Downtown Quincy will soon be host to a new place to dine and get caffeinated.
Bantam Bay, a local, family-owned business that is known for its homemade pasta, bagels, jams and jellies, and is commonly spotted at Havana and Quincy’s farmers markets, will be opening up a downtown Quincy venue.
Jennifer LaCognata, who owns Bantam Bay with her family, says the cafe will serve breakfast and lunch meals, with to-go options for dinnertime customers.
LaCognata says the cafe will also always “have a pot on” for the coffee lovers of Quincy, who need a caffeinated pick-me-up throughout the day, making this new shop one of the only locally-owned places in Quincy to purchase a cup of coffee.
The shop (which has not yet unveiled its name), will serve everything from Bantam Bay’s locally-famous bagels and pasta, to salads and healthy meal options.
“We will be using a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits,” said LaCognata. “We will also be sourcing as much as we can from local growers. We want to keep everything within the community.”
Bantam Bay has made itself a local reputation for its farmers market offerings, and LaCognata said this new cafe will continue to bring those same local favorites, while also opening the doors to new things to dish up on the menu.
The LaCognata family includes Jennifer and her husband, Joseph, and their two children, Nicolas and Emelia, all of whom have varying levels of involvement in Bantam Bay and the new restaurant foray.
“Opening a restaurant is just something I have always wanted to do,” said Jennifer LaCognata.
A lifelong lover of the culinary arts, LaCognata grew up close to the restaurant industry, as her mother ran a restaurant and inspired a love of good, hearty and healthy foods.
When the LaCognata family moved to Gadsden County from the Tampa Bay area in May of 2021, LaCognata said they quickly noticed that the access to good restaurants in Quincy was limited.
In March of 2022, the family launched Bantam Bay at local farmers markets, and LaCognata said that everything ‘clicked’ together – from community support to family involvement, everything came together to make Bantam Bay a near instant success.
LaCognata said that her family hopes to see the doors opening on the downtown Quincy cafe sometime around March of this year.
“We still haven’t figured everything out, and we’ve got a lot to do still,” LaCognata admits, but not before adding that work is happening regularly on furnishing and restoring the downtown site that will become home to the cafe.
While a lot of work must be done to retrofit the downtown building (which will be next door to the Gadsden Arts Center & Museum on Madison Street, on the courthouse square), LaCognata says that everything is being done to respect the building’s age and roots.
“We are trying to keep as much history as possible in the building,” she adds.
The cafe will be opening as a partnership between the Hinson family of Gadsden County, and will also function as a sort of hall of memorabilia for the Hinson Oil Company.
“There will be a lot to look at, on the walls of the cafe,” said LaCognata.
LaCognata also says that hours of operation for the cafe have not yet been decided, but the LaCognata family are taking into consideration several aspects, including the fact that most Quincy establishments are closed on Sunday and Monday, something that LaCognata says is a ‘shame’.
Jennifer LaCognata did say they want the cafe to remain open five days out of the week, with plenty of opportunities for people to grab breakfast, lunch, and reheatable dinners to go.
“We want this to be a place where people can come in, sit down, and have a good meal,” said LaCognata.
The cafe will also feature places for people to work on laptops, with accessible charging stations for portable devices.
While coffee will be on the menu, LaCognata says there currently are not plans to have a full-service, barista style offerings at the cafe – at least not right away.
For those who want a healthy breakfast and lunch option, and a place to meet with friends over a pot of coffee, this new nook may be exactly what Quincy has been craving.
Ashley Hunter – email@example.com