Main Street News

Storybook Cafe Opens With Books, Breakfast, and Brews in Pine Plains

By Published On: January 11th, 2024

Mackenzie and Jess at the grand opening of Storybook Cafe

Mackenzie Killmer has wanted to open a coffee shop and bookstore for as long as she can remember. “That dream was supposed to come to fruition ten or so years down the road, but things just seemed to fall into place. We couldn’t say no,” Mackenzie mused. 

In May of 2023, Jamie Gerber – the owner and manager of Rosey’s, a breakfast and lunch spot in the center of Pine Plains – approached Mackenzie and her wife, Jessica, with an idea. Rosey’s, the breakfast and lunch spot nestled next to Peck’s Market in Pine Plains, NY, was officially closing its doors after being open for just shy of two years. 

Pine Plains, with its one stoplight and population just over 2,200 people, has a remarkable number of restaurants just a stone’s throw away from one another. The closure of Rosey’s, however, would not only leave a vacant building in the center of town, but would also leave a spot for a much-needed breakfast restaurant in the town.

Thus, Storybook Cafe was born. 

A dream come true 

Mackenzie and Jessica immediately got to work. The preliminary process of getting the cafe up and running began in July, but they didn’t get the keys to the space until September. From there, it was a matter of renovating. They gutted the kitchen, redesigned the counter space, painted, and installed window seats and custom bookshelves. 

“I’ve realized that I don’t know what having balance means,” Mackenzie shared. “It’s been a very chaotic couple of months.” 

Storybook Cafe has a wall of mugs to choose from if you’re dining in

Chaotic, indeed. Some of you may recognize Mackenzie from Pine Plains’ favorite Lia’s Mountain View Restaurant. Her family owned Lia’s, so she’s been immersed in the food industry since she was just a child.

She’s been working full-time at Lia’s while preparing everything for the cafe and Jessica works full-time in the kitchen at Noble Horizons in Connecticut. 

Mackenzie worked her final shift at Lia’s on Saturday, December 30 at their open house after being open for over 40 years. That gave her just seven days to recuperate before officially opening the doors of Storybook Cafe. 

After spending more than 20 years in the restaurant business, Mackenzie was ready to distance herself from food service. But as it turns out, food wasn’t quite done with her just yet. “I didn’t want food at all, if we’re being honest,” Mackenzie laughed. “I wanted books, coffee, and pastries, but my wife pointed out that Pine Plains really needed a breakfast place and we recognized that the community wants that too,” she said. “Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not a morning person, though, so this is going to be an adjustment!”

A portrait of Guiseppe and Antonina is proudly displayed atop one of the shelves behind the counter

A portrait of Mackenzie’s grandparents, Guiseppe and Antonina, is proudly displayed on a shelf overlooking the cafe. Guiseppe and Antonina, known to the grandkids as Nonno and Nonna, opened Lia’s in 1983 and their portrait lived in the foyer of the restaurant for years. Now, it has a new home in the cafe. 

Guiseppe and Antonina’s presence is felt in more ways than one. Owl decor is also prominent around the cafe, which is Mackenzie’s way of staying connected with her Nonna.  

“I’ve always loved owls, but since the night that Nonna passed, they’ve been visiting me regularly,” Mackenzie explained. “They symbolize wisdom and a connection with the beyond, so for me, they also represent my Nonna. They remind me that she’s always here with me through everything.” 

Grand opening and beyond 

Avocado Max: avocado toast with poached eggs, bacon, and Everything But the Bagel seasoning

For the grand opening weekend – which was Saturday, January 6, Sunday, January 7, and Monday, January 8 – the menu consisted of all of your breakfast needs. Classic options like eggs any way (including eggs benedict), pancakes, and french toast were bolstered with items like the breakfast burrito, avocado toast three different ways, and pancake dippers. 

“We went with your basic breakfast menu and then added some of our personal favorites and some twists on certain dishes,” Jessica explained.

“A big point for us was starting small, so people will notice that over the next few months, the menu is going to get bigger,” Mackenzie said. “We want to get really good at the things that we’re doing now before we branch off into other dishes.” 

While Storybook Cafe is not yet offering lunch, they plan to in the future. Until then, there will be a grab-and-go lunch station in the cooler by the front counter with prepared sandwiches and salads. 

Storybook Cafe has a variety of pastries on the front counter

Short term, the plans are to “make it through our first week!” But long term, Mackenzie and Jess are thinking of all of the opportunities that lie ahead. “I would love to branch out into lunch, obviously. We’re hoping to host book clubs, kid’s story time sessions, trivia, karaoke, open mic nights, and other events like that. We’re also hoping to have a Lia’s Mountain View feature, so keep your eyes peeled for that!” 

Going forward, Mackenzie also plans to donate 25% of book sales each month to a different charity. 


Mackenzie and Jess also want to extend ‘thank yous’ to all of the folks that have supported them up to this point. 

“Obviously, we want to say a huge thank you to all of our customers, both from the Mountain View who have followed us here, and to all of our new customers! We want to thank Alex and Robert from Demeter Home for all of their help getting set up; our friend Jonathan for all of his time spent putting together tables and chairs; Jamie, for getting the ball rolling on this; and to the Bannings and the Martuccis for their faith in us and their unwavering support.”

Storybook Cafe is open Wednesday through Monday. You can visit their Facebook page here for more updates.