By Jill Nagy
Mocha Lisa’s Caffe has new owners and a slightly different location.
The business is still in the Clifton Park Mall but in a larger space some 260 feet from its former location.
It is much larger, with more tables and has a selection of new and used books for sale. It is now more of a place for people to relax, according to Nicole Van Zandt, one of the new owners.
The new owners, Van Zandt and her husband, Roland, and her brothers Colin and Alan Hughes, are longtime Mocha Lisa’s customers, now on the other side of the counter.
They bought the name, the furniture and other contents and are keeping the staff. They will continue to serve a special blend of coffee from Capital City Roasters and are negotiating a contract with a supplier of teas and honey.
They purchased the business on November and moved into the space in December.
One big change will be the addition of a commercial oven for Van Zandt’s baked goods. For now, the staff can bake some small breads and muffins in a small oven on the premises but she bakes most of the shop’s pastries at home. That will change as soon as the new oven and exhaust hood are installed and permitted.
The baked goods are popular, Van Zandt said.
“We can’t keep our scones on the shelf” and her brownies are also popular, she said.
The menu includes coffee drinks and a variety of paninis. Once the new oven is in use, the variety of pastries will expand
The business does not have a liquor license but that is a possibility for the future.
Van Zandt was an enthusiastic baker and in 2022 she found that she was baking too much for her small household. She began a business selling baked goods out of her home.
She and her co-owners long dreamed of owning and operating a coffee shop, possibly as a retirement project. When they learned that Mocha Lisa’s was for sale, she said, they jumped at the chance to live out their dream—although all of them are in their early 30s and far from retirement. They all have day jobs and are at the coffee shop mainly on weekends.
Van Zandt said the shop’s clientele has become more varied since they moved to the new, larger, quarters. She is seeing more high schoolers and young families, along with ladies who arrive for lunch. “It is a place for everybody,” she said.
Five staff members from the previous incarnation of the cafe have remained. The new owners have since hired two more.
Although customers can take things out from the shop, there is no regular take-out operation. “We are too busy for now,” Van Zandt said, to gear up for a full take-out operation.
Mocha Lisa’s Caffe is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. They have some evening activities including a monthly trivia night, and monthly board game nights. The telephone number is 518 383-5373.