Albert J. Marro / Staff Photo
Harvest Moon Café recently opened off Route 7 in Pittsford. Here, co-owner Andrea McCaulley offers up a couple of her almond pastries.
PITTSFORD — Andrea McCaulley loves food the way Vermonters love their Red Sox. Much of McCaulley’s life revolves around food — food prepared and cooked to perfection.
So several years after running Simple Elegance, a catering and bakery business on State Street in Rutland, McCaulley and her husband, Harry, began looking for just the right place. They found it on Route 7 and in September opened the Harvest Moon Café and Bakehouse on Route 7 in the Sugarhouse Square.
The philosophy that goes into their recipes is combining the best of two worlds.
“We’re local with a dash of global diversity,” said Andrea McCaulley, during an interview one morning before putting in a long day in the kitchen.
The international touch comes from their use of spices from around the world.
“When we say we’re a dash of global diversity it’s because I have such a big repertoire I’ve collected from around the world,” she said.
The couple use as much locally sourced foods as possible, including Hathaway Farm, Cartier’s Meats and Longhill maple syrup.
“There’s nothing out of a box, frozen,” said Harry McCaulley, who handles the baking.
With so much of today’s food loaded with additives, he said the Harvest Moon serves “just good, wholesome” food.
Before opening the restaurant in September, the couple did their research, adding to their experience and knowledge of the food business. They spent weeks at a time over several years crisscrossing the country in search of the best food and recipes. Their stops often took them to out-of-the-way places, from four-star restaurants to hole-in-the-wall eateries.
The McCaulleys have lengthy resumes in the business. Andrea McCaulley grew up in Connecticut; Harry in Pennsylvania. They met while attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
While Andrea McCaulley oversees the kitchen, her husband is downstairs tending to the baking.
“I’ve always like to cook since I was 10 years old,” Andrea McCaulley said.
As the executive chef/owner, she collaborates with Chef Lisa Brown.
Harry McCaulley’s specialty is breads and pastries. His éclairs, almond horns and fruit tarts are popular, but he says with a dash of humility, “It’s all basic stuff.”
There are no cooking secrets at the Harvest Moon. The open kitchen faces the main dining area with its post and beam ceiling and black and white checkered tile floor. Diners have their choice of a booth or table. The booths, with replica lanterns hanging overhead, have a view of the green pastures and hills across Route 7.
The McCaulleys said they hit upon the name Harvest Moon one day while looking out at the farm fields and rolling hills in the distance.
And with a name like Harvest Moon, there are a number of “moon” specialties on the menu. There are Moon Cakes, Moon Burgers and a Moon Salad.
Moon Cakes are folded, thin-stuffed pancakes made in a crepe machine. MoonLight in Vermont Cakes ($8.50) combine Vermont cheddar, egg yolks, bacon, morning spuds and maple swirl. There are several Moon Cake offerings, including Fly Me to the Moon Cakes and Moon Goddess Cakes.
They also serve a variety of wraps, both stuffed and unstuffed, sandwiches and toasted panini ciabattas ($8.75).
A recent dinner menu included Manicotti Mountain, pasta stuffed with ricotta, asiago and provolone; Wild LuLu Lemon Salmon, seared fish with field greens, with lemon vinaigrette. For the meat lover there is sirloin steak from Hathaway Farm.
There’s coffee, tea, beer and wine. The tea selection is extensive and global in its variety. There’s a variety of Vermont craft beers.
The menu also includes some favorites carried over from the days at Simple Elegance. “Every day there’s someone coming in from Simple Elegance,” Andrea McCaulley said.
The Harvest Moon Café serves lunch and dinner. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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