Farm-to-table meals are about to get a whole lot easier to find in Saratoga Springs. For more than a decade now, 9 Miles East Farm, a CSA-model food delivery business located in the town of Northumberland, NY, has been bringing farm-fresh goodies and prepared meals to peoples’ doorsteps in Saratoga County and beyond. Now, this diversified farm and food business, which is located just nine miles outside of the Spa City—hence its name—is taking its local produce revolution to the next level with the business’ first-ever standalone restaurant at 64 Excelsior Avenue, where Stark’s Garage stood for decades, just outside of Downtown Saratoga Springs.
Anyone who’s ever had a pizza delivered from 9 Miles East Farm, or picked up one of the company’s super convenient GO Boxes at a local YMCA or pop-up shop, knows what a big deal this is. The farm grows most of the ingredients for its signature meals and then delivers them to peoples’ homes across Saratoga, The Capital Region and even as far away as Boston. “Our mission is consistent across all of our operations,” says CEO Gordon Sacks, who cofounded 9 Miles East Farm in 2004 with his wife Mary. “We want to expand the audience for healthy local food; we want to make it easy for busy people to enjoy healthy local food.”
Sticking to that philosophy, 9 Miles East, as the restaurant will also be called, is a natural extension of the company’s business model on local food and meal preparation, which, until now, has all been done at the farm’s own commercial kitchen in Northumberland. “We think customers shouldn’t have to choose between healthy and delicious,” says Sacks. “They deserve both.”
Speaking of that healthy, delicious food, once it’s open, 9 Miles East will be an all-day establishment, open 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. A select breakfast menu will be anchored by alternative-grains and sourdough baking, along with contemporary breakfast bowls and other healthy options. A key food item to the lunch and dinner menus will be the farm’s award-winning sourdough crust pizzas, which the business has been hand-making and delivering for almost five years. In addition to this, there will be other lunch and dinner choices such as 9 Miles East’s GO Boxes and Dinner to GO meals, as well as a few carefully selected seasonal surprises. Even the alcohol will be as locally sourced as possible—the restaurant will have a farm winery license, allowing it to serve only New York-made wines and beers.
Just like its pizza and food delivery business, the 9 Miles East restaurant will use as many of the farm’s own in-season ingredients as possible. “The food service operation gives us a great way to use excess or ‘cosmetically challenged’ produce that otherwise might be wasted,” says Sacks. “We also plan to create additional demand for other local farms and craft producers.” As an example of this, Sacks points to the location of the new restaurant right next to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market at High Rock Park, which takes place every Wednesday and Saturday.
As for the actual building, the 9 Miles East restaurant will be taking over what was for decades a local landmark, Stark’s Auto. Though the Sacks will conduct a major renovation of the space, they’re planning to pay homage to the building’s authentic, industrial history. “Saratoga has gotten pretty fancy, and we want to step back from that a little bit to preserve some of the character of the place,” says Sacks. “Our goal is to create a bright, clean, open space where families feel comfortable enjoying healthy, local food.
9 Miles East Farm is hoping to open the restaurant by the end of this year and is currently seeking investors for the project.