The current location of Hemstrought's Bakery at 900 Oswego Street in Utica is one that many Central New Yorkers visit regularly. Whether it be for the delicious Halfmoon cookies, amazing baked goods, or the Artisanal Premium Cheese side of the shop that was added in 2020, there's always cars in the parking lot and customers walking in and out.

But that wasn't enough for Dan Dowe, the leader of the ownership group of Hemstrought's and Artisanal Cheese. He knew the brands could become bigger and better - but how? What could possibly make what they have to offer bigger and better?

A local expansion was the answer that would be a national shipping hub for its online businesses - one that would make stopping in a full-blown food destination experience for people of all ages. Their plans involve making some big changes that will draw people in, because it's nothing you can find anywhere else.

We spoke to Dowe to try to get an insider perspective as to what we can expect for the new expansion. After touring the building and getting an explanation of the plans, we think we have a pretty good idea.

Building Up Hemstrought's Bakery

It's a brand that everyone knows in Central New York and beyond. What can be done better to reach more people?

Plans are on the table to create an on-premises menu with lunch items, breakfast sandwiches, specialty coffees, and the addition of ice cream products - deemed Hemstrought's a La Mode. They're also adding new variations of bread products for customers to enjoy.

Quite possibly, some may deem this plan the most exciting of all. The installation of a new "Cookie & Milk Bar" will be a family friendly destination so you can enjoy the famous Hemstrought's half-moon cookie, oldie and new baked goods, with different milk flavors ‘on tap’ to wash it all down. What a fun concept.

The "Cookie & Milk Bar" will be available to rent for private parties for both kids and adults.

What's a Cheese Cave?

We've never heard about the concept of a cheese cave until we spoke with Dowe, who explained the complexity of cheese in a way we've never known about before.

Mild and strong, creamy, bold. There's a science behind cheese and its aging process. Like fruit, cheese is best consumed when ‘ripe’. Artisanal Cheese is already a very unique business for the Utica area with deep New York City roots, bringing some of the finest cheeses from best cheesemakers in the world to customers here in our home town. What makes it more unique is that these cheeses, like Hemstrought's cookies, can be delivered anywhere using the Company’s websites and UPS.

Part of the building expansion includes the implementation of a 700 square foot cheese aging cave. The cave will have a state-of-the-art temperature and humidity control system to age cheese to peak ripeness. Customers will have the ability to walk-in and shop in the space to select their cheeses to bring home, or enjoy on site at the new space available for seating outdoors.

Everyone will have their new favorite cheeses and sampling and teaching will be a big part of what makes the Cave fun.

They also are planning on offering a line of cured meats, which will then allow them to offer specialty cheese and meat platters sold pre-made in pizza-like boxes for pure enjoyment – you won't have to think about any of it as it’s all done for you. It's a world-class culinary experience with some of the finest products from places like France, Spain and Italy. If you're a foodie, or someone who just loves a good helping of different meats and cheeses, this is an experience unlike any other. In fact, you can't find another Cheese Cave that is a store anywhere in the United States so having one near us is just going to be great.

To create the full 360 experience with Artisanal Cheese, a new small, charming wine and spirits store will open in the building to supplement the bakery and cheese cave. So, while the kiddos are enjoying some milk and cookies, parents can grab some meat and cheese, and the perfect bottle of wine to match the flavor profile.

"The devil is in the details, so much more needs to be finished to round off the concept," Dowe explained.

There's word on an exact completion date as of this time, but we'll keep you updated as we learn more.

Another cool part about this expansion is that they are giving people the opportunity to invest in the future of the business.

We are giving the community a chance to become owners too.  We thought the people at Mainvest had their own great business plan that enables community investing where people actually receive stock certificates and own a stake in a favorite local business which in our case we are planning to make into a public entity this year.  To make it more exciting we created an Owner’s Club where our partners will enjoy special benefits from their status as owners.

If you'd like to learn more about how to become involved, you can visit their Mainvest page.

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Are you excited for the future of amazing foods and fun concepts around Hemstrought's Bakery and Artisanal Cheese? Let us know what you're looking forward to most inside our station app.

Personally, we're all in on this idea. As foodies ourselves, there truly is something for everyone in the family - and will be worth the travel from those out of town.

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