About Us

Intermezzo Coffeehouse by Monika’s Delites was a unique European coffeehouse located on the village square in Fredonia, NY, in the former Russo building (now One Park Place). Specializing in gourmet coffees and espresso drinks, Intermezzo also offered a wide array of homemade desserts and sweet treats. The coffeehouse also served a varied menu of gourmet sandwiches, salads and homemade soups.

Hours were Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Intermezzo was closed on Sundays. Intermezzo offers free DSL Internet connections. Artwork by local artists was exhibited on the coffeehouse wall. On many weekends, the music of area music students was showcased.

Intermezzo Coffeehouse was owned and operated by Monika Alch and Chef Donn Smeragliuolo, former proprietors of Monika’s Delites European cafe in Lily Dale, NY.

A former prima ballerina, Monika Alch began training for the ballet at age four in the Vienna Conservatory, Vienna, Austria. At the age of six, she was a member of the children’s ballet of the Vienna State Opera. At age 12, she was accepted by Dia Lucca at the Vienna Volksopera, dancing at the same time as an apprentice of the corps de ballet. Her first professional engagement followed after receiving her diploma as a soloist in dance at age 15. This was for the summer festival of Morbish, Austria. She went on tour with an opera ensemble in Switzerland and Germany under choreographer Boris Tonin. In the summer of 1960 in Cannes, France, she studied in an advanced student seminar under teachers Rosella Hightower, Antoine Dolin, Jerome Robbins and Alicia Markova and with such illustrious fellow students as Rudolf Nureyev, Eric Bruhn and Milorad Miskovitch.Ten years of professional experience followed in opera theaters of Klagenfurt, Gratz, Salzburg (summer festivals under Herbert von Karajan with ballet master Waszlav Orlikovsky) and Munich. In the United States, she performed with Ballet Metropolitan for five years with director Wayne Soulant.Her first choreography in the United States was in the production of Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, an opera theatre production at SUNY-Fredonia. She also has choreographed La Traviata, Die Fledermaus, Romeo and Juliet and un Ballo in Maschera for Opera/Columbus, in Columbus, Ohio, and The Merry Widow, The Magic Flute and Carmen for Ohio State University.Alch also has held staff teaching positions teaching ballet and ballet history at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, in Winchester, Virginia. She operated her own private ballet studio while living in Columbus, Ohio. She was rehearsal director for the Columbus Dance Ensemble and taught on the staff of Ballet Metropolitan. She currently serves as artistic director as well as the School Director with the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet, in Jamestown, NY. Currently, Monika lives in Lily Dale, New York with her husband, Mario and cat Santino. She is a native of Vienna, Austria.

Chef Donn also has 20 years of experience in business management. For eight years, he served as Customer Service Supervisor at Sprint Business, where he was responsible for a 12-person team in the Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio region, managing more than $50 million in accounts for the company.Chef Donn is former vice president of the Lily Dale Fine Arts Council in Lily Dale, New York.. He is also a former 2-year president of the Board of Directors for the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet in Jamestown, New York. Currently, he is an active member of the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet, as well as the 1892 Fredonia Opera House in Fredonia, New York. Now residing in Lily Dale with his partner, Rick and cats Reuben and Lily, he is a native of Jamestown, NY.


My coffee shop experience

Opening a coffee shop

My present business, Intermezzo Coffeehouse (located in Fredonia, New York) opened on February 13th of this year (2006). It’s not my first business. I also owned Monika’s Delites in Lily Dale, New York (the world’s largest Spiritualist center) for two years prior to opening the coffeehouse. Monika’s Delites was a European Cafe located in my cottage on Lake Cassadaga. During the summer months, we (I have a life partner, Rick) made the first floor into the Cafe (and we would live on the second floor). The cafe was only open from June until September (the tourist season) but we had a big following (which included big name celebrities). People would line up at the door to get in. And during the last two months, it would always be by reservation only. The problem was, once the tourist season ended, so did the business (Lily Dale has a population of about 100 year round – but seems to draw about 50,000 during the summer months). With bills still needed to be paid, I needed a year round income. I tried the working PT thing around the area, but after having your own business – it’s really really hard to work for someone else. So, one day I woke up and decided I had to do something on my own. With the financial help of my business partner (see pic above), I found a great location (on the park square) in the next town (a big music University town), negotiated a lease, totally remodeled the place (with the help of my handman neighbor) and opened up – all within four months.

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