The focus on local foods will continue at the new Palisades Cafe in Mount Vernon. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The focus on local foods will continue at the new Palisades Cafe in Mount Vernon. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

By Cindy Hadish/For the Corridor Business Journal

MOUNT VERNON – Just 4 miles west of Mount Vernon, Palisades-Kepler State Park has proved inspiring to more than hikers, campers and anglers.

New owner Rachel Sauter has chosen to christen her Mount Vernon cafe in honor of the local park.

Palisades Cafe, 117 W. First St., will feature local and organic foods, much as did its predecessor, the Lincoln Cafe.

“We were looking for a local landmark name that was kind of catchy,” said Ms. Sauter, 30, a Mount Vernon native who has enjoyed outings at “The Pal,” as the park is known to locals. “We were just trying to keep the reverence for local things.”

Menu items will continue that local focus, featuring locally sourced foods as much as possible, she said.

Ms. Sauter had initially hoped to open the cafe in February, but now is shooting for a soft opening in mid-March, as interior renovations continue.

Planned hours will be 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for lunch; 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday for dinner and 5-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday for dinner. The cafe will be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Ms. Sauter will be head chef at the café and said burgers and soups are among her favorite menu items. One sandwich that will likely make the menu is a burger with kimchi, Korean barbecue sauce and a fried egg.

She also plans to introduce mid-priced items, such as pasta.

“I’m a food person, so I like trying everything,” she said. “I want to make things that chefs or food people want to eat.”

She has some trepidation, however, trying to live up to the expectations of former Lincoln Cafe customers, she said. Lincoln Cafe owner Matt Steigerwald closed the popular restaurant Dec. 21, citing a desire to try new ventures after working a labor-intensive schedule since opening in 2001.

“Nobody expects me to be Matt,” Ms. Sauter said, acknowledging that while some of the pressure is from former customers, most comes from herself. She added that she intends to build, as he did, from simple menus into more complex dishes.

Mr. Steigerwald made a point of buying locally-sourced fruits, vegetables and meats, and Lincoln Cafe became well-known for mouth-watering specials, as well as its “food is important” motto. The 32 fans who had the phrase tattooed on their body were promised free fries for life from the Lincoln Cafe, a promise Ms. Sauter said she will uphold for those customers, although the promotion isn’t hers.

“Anyone who feels that strongly about food, I want to reward that,” she said.

Read the full article at the Corridor Business Journal.

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