Vendor selected for Emma Clark Library’s upcoming café

Vendor selected for Emma Clark Library’s upcoming café

Chelsea Gomez of Level Up Kitchen with Emma S. Clark Memorial Library Director Ted Gutmann. Photo from Emma Clark library

The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library Board of Trustees has announced that they have selected a food and beverage vendor to operate the library’s new café which is slated to open later this summer. The vendor selected is Level Up Kitchen, a local business currently operating out of the Flowerfield complex in St. James.  Level Up Kitchen was selected from a pool of candidates that responded to the library’s recent request for proposal for a vendor to operate the café.

Level Up Kitchen is owned and operated by Three Village native and chef Chelsea Gomez.  Gomez graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology with a degree in Culinary Arts in 2006, and prior to founding Level Up Kitchen Gomez was executive chef at Pentimento Restaurant in Stony Brook, which closed in 2021. Gomez is fully invested in the Three Village community, having grown up in Setauket, and she is currently raising her young family here. 

Drawing on her formal culinary education, current business operations, and her many years of experience as a chef, Gomez possesses extensive knowledge of food safety and how to prepare fresh, healthy, handcrafted fare that meets a variety of dietary restrictions. She plans to include items at the library café that include nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan, avoiding cross contamination with allergens. In addition, all of her employees will be Suffolk County Department of Health-certified food managers.

Moreover, Gomez places importance on sustainability, working with local farms and purveyors where possible to stimulate the local economy and provide the freshest, high-quality ingredients. She runs her businesses in an environmentally friendly manner, using biodegradable, post-consumer, and recyclable packaging and utilizing equipment that has low waste and high value, such as an energy-saving coffee machine and energy-efficient refrigerator.

Library patrons will be able to grab a quick snack on-the-go, or stay for a bite to eat and enjoy a more leisurely experience at the library.  Construction began on the new café at the library earlier this year and will include a new, indoor seating area adjacent to the historic 1892 reading room. Café customers will also have access to the outdoor seating terrace, which opened in August 2022 and looks out over the library’s beautifully landscaped grounds and the historic Setauket Village Green. The library and Gomez hope to have the café operational later this summer, once staff are trained and all required permits have been issued.