LAURA’S FAMILY RESTAURANT: Keeping the Flame Alive


“I am incredibly proud of my restaurant and how far it has come. I work tirelessly because I’m truly happy every day when I wake up and go to work. None of it would be possible without support from friends, family and Community Capital New York.”




SUPPORT PROVIDED:  Small Business Loan

IMPACT: Woman-owned business, 5 full-time jobs and 2 part-time jobs created or retained, urban neighborhood revitalization


With new restaurants popping up all over the Hudson Valley, residents in Poughkeepsie are thrilled to have one of their longest standing eateries, Laura’s Family Restaurant, back on the block. The establishment, formerly named Southside Café, was owned and operated for 27 years by Nikki Kaelber’s mother and step-father who sadly died within 18 months of one another. “I have worked in the restaurant business my entire life. I started working at Southside Café when I was 12 years old – even while I ran my own paralegal firm, I bartended at night” notes Kaelber. The tragic loss of her parents gave Nikki the courage to quit her day job, pursue her passion and continue her family’s legacy. What she lacked was access to capital.


“Nikki worked with our colleagues at the SBDC to complete her business plan and get loan ready. The plan, along with Nikki’s entrepreneurial drive and lifelong experience in the restaurant business made her a strong applicant” said Fernando Ahumada, VP of Lending at Community Capital New York. The approved loan helped Nikki complete the purchase, rebrand the eatery as Laura’s Family Restaurant (in honor of her mother) and open the doors in February 2019 to a loyal client base. In fact over 60% of patrons are repeat customers. She notes “we have a very strong lunch business so in the coming year I want to focus my marketing efforts to grow the dinner and bar crowd.” She adds, “I am working with local food and beverage producers to expand the menu while also serving up the comfort food classics that Poughkeepsie’s families have come to love and expect.”


Laura’s Family Restaurant
Hudson Plaza – Route 9
2585 South Road
Poughkeepsie, NY