When Gordon Sacks realized, in the early aughts, that there wasn’t a quick, easy and affordable way for people in the Capital Region to eat healthy, locally sourced meals, he decided to do something about it. The English major had zero experience as a farmer or restauranteur, but he figured he could learn on the fly. And learn he did. In 2006, Sacks, a Connecticut native, and his wife, Mary, started a CSA-style business out of their Northumberland farm—only instead of providing customers with vegetables or sides of bacon every week, they offered them freshly prepared meals made with local ingredients.
A decade and a half later, the couple presides over the local health food empire known as 9 Miles East, which delivers its pre-prepared meals (and pizzas!) to hundreds of homes and workplaces across the Capital Region and the Boston metro area, and now has its own production kitchen and cafe in Saratoga Springs.
Named for its farm’s physical location, which happens to be about nine miles due east of Saratoga (go figure), 9 Miles East opened its first brick-and-mortar cafe last June.
Saratoga Living caught up with Sacks to find out how business had been faring during COVID.
You opened a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic. How’s it going?
It’s unfortunate that it was timed that way, but we’ve been extremely grateful for the support that we’ve gotten from the community. Our first full quarter was ahead of our projections, not even taking into account the pandemic.
Has 9 Miles East had to make any demonstrable changes due to COVID?
We’re now serving faculty, staff and teachers at school districts in Upstate New York. That service is also really well suited to offices where there are just a few people, which is pretty much every office right now.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about 9 Miles East’s food offerings?
There’s a false narrative that you can have really delicious things or, at the other end of the spectrum, really healthy things. We don’t believe that. We think that the most delicious things can also be the healthiest if you’re willing to do the work. And we do that work for you.
Which of 9 Miles East’s meals is your favorite?
Which of your kids is your favorite?