HipStir Cafe

Taylor Youngkrans takes an order at the HIPstir Cafe on Farrier Avenue in Oneida serve guests on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. John Brewer – Oneida Daily Dispatch

By John Brewer

Oneida – The HIPstir Cafe is the product of two friends sharing a cup of coffee together.

Owners Jennifer DiGiorgio and Patrick Costello were enjoying a cup of Joe one morning, when Costello mentioned how he wanted to see a new, happening restaurant in the city where colleagues, friends and family could enjoy precisely what he and DiGiorgio were doing at that moment.

At the time, DiGiorgio was Costello’s personal chef putting to use her 17 years as the executive chef at the Turning Stong Resort and Casino and degree from the Culinary Institute of America.

After experiencing her culinary skills first-hand, Costello asks if DiGiorgio would be interested in going into business together and an idea was born. It was not a matter of simply leasing some space and launching a new restaurant. Costello had a very specific image in mind of what he wanted to the cafe to look like and represent.

“I literally drove around Oneida for months,” Costello said. “I was not going to do it until I found the right spot.”

Then, he discovered the 97 year old property that bordered a city park named after Oneida’s founder on Farrier Avenue. The spot appealed to the two entrepreneurs immediately, and the HIPstir was born.


Maddie Hale prepares an Americano coffee drink at HIPstir Cafe on Farrier Avenue in Oneida serve guests on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. John Brewer – Oneida Daily Dispatch

The HIPstir Café located at 125 Farrier Ave serves pastries, breakfast, lunch, soup & salad, desserts and a full barista coffee menu. It is open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Saturdays the cafe offers its services from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

DiGiorgio, who has wanted to run her own restaurant and bakery since watching mother work at a bakery across the street from her childhood home and even going so far as to bake little people and braid bread at the age of 4, teams with a staff of 9 workers. DiGiorgio bakes and prepares the meals while a staff that “have all had such a good attitude” take orders, prepare coffee drinks and check people out. She is absolutely enamored and enthused with her new job.

“I loved my job at the Turning Stone, but it was time for a change,” she said. “I needed a new challenge and this is it.”

Since the grand opening on Tuesday, Dec. 13, DiGiorgio has been pleased with the traffic of customers at the HIPstir, with a line reaching the doorway every day.

As a cafe, DiGiorgio understands coffee is of the utmost importance. Fortunately, she is a self-described coffee fanatic and painstakingly begins every morning checking the coffee and espresso machines, making sure temperatures are consistent and no unexpected surprises prevent the HIPstir from serving coffee to the public, especially important when competing with coffee chains in the area.

So far, customers are appreciating the new coffee option in the area as DiGiorgio says the cafe averages 45 gallons of brewed house coffee in a three day span.

Forty pounds of beef lasts only a couple of days as guests taste the best seller on the lunch menu so far. Referred to simply as “Beef” the sandwich offers hand-sliced braised short rib, balsamic onion jam, oven tomatoes, sharp provolone cheese on Italian Ciabatta, baguette , whole grain or a wrap.

“I do want to get to the point where I can do more,” DiGiorgio said, but first she wants to make sure the “legs underneath the real restaurant are real solid.”

As for the name of the restaurant, Costello and DiGiorgio laughed, recalling how there “must have been a hundred names” that were vetoed as the two entrepreneurs wrestled with different ideas. They wanted the name to imply both a “hip, happening place” and coffee. Finally, they came up with HIPstir name and even added a mascot named “Higgie” whose face is conspicuously shaped like a coffee mug to compliment the cafe title.

Higgie is an homage to Sands Higginbotham, the founder of the City of Oneida, and a nod to the HIPstir’s location looking out over Higginbotham Park. The interior of the cafe is purposely designed to evoke memory’s of Oneida’s past with a giant mural of downtown Oneida decades ago catching the eye as soon as one walks in.

Costello had interior design work done by Mark Papa who specializes in such work. Everything in the space is custom Costello added. Between the unique design and the skills of his partner and cafe head chef, Costello is confident in the cafe’s ability to prosper.

“As long as people could find us, one they get a taste of what Jennifer is capable of {we’ll be successful.]”

And while the focus is on making the cafe one of the premier places in the City of Oneida for friends to meet, relax and enjoy a high quality dining experience, DiGiorgio and Costello also said the cafe will offering catering services and custom designed cakes so long as advance notice is given.

Source: Oneida Dispatch