Monterey – Ten months after the popular Roadside Store Cafe and Coffee Shop on Route 23 closed, Gould Farm is making progress building its replacement.
A residential therapeutic and farming community that has operated the only restaurant in town since 1978, Gould Farm has recently entered the public phase of a capital campaign that began in November to raise funds to build what it refers to as “Roadside Cafe 2.0.”
Gould Farm has raised $440,000 for the project during the private phase of the capital campaign, and is looking to raise an additional $110,000 during the opening round of the public phase.
To get this process moving, an anonymous donor and the Gould Farm board of directors announced last week a $55,000 matching gift challenge, meaning they will match all additional contributions received by August 19 on an individual basis.
Melanie Brandston, director of development at Gould Farm, said Wednesday that the match challenge has yet to be met.
The entire project is expected to cost $1 million, but Brandston said $550,000 is enough to start the Roadside Cafe 2.0 project, and two-thirds of the construction to be completed. Once the campaign gets this far, Gould Farm can begin planning for construction, which will consist of site and preparatory work, according to CEO Lisanne Finston.
Gould Farm has not yet hired a contractor, and the old building still needs to be demolished before site work on the new building can begin, but both Brandston and Finston said construction could begin before the end of this year.
“I think at this point in the game every day is keeping us away from this happening, but who knows?” Vinston said. “Depending on the weather and the amount of work on the site that could be done at the end of the year, I hope we can at least do some demolition.”
Once the $550,000 threshold is reached, Finstone said Gold Ranch will be able to move the project from the schematic design phase to the actual site and construction phase, which she expects will include the licensing process with the city of Monterey.
“The next step is to make more detailed plans and go to the city to move forward with our approval procedures,” Finston said.
Finstone said she expects the conservation committee will need to review the project and the new structure’s sewage system will need to be reviewed before construction begins.
“I don’t think we will need any zoning,” she said. “We’ll just go through the usual permitting process.”
The new restaurant will be built on the site of the former café, which housed a 100-year-old building that once served as a gas station. The restaurant, which Gould Farm residents work for, has become known for its food, lack of space, and job opportunities for people dealing with mental health issues.
According to Brandstone, the new building will be 2,000 square feet, twice the size of the old building. It will have a commercial kitchen, retail area, bakery counter, dining area, and three bathrooms. Designed by Zac Culbreth Architecture of Great Barrington, the building will also be set off Route 23 compared to the old building and has a 400-square-foot patio for al fresco dining. Placing the new structure off the road, Brandston said, will provide more parking for patrons, more space for green spaces and additional space for outdoor dining.
Referring to the former Roadside’s use as a gas station, Brandston said the new structure could include an electric vehicle charging station “if there is a possibility, but that is going forward” where the project is now.
The capital campaign began in mid-November, less than a month after the old road was closed on October 30. According to Brandston, the board was willing to cut nearly $200,000 during the special phase of the capital campaign, but Gould Farm was not. Definitely where the extra money will come from.
“We’ve learned that 99 percent of people who go to the side of the road as clients are more likely to not donate to Gold’s farm in general,” she said. “So we’ve had to do a lot of word of mouth, events as best we can because of COVID to let people know that we need to raise money and that anyone interested in making an investment can contact us to let us know.”
The hard work paid off, but there could be an extra boost due to the town where Gould’s farm is located. During the fundraising process, Brandston said Gould’s farm learned that the trustees of three major international foundations were Monterey residents, and that their groups had it all. He agreed to donate to the campaign.
The capital campaign will remain in the public phase until the million-dollar goal is reached, Vinston said.
“We will strive to get as close to our goal as possible,” she said.