Christina Sonnenberg is making a fresh start.
The 50-year-old Laurens resident launched Get Fresh on the Main in February. 254 Main St., Oneonta Cafe offers casual American-style breakfast and lunch, with brunch served Saturday and Sunday.
Being a restaurant owner, Sonnenberg said, means a big change, though she has long since honed her cooking skills.
“I am a mother of three boys who are all adults and after 20 years of working in social services – I have worked with runaway and homeless youth, foster children and group homes, I worked with children who had behavioral and mental health issues and did advocacy for special education – I decided to change careers,” she said. “It’s a huge career move, but all my adult life I’ve been cooking and doing odd catering jobs, serving tables and bartending.
“For the past year,” Sonnenberg continued, “I was working at another coffee shop, Shakedown Street, and then I decided to strike out on my own. The owner sort of helped me cut my teeth , when it comes to the business side of things.
True to its cafe’s name, Sonnenberg said, the menu emphasizes fresh, local dishes.
“I offer paninis, wraps, lots of take-out options, and I have a take-out fridge for people in a hurry,” she said. “I try to buy from as many local people as possible because there are things I just don’t do, like baking, so I work with an Amish baker for my baked goods and we get our bagels (from Everything Bagelry in Sidney).
“I have a few signature sandwiches,” Sonnenberg continued. “The ham, brie and apple with fig jam on local peasant bread is huge and the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich with pesto, tomato, spinach and three cheeses on peasant bread is another big one. The pancakes are pretty big, and I’m making one with lemon mousse and strawberries, so that’s been popular, and I’m making a chocolate crepe — it’s a chocolate pancake with chocolate chips and chocolate syrup topped with strawberries and bananas — and, oh, my god, it’s amazing.
Sonnenberg said his menu includes about five daily specials, with offerings likely to rotate with seasonal availability.
The community response, Sonnenberg said, has been “overwhelming.”
“I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received,” she said. “Everyone who walks through the door has offered their support and guidance and the location itself is pretty amazing. There’s a lot of health bar history from the Bresee here; I have stools and equipment. I had not considered other places. I just got really lucky with this place.
Sonnenberg said its downtown location generates a reciprocal clientele.
“I get a lot of local people who work on or around Main Street,” she said. “I would say it’s mostly professionals, except for brunch; then I get more families. And I hope, here in the next month, to have outdoor seating, so it will be really nice, and just have more presence.
Sonnenberg said working with the Small Business Administration and the Greater Oneonta Chamber of Commerce has helped “grow further with advertising,” and said a website will be available soon.
Get Fresh on the Main is open 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and closed Monday and Tuesday.
For more information or to view a menu, search “Get Fresh on the Main” on Facebook.