As college students, we are in a constant rush to get things done. In doing so, we sacrifice some aspects of our life that we don’t really consider as important as others, namely food. Most days, we settle for cheap imitation ramen noodles or microwavable dinners just to get something in our stomachs before we have to run out of the door. To sum it up, the college dining experience is all about lowering our standards in order to fit meals into our schedules and tight budget. What this leaves us with is the undeniable feeling of disappointment, similar to finding out that our microwavable dinner actually looks nothing like the picture on the package.
Although eating out of the box has become a part of the college culture, we sometimes need to take some time to enjoy the small things like a well-made meal and a break. Rather than ordering takeout this weekend, I decided to take myself out and find something different in Fredonia.
After hearing rumors of a new coffee shop in town, I decided to go and explore. After a little help from a friend, I was able to find Kasia Coffee. Located at 183 East Main Street, Kasia Coffee is one of Fredonia’s best-kept secrets. Despite only being seven weeks old, the small coffee shop down the road has made some huge waves on campus.
Upon arrival at Kasia Coffee, I felt a sudden wave of warmth overcome me. Even though the shop itself was warmer and drier than the chilly Fredonia weather, the overall atmosphere gave me a cozy kind of feeling. However, this was all a part of the experience that Anthony Sturniolo and Karen Mattison wanted customers to have when coming to Kasia.
“We really try hard to meet requests of each individual customer, to make each individual customer feel welcome and like they’re getting exactly what they want,” says Mattison, former Fredonia alumni and public relations manager of Kasia coffee. “We just want people comfortable here.”
The store is not only welcoming but offers a few board games to make the experience more entertaining. Mattison, a self-proclaimed “board game freak” plans on adding more to their repertoire of tabletop games as well as including some reading materials for diners.
“My intention is to get used books in here and make them available for people, sort of like a Barnes and Noble kind of vibe — to sit and read some magazines,” said Mattison. “That kind of thing.”
One of the most eye-catching features of the shop is the table embedded with a chess set.The games really add to the environment of the store and would definitely make for a great night out with friends.
However, this is only half of the affair — the rest lies within the food itself. The most unique thing about Kasia Coffee is the quality of the ingredients that they use. Sturniolo, owner of Kasia Coffee, takes the quality of the food seriously, crafting culinary bliss using the best of the best.
“We try to do as much as we can like [using] local, homegrown produce, free-range meats and the olive oil is a California olive oil — uncorrupted.” Some of their dishes boast the use of all natural, local ingredients like freshly churned Amish butter or farm-grown vegetables.
In addition to this, Kasia makes sure to include everyone on its menu. Mattison says that the store includes “gluten-free options” as well as “vegan and vegetarian options” for anyone with dietary restrictions.
The same attention to detail and quality carries onto their drink selection as well. The store only uses specially filtered Culligan water in its wide variety of drinks, from Italian sodas to hot drinks. On top of that, Kasia has its own brand of coffee beans from a local beanery that imports them from South America.
The food in Kasia is not only wholesome and tasteful, but the shop helps other local businesses in the process.
“Being a small, independent local business, it’s good to promote each other,” says Sturniolo. “And plus, if you’re getting local vegetables, it’s just healthier.”
With all the positivity associated with Kasia Coffee, it still plans to add more to what it does for the community. Currently, Sturniolo and Mattison are in the process of obtaining licensing to allow for open mic nights, poetry readings and other similar events to take place. They are even thinking of having extended hours for Dead Week to give the students here at Fredonia a more interesting place to get their fill of cram and coffee.
Mostly everything in Kasia was handmade, and I’m not just talking about the food. Some of the woodwork, and almost all of the construction, was done by Sturniolo and his friends. On top of this, both he and Karen cook, clean and manage the restaurant while still having time to offer my friend and I another cup of coffee and a friendly conversation. In Kasia, I didn’t feel like another customer — I felt like a friend. When I asked Erik Danielson, a barista