Several months ago, renown Finger Lakes chef Samantha Buyskes announced that she would be joining Three Brothers Winery and Estates in opening a new restaurant in Canandaigua. Opening any new restaurant is a considerable undertaking, so it came as something of a surprise when Buyskes and Three Brothers announced that they would first open a new restaurant on Linden Street in downtown Geneva in the space recently vacated by Cebo.
“I always go by gut. It’s kind of how I chose my first restaurant location in Trumansburg when I first came to the area in 2002. I just looked at her and said, ‘We gotta grab this. We gotta grab this as quickly as possible.’”
Buyskes already needed a commercial kitchen to develop the menu and recipes for the Canandaigua project and for Three Brothers’ Iron Heart Coffee Company. This means the restaurant on Linden will serve as something of a test kitchen. In performing some renovations on the space, they discovered inspiration for the restaurant’s name and its concept.
“Turns out, that was the storefront for H.J. Stead, the optical factory that’s behind Linden Street. Many people don’t know that building is there. We didn’t. We discovered the original sign, which is going to be up on our wall. Their sign says, ‘Inventions created here.’ It’s just the message. It was there.”
H.J. Stead Company won’t be a large restaurant, but Buyskes is prepared to offer service beyond the 25 to 30 seats inside. She intends to take advantage of the summer weekend street closure on Linden with additional tables. Buyskes also says that the Linden Street location lends itself to what she calls street food.
“But, we want people to be able to walk in as well if the restaurant is hustling and bustling, walk up to the counter, order food, and then we’re going to package it in a way that they can walk the street and still go down to Kashong or Linden Social and grab a drink, but have something in a paper cone or a Chinese take-out box that’s absolutely delicious and made with great local ingredients.”
The Canandaigua restaurant is still planned for a 2018 opening. As for when H.J. Stead Company will open its doors, Buyskes can only say, “soon.” There are always a lot of last minute details before opening, even for an experienced restaurateur. But, Buyskes is eager to bring HJ Stead Company to the Finger Lakes. She managed a small preview during Cruisin’ Night in downtown Geneva last Friday.