Alicyn Hart has learned a lot in the last six months.
She has learned that there’s life after Circa, the local food-focused restaurant that she operated in Cazenovia for eight years and continues in a mobile, “pop-up” fashion at events in the area, like this fall’s harvest dinner at Owera Vineyards and the anniversary celebration at Olive on Brooklea in Fayetteville, as well as private dinners and catered affairs. She’s enjoying less stress, more freedom and more time in her kitchen at home. At the same time, Hart says, she feels somewhat “homeless,” and misses the heat and camaraderie of a restaurant kitchen.
So for the winter, Hart has decided to hang her hat at The Foggy Goggle, a sort of neighborhood tavern at Toggenburg Mountain ski center in Fabius. Hart has signed on as a “humble line cook,” on a part-time basis, as needed at the seasonal restaurant. There, she flips burgers and makes sandwiches and other pub fare and might, on occasion, be tasked with coming up with more elegant evening specials. In exchange, Hart says, her son will be able to ski and snowboard, and she’ll hit the ski trails, too.
“I’m picking up some work and the benefits of ski passes,” Hart says. “It’s a fun environment and a fun clientele. … “I certainly enjoy being home by myself and cooking, but I miss the social aspect. I’m enjoying being in a kitchen and the dynamics and being part of that atmosphere. There’s a buzz, an adrenaline.”
Hart hopes to see some of her Circa friends and regulars, but is quick to note that she is not “the face of the Foggy Goggle.” The restaurant, created by owner Toggenburg owner Jim Hickey, has its own energy, atmosphere and food style and draws both skiers and locals looking for a bite and beverage. It is not Circa at the Slopes.
“Don’t ask for duck confit. At least not yet, anyway,” Hart said recently on the Circa Facebook page, which she maintains and uses to update friends on developments in her professional life.
As for plans for a restaurant of her own, Hart says she is “still very actively in pursuit of a small place in the Cazenovia area to call home.” She says there are benefits to being in the village (the space Circa occupied has been vacant for six months) but she is exploring other options, as well.
“I’m ready for a little bit of a change,” Hart says. “I don’t know what exactly that formula is yet. Something tweaked and more sustainable for my life. There are definitely opportunities and venues. … I trust myself to know what’s right.”
For information on Circa and Hart “pop ups,” go to Facebook. To contact Hart, call 315-655-9768.
For more on The Foggy Goggle – CLICK HERE