SENECA FALLS — Customers at Café XIX can order a tasty breakfast or lunch. They can also get a free side order of women’s rights.
Café XIX is named after the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the one giving women the right to vote. It took effect in 1920.
Customers can look to the northwest and view the statute of “When Stanton Met Anthony” on East Bayard Street. They can see the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and the backs of stores on Fall Street, all key sites to the first women’s right convention held here in July 1848.
The business will be buzzing this weekend, as the third annual Women’s Right to Run 19K takes flight.
Inside Café XIX, customers can study art deco-style paintings of famous women’s rights leaders on the walls: The visages of Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Bloomer, Carrie Chapman Catt, Julia Ward Howe, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman and Martha Wright adorn them. The napkin holders on tables contain information on women’s rights leaders. The menu features items named after those famous women.
Owner Casey Galloway is a Waterloo High graduate. She attended Paul Smith’s College of Culinary Arts, and her experience with food includes being chef at Mackenzie-Child, Wells College, the Aurora Inn and Zuzu’s before starting Café XIX.
Galloway said she’s fully invested in Seneca Falls history as the Birthplace of the Women’s Rights Movement and is proud to pair that history with her restaurant.
During the conversion of the former supermarket into the Generations Bank headquarters, President Menzo Case thought it fitting to attach a privately owned café in a theme that recognizes the town’s significant history, both for locals and tourists.
Asked if the café has a specialty, Galloway thought a second.
“Our cinnamon rolls are special, but so is our black-bean burger,” she said. “Vegetarians love it.”
Café XIX is known for its coffee blends too. They get their coffee beans from Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters and Cobblestone Coffee Roasters of Geneva.
Since the café is within the building that houses Generations Bank, bank employees are frequent customers. Café XIX also does catering, both on-site and off. Galloway takes pride in offering fresh, homemade food at a fair price in a pleasant atmosphere.
The website Yelp accepts comments from Café XIX customers. A few of those reviews:
- “For lunch, grab the black bean burger, so good and healthy.” — Anonymous.
- “Probably the only place in Seneca Falls with fresh food and true gluten-free options.” — Anonymous.
- “Stopped by for lunch before going to the Women’s Rights Park and it did not disappoint. Friendly service, delicious food and trendy ambiance.” — Emily P. of Rochester.
- “Cute place, modern decor and overall atmosphere, a must try.” — Olivia D. of Beverly Hills, Calif.
- “Three of us enjoyed lunch. Tuna melt on rye was excellent and crab cake was meaty. Amazing cole slaw and fresh fruit. Service was pleasant and efficient. Casual ambience with nice pop art decor. Great lunch spot.” — Liz H. of Pittsburgh.
- “I would recommend this fast service restaurant to anyone in town for breakfast or coffee.” — Kayla F. of New York City.
“Business has been very good,” Galloway says. “Going into our fifth year and doing well is a big step. The support has been great, and I’m optimistic about the future.”
Galloway has employed Waterloo High School graduate Sarah Hoffman as an intern, along with current Waterloo High culinary arts BOCES student Doug Bates. Hoffman is in her final year at Finger Lakes Community College and works at the café part-time now.
Among her customers: actor Christopher McDonald, a Romulus graduate. Galloway said the great-great-grandniece of Harriet Tubman and great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton also has visited, although she did not know the person’s name.