Stephanie Lary Returns Home to Run the Rochester Cafe
June 25, 2021
Tucked halfway between Killington and Sugarbush is the small town of Rochester. In the heart of Rochester on Main Street are places like Sandy’s Books and Bakery, Maple Soul restaurant, and Green Mountain Bikes.
Traveling along Route 100, one place that’s hard to miss is the Rochester Café. For 30 years, the Rochester Café has been serving up cheese omelets, club sandwiches, apple pie, and maple milkshakes to locals and visitors.
Last year, longtime owners Tim and Sue Domas sold the business to Chris Landis, whose family spends time at a property they own in the area.
From Bank to Barbershop to the Rochester Cafe
Stephanie Lary grew up in Rochester, worked at the café in high school, and returned to her hometown with her family to manage the café. During the pandemic, the café managed to pivot to a well-oiled take-out system that included online ordering and food delivery from the building’s front window located on the café’s front porch.
Since the mid-1800s, the building has been used for many purposes, including a drug store, ice cream parlor, bank, dentist office, beauty parlor, pool room, barbershop, funeral parlor, apartments, and a video shop before it became the Rochester Café.
The cafe is an easy place to become attached to and appreciate.
“It’s reliable, and it’s consistent. It’s a place you know you can go to, and you know it’s going to be good. The booths are going to be comfortable, and the staff is going to be friendly,” Lary says. “It’s that place you can rely on—even through COVID. It’s been here for 30 years as the café, and I think people look to that.”
Lary also loves many things about the town of Rochester—the scenery, the backroads, and the community.
“For me, what I love about Rochester is that it’s home. It’s just that feeling. When I was younger and a teenager, I couldn’t wait to get out of Rochester,” she says. “But as I’ve gotten older…I missed that, and I wanted to get back to that.”
Learn more about the Rochester Café.
Happy Vermont Podcast
In this episode of Happy Vermont, Stephanie Lary talks about running the café, what she loves about Rochester, and shares some of her favorite places in town.