GREENFIELD — Once again, a State Street storefront in Greenfield is home to a new downtown eatery as HEY Cafe opened its doors on Dec. 31.
The cafe previously was at Riley Park Plaza at the corner of Main and Apple Streets; however, when the site of the former New York Little Italy Pizza became available in late 2013, John Cary and Kevin LaPack, the men behind the operation, jumped at the chance to be a bit closer to downtown clientele.
New York Little Italy Pizza revitalized the space after a nearly year-long vacancy, when they began baking pizzas there again in March; however, business volume and traffic became problematic.
Cary and LaPack said they are banking on an increase in traffic with a location centered in the business district and essentially across the street from the courthouse.
In addition to increased foot traffic into the dining room, Cary said the new location’s proximity to other downtown business will make it easier to deliver to lunchtime customers.
“It’s deliver, deliver, deliver,” Cary said. “We’ll deliver to the courthouse or anywhere downtown.”
The restaurant will continue to offer the same menu and fare as it did previously, including continuing the no-waste concept that allows little to go unused.
Cary and LaPack say they will also continue to buy ingredients from local shops and farms.
“It’s still the HEY Café, just a different building,” Cary said.
The weekend’s one-two punch of frigid temperatures and heavy snow dampened the cafe’s initial opening, but Cary said new signage will go up next week.
LaPack said they will utilize the large pizza ovens that came with the property – primarily because they’re too big to be removed through the doors – to add flatbreads and a Mediterranean flavor to the menu.
The cafe is also planning to expand into adjoining space next door formerly occupied by Fleener Wholesale Coin Supply to construct a 40-seat dining room for dinner.
“I’ve probably shown that adjoining space umpteen times,” said building owner Jeff Congdon. “And umpteen times they’ve made the second phone call. So when John said he wanted extra space, I said ‘I’m going to make you a deal you can’t refuse.’ ”
The cafe is targeting March to open the new dining room.
“It will be a nice dinner atmosphere, but it’s still a work in progress,” LaPack said.
The cafe’s 3,000-square-foot former site at Riley Park Plaza on Greenfield’s east side is back on the market, and property co-owner Debbie Pfieffer said though they’re not locked in to any particular type of business, they wouldn’t mind having another nice place to eat nearby.
“We’re open, but I’d like to have another restaurant back on this side of town,” she said.