Above: Two Old Tarts proprietors John Schulman (left) and Scott Finley in their Bovina bake shop. Photo by Andrew Wyrich.
John Schulman and Scott Finley met for the first time at 22 Lee Lane in Andes way back when it was home to the Slow Down Food Company.
“He was the waiter, I was the customer,” Schulman said this week. “It was love at first sight. It was 2001; we have been together ever since.”
Since that day 13 years ago, the café has closed and several other businesses have come and gone there. Schulman and Finley, however, drawn together partly out of a shared love of baking, have formed a lifelong partnership. In July 2012, after many years peddling their artisan baked goods at local farmers’ markets, they opened Two Old Tarts on Bovina’s Main Street.
Later this year, the pair will come full circle, when they move their beloved bakery and community gathering space into the dining room where they met.
Two Old Tarts, the Bovina version, will close Feb. 23; the landlord is selling the building. Schulman and Finley plan to be their own landlords from now on—they are under contract to buy the Lee Lane building. The Andes incarnation of the cafe, tentatively scheduled to open in mid-May, will add dinner to the breakfast/lunch mix. The partners, who also make their home in Andes, also are applying for a license to serve beer and wine, Schulman said.
“We’re not starting from scratch; we want to expand on the Two Old Tarts experience, which we hope for people is a very relaxing place to be, with great food and desserts at reasonable prices,” Schulman said.
They are planning some upgrades to the physical space as well, including enlarging the dining room. Andes Town Planning Board members liked what they saw of the plans at a zoning review Feb. 10, said chairman Frank Winkler, who is also a fan of the pair’s “excellent baked goods.”
“All of us are very enthused they are coming back home,” Winkler said. “We don’t foresee any difficulties with the changes they want to make.”
The change of ownership at 22 Lee Lane, however, spells the end of a chapter for Hasbeens & Willbees, an eclectic art gallery and café combo that operated briefly there last August and September. Its proprietors, Kai Kuhne and John Mollett, had planned to reopen this spring. It came as a surprise that their landlord, Rosalie Glauser, is in the process of selling the building to another restaurant operator, Mollett said.
“We had a really great experience last season, and we received so many compliments and enthusiasm about sparking a new energy in the Andes. We were just getting started!” Mollett said in an email. “We loved that space and were undoubtedly planning to come back; however, the space does have limitations and finding something larger will open up many more possibilities to grow.”
Mollett said he and his partner would look for alternative locations in Andes. Glauser, an Andes real estate agent and former Slow Down Café proprietor, did not return calls seeking comment on the sale.
Below: Two Old Tarts serves up a countertop smorgasbord of cakes, pies and -- of course -- tarts. Photo by Jennifer Strom.