WINSTED — After four years in Canaan, Carrie Stetson has moved The Railway Cafe to Winsted and will open in early April.
Stetson originally opened the cafe in 2016 at GEER Village Senior Living Community in Canaan.
“But then last year the Covid pandemic hit, and we were unable to have the public on the premises out of safety concerns for residents at GEER,” Stetson said. “We were going to try to open back up because we all loved the area and our customers were all wonderful. But then we decided to make other plans when the pandemic got much worse than anyone had expected.”
Stetson and her family are Winsted residents and decided to reopen the cafe in their hometown.
“There was this space at 580 Main Street that was for rent that was vacant,” Stetson said. “It’s an old historic building from 1772. As soon as I saw it I was dead set on having the cafe there and not going anywhere else. Fred Richards, who owns F&G Richards Jewelers next door, owns this building and he said he would love a new cafe in town.”
Stetson said that she has been in food service for 30 years and could not think of doing anything else with her life.
“I tried working in other fields, but I would always miss cooking and would always go back to it,” she said. “I can’t tell you what it is, but I love cooking.”
Stetson said that she has big plans for what she will serve at the cafe, including a long list of old favorites from the previous location in Canaan.
“We will include daily specials and breakfasts, including delicious skillet scrambles, egg sandwiches, waffles with seasonal fruit toppings,” she said. “All of my baked goods will be homemade, including muffins. But cinnamon buns are my specialty. For lunch, I will have wraps, fresh sandwiches, salads, and homemade soups.”
Stetson said she will have a full-service ice cream parlor at the cafe, which will include 20 flavors of ice cream.
“When I was interviewing different ice cream companies, they told me ‘if you want to be in the ice cream game, you must have at least 20 different flavors,’” she said. “I said yep, I want to be in the ice cream game. The parlor will have its room in the building, and we will have homemade ice cream cones.”
She added that the cafe will also have vegan, gluten-free, and low-carb options.
As for the name Railway Cafe, Stetson said she came up with the name, along with her old boss Dawn, because “Canaan is a railroad town.”
“When I came to Winsted, I decided to still keep the name because the cafe is right across the street from the old railroad,” she said. “It works because you can see the footbridge leading to the trail where the railroad tracks used to be. I thought it was neat, so we decided to stay with it.”
Stetson added that when the restaurant opens it would adhere to all state Covid related protocols.
“We are following the six-foot rule,” she said. “Our tables will be spaced out accordingly. The waitresses will be masked and of course, we will sanitize in-between each customer coming and I do have outdoor seating. It will be ready when it gets warmer. I don’t know if it will be ready right away, but we will have outdoor seating as well to accommodate customers.”
For more information about the Railway Cafe, including its operating hours once it opens, call 860-238-7677.
The cafe’s website is still under construction but will be online before the end of March at www.railwaycafewinsted.com