Monthly Archives: October 2021

Catskills Conversations: Christine Panas of The Village East Cafe, Fleischmanns

© J.N. Urbanski – Usage prohibited without consent

“In New York City, when I decided to abandon my PHd and my years of academic training, I had to rethink: what am I going to do? I’ve spent all these years studying to be a professor, but it just wasn’t for me”. Christine Panas, co-owner of the recently-opened Village East Café in Fleischmanns has always loved food. “My thesis was on the Romanization of Southern Spain in the pre-imperial period. Very esoteric – but my thesis still included food. When I was working abroad as an archeologist in places like Turkey, I was only ever thinking about food. I was more interested in the local food and the local people”.

And Panas certainly digs in to her responsibility to the grateful people of Fleischmanns who have longed for a year-round café like this for years. “I’ve done a lot of openings in the restaurant business in New York and other parts of the country and I never felt that kind of love where people came in and hugged me. Usually the feedback is about the mistakes that you’ve made”, says Panas. Here, in Fleischmanns, residents appreciate the fact that she cares enough to have set up shop here where during the week, off-season especially, life was excruciatingly quiet for many years. 

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