New Lake Clear Airport Cafe open for business

LAKE CLEAR – A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held here Monday to welcome the new operators of the Adirondack Regional Airport’s cafe.

Sisters Melissa and Tracey Uhlik were awarded a lease from the town of Harrietstown, which runs the airport, in May. They actually opened the Airport Cafe about a week ago.

“It was a soft opening, and the people who knew about it came in,” Melissa Uhlik said. “We made it through our first few days, and we’re doing great.”

“We’re tired but excited,” said Tracey Uhlik. “It’s a combination of exhaustion and happiness.

The Uhliks said they’ve hired six people to help them run the cafe. Asked to describe the menu, Melissa Uhlik said it will be all-American.

“Everything from burgers and fries to Reubens, salads and healthy foods,” she said. “We’re going to be starting off daily specials soon. We have great deserts, and we’re serving breakfast all day. We can also do take-out for people who are flying in.”

The town canceled the contract of the cafe’s prior operator, Lisa Lawrence, in mid March. Town Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua didn’t say why at the time, other than “things weren’t working out real well.” The business had been cited for health violations, more than most other Saranac Lake area food services, but town officials said that wasn’t the reason why they canceled Lawrence’s contract.

Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch said during Monday’s ceremony that he’s excited to have the cafe open again.

“The cafe is critical to the airport,” Hurwitch said, “not just to bring some of the local community out to see what’s going on at the airport, but it also provides catering to some of our business jets and corporate jets that are operating in and out of the airport. Additionally, it gives pilots a reason to fly, some of the smaller single-engine crews and aircraft operators. They’re real excited to have the cafe open again.”

The town spent roughly $15,000 renovating the cafe. The work, most of which was done by town crews, included repairing and replacing appliances and electric fixtures, replacing the flooring, patching and painting the walls, and placing a new sign a the intersection of the Airport Road and state Route 186.

Hurwitch said the money for the renovations came from a fund terminal repairs account.

The Uhliks’ lease requires them to pay the town $200 a month in rent in the first year and $400 a month in the second year. Lawrence, who had run the cafe since the fall of 2009, had paid the town roughly $400 a month.

About 35 people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including town Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua and town board members, village of Saranac Lake officials and state Assemblywoman Janet Duprey. The event was organized by the airport and the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.