Watching their parents open and operate Downtube Bicycle Works in Albany, sisters Emma, Abby, and Zoe Fullem grew up dreaming about owning their own business. They’d sketch out designs for the café that they one day hoped to open together, and add on to loose plans through the years. But it wasn’t until tragedy struck two years ago did they decide to act on them.
On March 20, 2015, a fire broke out in the apartment directly above the Downtube, and though it was largely confined to the space, the 45-year-old bicycle shop experienced severe water damage. Almost immediately, plans for 3Fish started to take form. All three sisters moved back home – Emma from California, Abby from Wyoming, and later, Zoe, after her time in the Peace Corps was complete.
But instead of separating the two Fullem family businesses, they decided to combine them. The new venture, 3Fish Coffee will be attached to the Downtube, operating out of the building’s garage. The girls’ mother, preservation architect Marilyn Kaplan, designed and oversaw the renovation of the building – inclusive of the two businesses and four residential apartments. The Downtube reopened last March, while 3Fish’s grand-opening is today, following a soft, weekend-only launch in January.
“While devastating, the fire was an opportunity to re-envision what the Downtube was, how it served the local community, and what else we could offer to support a thriving downtown Albany,” said Emma. “What could have been the end of a decades-old small business instead became the catalyst to further commit to our community and open the long-discussed coffee shop.”
This weekend’s opening events will feature an art show and reception, with pieces curated by the Albany Center Gallery, an Irving Farm Coffee Roasters pour-over pop-up bar, as well as in-shop yoga and cycling classes. See below for the full schedule.
As for the menu, Emma ensured that all edible offerings reflect her background in sustainable foods. 3Fish is working with a number of local purveyors, inclusive of partnerships with Irving Farm Coffee Roasters in Middleton, and from nearby Bread Alone, Fifth Tier Baking Studio, and Our Daily Bread.
And though the menu will rotate according to the seasons and ingredient availability, it promises to be exciting. Sure, you can get a straight-up cup of Joe, though for those who want to indulge, lattes are available in decadent flavors like cardamom rose, rosemary brown sugar, and Nutella (!!!!). And if you’re hungry, 3Fish will offer light fare like pastries, soup, and toast (think ricotta, local honey, and pistachio, or an edamame basil puree with sprouts on grain bread). Emma’s favorite? Toasted Bread Alone sourdough, topped with goat cheese, mango ginger chutney, and pumpkin seeds, for a juxtaposition of tastes and textures. Stay tuned (and hungry!) for new additions.
Click here to learn more about 3Fish Coffee.