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Founder’s Café: A café for the people

Founder’s Café is located at 13 Fitzhugh St. South. (Photo credit: Joe Tomlinson)

By Joe Tomlinson / Sports Editor

Founder’s Café is a popular coffeehouse that combines American nostalgia with a trendy menu and contemporary options. Located in the Academy Building in downtown Rochester, the café has become a regular spot for students, professionals and passersby alike.  

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Founder’s Café has become a popular place to eat and socialize in Rochester. (Photo credit: Joe Tomlinson)

In 2016, the owner of Founder’s, Michael Ellman along with his wife Maria reopened the cafe. In the time since then, the Ellman’s have worked tirelessly to expand and elevate the menu to include more healthy options.  

“I am a co-owner with my husband,” Maria said. “We have co-owned the establishment for four years, October is our fifth year and I have actually been on site here for three years. What I think makes Founder’s unique is that everything we make is homemade and fresh. A lot of places might not have that with their packaged ingredients and stuff like that, we do everything from scratch. Both my husband and I are very food motivated, so it’s just our passion we love to feed people and that’s why we are here.” 

In addition to serving up tea and highly praised micro roast coffees, Founder’s offers a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian items. They have several gluten free options as well as a selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and paninis to satisfy any palate.  

Everything on Founder’s Café’s menu is homemade. (Photo credit: Joe Tomlinson)

“My husband actually grew the menu crazily from when we first bought the place. Added so many new sandwiches and we do specials every week, the community just really loves it.” 

At Founder’s they only use the finest ingredients available. This includes their artisan baked breads, which are outsourced from Baker Street Bakery on Park Avenue. 

The café has an open layout and plenty of seating available to customers whether you’ve stopped in with friends for a chat or are looking for a quiet place to study. Founder’s is an ideal place for students like Keith Baker. 

“I just like how nice the owners are and how accessible it is to other people,” Baker said. “And their food is really good. Basically anyone who wants good food I would recommend this place to. Just the vibe of the place is really great, and I like to work on schoolwork here.”  

Founder’s offers guests a warm, friendly atmosphere perfect for students chasing a strong Wi-Fi connection or for people trying to escape the office. Even if you are not looking to get anything off the menu, like first-time customer Anna Cruz, the people at Founder’s will welcome you to the café with open arms. 

“I basically just came in here not wanting to buy anything because I don’t have any money,” Cruz said. “I asked them if I could sit down and they were kind enough to say yes, so that’s very kind of them. Not many coffee shops would do something like that.” 

In addition to their expanded menu and welcoming environment, Founder’s offers an outdoor patio, when the weather permits, and catering services. You can find more detailed information including store hours on their official website 

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