Co-owners Amelia Sauter (left) and Leah Houghtaling are opening a new restaurant in Trumansburg this fall.

ITHACA, N.Y. — After nearly 11 years in business, Felicia’s Atomic Lounge and Cupcakery is closing its doors for good on the last Friday of the month.

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Owners Amelia Sauter and Leah Houghtaling said they are opening a new, more food-oriented restaurant in Trumansburg this fall.

“We’re really creative people and we’re basically ready for our next creative project,” Sauter said.

She said that when the couple first opened the business at 508 W. State St., they intended to bring a New York City cocktail feel to Ithaca — it was a time when classic drinks were just beginning to be revitalized in large cities. Within five or six years after opening, the cocktail scene in Ithaca had exploded.

Co-owners Amelia Sauter (left) and Leah Houghtaling are opening a new restaurant in Trumansburg this fall.

“I think we really brought the excitement about cocktails to Ithaca,” Sauter said.

But while the pair loved creating a sense of community and a musical space for their customers, they began spending more time being creative in the kitchen about two years ago.

This past November, Sauter said, they bought a retail space on Main Street in Trumansburg and have been renovating it. They began selling cupcakes out of the space on Valentine’s Day.

Photo by Amelia Sauter

Their Trumansburg restaurant gives them a bigger kitchen, meaning they will be able to move their food menu from Felicia’s to the new place and have the chance to whip up new menu items. They will also have the chance to have a larger bakery that offers customers more than just cupcakes.

The new restaurant will sell beer, cider, sake and champagne, but will not have any hard liquor, Sauter said. It will be more of a restaurant with a bar as opposed to a bar with a restaurant, like Felicia’s has been.

In addition to the bigger space, Sauter said she and Houghtaling want to invest in Trumansburg — where they live — because they love country living and want to be part of the growth happening in the area. They are, however, working on a business plan that will allow them to keep selling cupcakes in Ithaca.

Photo by Amelia Sauter

But she and Houghtaling will miss the people who have become close friends and family at their lounge.

Sauter said being ready to start a new business is not the same as being ready to say goodbye to Felicia’s and sell the building. They plan to celebrate their years of success in the coming weeks, but she says closing the doors for good will be difficult.

“Personally, I don’t think there’s any way I can be emotionally prepared for that,” she said, half- joking that they will have boxes of tissue ready on their last night of business.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.