On Jan. 16, the former Geneseo restaurant Papa Jay’s Homemade Café reopened at 93 Main St. in Mount Morris. The family-owned restaurant initially opened in the village of Geneseo on Dec. 1, 2010 before closing in September 2012.
According to owner Jay Phillips, the central reason for the change in location was the high fixed cost of rent and utilities that financially restricted the business in Geneseo.
“We couldn’t and still can’t afford to be on Main Street in Geneseo,” Phillips said.
According to Phillips, Geneseo was a great place to start the restaurant and past clientele have increasingly been going the extra distance to visit the new site.
“Some of the college kids are starting to find us. We certainly are very happy when the kids come on over. Many Geneseo people have come through the doors,” Phillips said.
Phillips said he is happy with the move to Mount Morris and added, “Being right on Main Street in a village has an intimacy with people that when you sit back off the road a little bit you just don’t get to enjoy.”
“One additional benefit of being in Mount Morris is a general, cooperative atmosphere among the business owners. Many owners come over to encourage and offer support. Instead of being seemingly independent, they are intentionally working together,” Phillips added.
Phillips also spoke about the new location.
“This is a brand new space and everything was redone for us on the inside. It is easy to heat, to clean and to serve customers,” he said.
According to Phillips, this restaurant is smaller than the initial one, which contributes to a dramatically lower fixed overhead and provides for a cleaner, more manageable place to run a small business.
Although Papa Jay’s moved, Phillips said that he still plans to return to Geneseo in a few weeks with his pop-up camper, which he described as “very humble.”
“I’ve come to learn that if you use what you have, it doesn’t so much matter what form it comes in as long as the quality is the best,” he said.
In terms of what his pop-up restaurant project entails, Phillips explained that he will set up the camper on a Saturday night starting at 9 p.m. and will continue to serve until the food is gone.
“I am excited to come [to Geneseo]. I’ve gotten into more variety of stir-fry and we call it ‘Jay-Wokking,’” Phillips said.
Looking toward the future of his business, Phillips said that he is taking all possible options into consideration, including catering events for Geneseo organizations and cooking on the spot for large parties.
Phillips said he is also considering adding a new specialty to his menu: homemade ice cream with paired flavor and gourmet sundaes, such as blueberry lavender ice cream with Scottish shortbread and homemade blueberry sauce.
“It doesn’t seem as though there are many options for quality homemade dessert locations so this may be a big part of our future,” Phillips said.