Newly Opened Chauncey Cafe Hoping To Benefit From Baileys Trail System< < Back to
CHAUNCEY, Ohio (WOUB) — On one end of the main street that runs through the village of Chauncey is a trailhead for the newly developed Baileys Trail System.
The system currently has 26 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking and will have 88 total miles when completed. Baileys was developed with the hope of bringing in tourists who will spend money and stimulate the economy of Athens County.
On the opposite end of that same street stands newly opened Bailey Mae’s Trailhead Cafe, which is a direct result of that vision.
“We’ve seen a change here in this community just in a year’s time,” said owner and VFW Post 8804 Cmdr. Kevin Martin.
The business venture began when Martin’s VFW Post was evicted without notice after 27 years. In an attempt to save the VFW, he bought the building. He was not sure exactly what to do with it but knew he needed to have a new business plan before reopening.
Once Martin heard of the creation of the Baileys Trail System, his business plan became clear — a cafe. He then hired an Ohio University business student to research the idea.
“He interviewed 100 people. Of those 100 people, only two of them were from Athens County. Ninety-eight percent of them were from outside,” Martin said. “So, we have people driving five hours to come down here and get on this bicycle trail.”
The new influx of tourism is expected to bring business to places like the cafe and presents new opportunities the village of Chauncey and much of Athens County has not seen in many years.
“Right now I have a staff of six full-time and then during the construction phase for a year, I hired 33 people. No one else in this village has done this for maybe 100 years,” Martin said.
Above all, Martin’s first priority was to create a place for his community. He wants his cafe to be a family friendly place where the community can gather, which is something he feels has been missing.
“I just wanted something besides the drug addiction, alcohol addiction, the mental illness … there’s not even a park, there’s not even a place for the children in this village here to play.”
In addition to providing his community with a hot meal, Martin plans to use the cafe to host community events such as karaoke nights, yoga classes, euchre tournaments, VFW sponsored events and more.
The cafe is now open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for breakfast and dinner as the restaurant tests out its menu. For breakfast, it currently offers an assortment of breakfast sandwiches and pastries as well as coffee and tea drinks. The dinner menu has an array of options ranging from burgers to spaghetti with meatballs. The cafe also has pie for dessert.
Martin said he plans to use fresh, grass fed and non-GMO beef in his cafe. He is also keen on staying environmentally friendly by using recyclable materials.
All of the cafe’s coffee is farm to cup and organic from the locally owned Silverbridge Coffee Co.
Martin plans to open his cafe full time starting the Fourth of July but he is in no rush. He wants to take his time to ensure the cafe is a special destination and hub for the community.