Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"But I mean, where do people eat?"

In the local food blogs and rags with food columns there's an ongoing conversation about the passion that Capital Region denizens have for chain restaurants. Predictability, convenience and plenty of parking are perhaps higher than attributes of the food being served on the lists of many of our friends and neighbors.

So when someone piped up with the question above in a local cafe recently I asked "Applebees?" and smiled a goofy smile. The room developed a distinctive negative tone. Several others in the conversation offered similarly unsatisfactory responses.  So the question stayed in mind and I've been pondering it on and off.

For a different reason in the past couple months I began to look at Albany's heritage of family Italian restaurants.  Some scorn these places as uninspired "red sauce joints". I have looked past that generalization and have begun to seek out these places. I have also included newer Italian restaurants that have gone a bit beyond nonna's recipes from Sicily and have taken on trained chefs. I have a list in process that argues for the idea that these Italian places are the places in our region where everyone eats. This is a list of 79 restaurants, and it doesn't include (as far as I know) chains, pizzarias and delicatessens.  Please feel free to add ones that you don't see, or clarify if any of these are not restaurants but pizzarias or delis in the comments.

Check it out:

Amo La Bella Behind times union ctr
Angelo’s Tavolo Scotia
Anthony's Canal Riverside in Rotterdam Junction
Appian Way Schenectady
Barcelona in Albany
Bellini’s Slingerlands
Cafe Calabria (Guilderland
Café Capriccio
Caffe Italia
Ca'mea (hudson)
Chianti il Ristorante
Ciao Italia
Deangelos Ristorante Crisler Ave.
Dorato’s 20 Mall
E.K.’s Cibo
Forno Bistro
Johnny's in Schenectady
Il Faro Menands
LaBella’s Wynantskill
La Cucina (amsterdam)
Lanie’s Italian Café 471 Albany Shaker Rd Albany, NY 12211
La Perla
Lombardo's, Albany
Lo Porto’s
Lorenzo’s Italian Cafe Schenectady
L’Ultimo, Amsterdam
Mama Mia’s on Rte. 50 in Saratoga
Marisa’s Place
Mezza Notte (Guilderland)
Minissale's Wine Cellar Cafe
Mio Posto
Moscatiello’s in Troy
Nona Maria’s in Halfmoon
Nove Italian Restaurant (gansevoort)
Paolo Lombardi's in Wynantskill
Pasta Pane, located at 18 Park Ave. Clifton Park
Pennell’s Saratoga
Ralph's Tavern
Randy Loren’s Dolce Vita
Riccitello John Schenectady
Ripe Tomato
Ripepi’s St. Johnsville
Romo's, Glenmont
Rudy’s Rennselaer
Sam’s Italian American
Scotti’s in the Upper Union Street district of Schenectady
Tesoro (Guilderland--I assume the Tesoro's above is referring to Schenectady)
Three Vines Bistro
Two Brothers East Greenbush
V&R on Madison Ave
Villa Tuscan Grill Schenectady

We also love going out for breakfast in the Capital Region, and so I just began a list of breakfast spots. This one is very rough at this point - I'm sure there are dozens more to add.  Soon this may overcome the Italian places, but for now it's a bit shorter. Brunch is often only on Sunday or weekends, so go to the website of the place or call. 

Please do add more places or make corrections in the comments, but no chains.

Breakfast and Brunch
76 Diner
Angelo’s Tavolo at Glens Sanders Mansion brunch
B-rads in troy
Bellevue Cafe in Schenectady. They open at 6am
Blueberry Hill - New Lebanon
 Bob's in Watervliet
Bubbles Restaurant in Mechanicville
Buckley Farms, Ballston Spa
Burnt Hills Café
Carol's Place in Troy
Chuck wagon
City Beer Hall has Saturday & Sunday brunch
Daily Grind Albany
Daily Grind Troy
Delmar Bistro
Duncan's in Troy
Gideon Putnam Hotel, Saratoga Springs brunch
Good Morning Cafe in Ballston Spa
 Halfmoon Diner
Homefront Cafe in Altamont
Illium Cafe in Troy
 Indian Ladder Farms Yellow Rock café
innovo kitchen brunch
Iron gate
Jake Moon. Clarksville
Jimmy's Egg in Clifton Park
Johnny B's in Glenmont
Karavalli in Latham and Saratoga brunch
Lakeside Farms in ballston spa
Manory's in Troy
Max London's
Midway Cafe Rt 9W Ravena
Oliver's in Glenville
Over the Moon Cafe and Bakery in Schuylerville
Park Side Eatery in Saratoga
 Perreca's in Schenectady
Ravenous Saratoga
Ripe Tomato
Scallions in Saratoga
Settles Hill in Altamont, NY brunch
Silver Spoon in Ravena
Skyport Glenville
Spillin the beans - downtown Troy
Sweet Mimi’s
Tanzy's in Hudson 
The breakfast spot in cohoes
The Iron Roost Ballston Spa
The Low Beat monthly brunch
The stockade inn  brunch
The Ugly Rooster, Mechanicville
The Window Box in Slingerlaands
Treviso by Mallozzi’s at the Italian American Community Center brunch
Union Cafe, Upper Union Street, Niskayuna
Village Cafe & Bakery Greenwich
Wellington's Albany
Whistling Kettle - Ballston Spa
Whistling Kettle Troy

So there is my empirical evidence that we spend our mornings in cafes and we love eggs, waffles, toast and home fries.  Also we love our Italian heritage so in the evening we go out to the red sauce joints and their step children here in the Capital Region.  And I challenge you to throw down your own answer in response.


Steve N. said...

Love these lists. The breakfast list is tough, because there're so many places that do breakfast, it's going to be 3/4s of all the restaurants in the area.

Eight breakfast/brunch spots you're missing just off the top of my head:

Madison Cafe - Albany

Betty Boop Diner - Albany

Soul Kitchen - Albany

Jack's Diner - Albany

New World Bistro - Albany

Dan’s Place Two - Albany

Ugly Rooster - Mechanicville

Puzzles Bakery/Cafe - Schenectady

Ambition Cafe - Schenectady

Zena G.O.F. said...

Also Reel Seafood's "themed" Sunday brunches - Wolf Road, Albany