Uptown Kingston diners can expect some new changes and options in the next few months.
First, Gabriel’s Café will be moving from its current John Street location to the Wall Street space about to be vacated by Kimms. Café owner Gabriel Vasquez has been re-finishing the former Kimms to open an international food market and café with bakery. The Colombia native and unabashed fan of Kingston hopes to be all set up within a month.
Vasquez will fill the 2,500-square-foot first floor of 316 Wall with fresh foods and dry goods imported from the West Indies to Latin America to the Middle East. Vasquez said he will also carry items of convenience as well, such as eggs and milk. The back of the market will have a fresh juice bar. The café will feature Gabriel’s famous soups, sandwiches and salads, coffee and fresh bakery items. Vasquez, former owner of Highland Falls Bakery, said that he is most looking forward to reuniting with his first love — baking.
“Kingston is such an international place,” Vasquez explained of his decision to do an international food market, and speculated that the building’s parking spots will be an extra draw for shoppers who he hopes will come Uptown just to visit the market. Offices will occupy the second floor of the building, and Vasquez and his family will live on the third floor.
Cooking with clean and natural foods has long been in Vasquez’s background and a hallmark of Gabriel’s Café. Vasquez said his former life as a student-turned-chef-turned-instructor at Manhattan’s Natural Gourmet Cookery School lent him the expertise to create top-notch vegetarian dishes and soups, as well as vegetarian protein choices such as seitan, tempeh or tofu and even vegan breads as well. Gabriel’s Café offers locally sourced, organic, wholesome or natural, such as meats from neighboring Fleischer’s, and serves breakfast and lunch daily. Vazquez proudly offers healthy choices like no-nitrites bacon, smoothies with not-often-mentioned fruits which seldom grace Kingston menus — guanabana, lulo, passionfruit — and natural, house-made dressings like chipotle lemon and wasabi ginger.
The owner of Saugerties-based Fez restaurant Niels Nielsen, as well as the chef of Saugerties’ Love Bites café, will be partnering together in the new Gabriel’s. “Every time a restaurant opens I used to have a heart attack,” admitted Vasquez. “But now I realize that it brings people here. More restaurants here also raise the bar.”
Slideshow image: Gabriel Vasquez in his Uptown cafe. (Photo by Carrie Jones Ross)