over the years, most recently as a restaurant and earlier as a general store.
In December 2011, John and Jean Travis and their son, Ben, closed the Jonesville Store after operating it as a restaurant, gift shop and venue for live music since 2006. They and partner Harris Unger were at odds about the direction for the business to take, they said at the time.
The Travises have since started operating a food truck on West Avenue called Eat Good Food.
Robert and Maria Decker reopened the Jonesville Store in early January with some changes to the menu and decor. The couple leased the building and planned to buy it but in July closed it abruptly, citing an environmental issue.
The new operators repainted the interior and added a counter with six or seven stools for seating in the 50-seat cafe.
“The people who come alone, a lot of the guys, they like to sit at the counter,” Lareau said.
In addition to the restaurant and now the cafe, the Shirley’s team also serves food at Saratoga Race Course, including poutine, a French-Canadian comfort food of french fries, gravy and cheese curds.
The namesake of Shirley’s Restaurant, Shirley Bishop, opened the restaurant in 1964 as a drive-in. Her son Lee Bishop took it over four years later and turned it into a sit-down restaurant.
Shirley Bishop died in 2001 at age 76 from injuries