By Paul Post
A new Glens Falls restaurant is specializing in farm-to-table dishes featuring fresh food sourced from throughout the region.
Johanna von Geldern and her daughters, Katriel and Cagney Houlihan, welcomed their first patrons to Mint, at 80 Warren St., on April 8. She previously owned Sweet Beet Bistro in Greenwich, which closed in March 2020 when COVID-19 hit.
Her focus on serving the highest quality, fresh food remains unchanged.
“With COVID, it just kind of re-emphasized the importance of healthy eating and knowing where food comes from,” von Geldern said. “We became part of the food revolution, reducing carbon footprint, and teaching people about ingredients we were learning about, too.”
“It kind of evolved organically because we’re surrounded by so many farms and artisans,” she said. “We saw this abundance of beautiful food around us.”
The eatery is housed in the former Mailings Made Easy building, owned by Glens Falls developer Peter Hoffman. Its elegant atmosphere reflects the owners’ commitment to providing a rewarding experience for each guest.
Paintings by Glens Falls artist Susan Beadle adorn the walls. A long, black banquette from the State Capitol in Albany gives the main dining room a flair of historic ambiance. In summer, a large glass door will open onto a spacious outdoor dining patio.
When developing the menu, care was also taken to accommodate every diner’s wish, from pizza using custom-made dough from Rock Hill Bakehouse to pasture-grazed meats, wild caught seafood, pasta and vegan dishes.
Vermont-based Black River Produce, which distributes throughout New England and parts of New York, is Mint’s main food purveyor. Items also come from The Alleged Farm in Valley Falls, Old Saratoga Mercantile in Schuylerville, whose greenhouse yields fresh greens year round, plus Glens Falls Produce, which sources items from Boston markets.
A highlight of Mint’s cheeseboard is the popular Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vt.
Chef Christopher Kerr joins Mint after spending several years at area establishments such as Lake George Beach Club, where he was executive chef, along with Lake Local and Mingle on the Avenue in Saratoga Springs.
“Once summer hits I can’t wait to go to the farmer’s market, talk to local growers and see what kinds of products we can get,” he said. “It’s important for people to respect where food comes from and to broaden their horizons about food.”
Mint’s mission is giving each guest a “healthy but super-fun time” in an “elegant but comfortable” setting where casual attire is the rule, Katriel Houlihan said.
Several years ago, while living in Florida, von Geldern came north to visit Katriel and happened to stop in the former DISH Bistro in Greenwich, which she quickly fell in love with.
“I had worked for a friend who needed someone to run a bar and restaurant on the pier at Panama City Beach,” von Geldern said. “It was kind of like getting a master’s degree in how to run a small food business because we had to get all the approvals, figure out the menu, hire people, and know how to handle money. I did that for one whole season and it was successful.”
But she always wanted a small place of her own, like DISH. Not long afterward, during lunch at a Chinese restaurant, von Geldern broke open a fortune cookie. “Inside it said, ‘Dish,’ one word,” she said. A couple of months later, Katriel contacted her mother, letting her know that DISH Bistro was for sale, turnkey.
So von Geldern, a former elementary education teacher, decided to start a new full-time career.After a year in business, she rebranded DISH to Sweet Beet Bistro, with an emphasis on farm-to-table menu items.Its website is www.mint518.com.
Hours are 3-9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 3-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.