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Funday: The August Crunch

August 22, 2014

There’s something about the end of summer. It’s not quite desperation. Panic is far too strong. But in a part of the world where winter is interminably long, when the weather is warm there is an overwhelming urge to live life to the lees.

It’s still not time for fall, but the heat has broken. Non-green leaves can be clearly seen in tree canopies. Yellow and brown leaves can even be found on the lawn. Summer is ending. There is no escaping the inevitable.

Still, that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on the summer fun. In fact, it seems like everyone is trying to cram in as much as humanly possible into the next couple of weeks. Think that’s not true? You should take a peek at the press releases I’ve got stacked up.

Grab your calendar and some iced coffee. Today’s Sell Out Funday is a doozy.

– Today at 11 AM –

​FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Champy’s Ribbon-Cutting and Grand Opening
When: Friday, August 22, 11am-12pm
Where: 56 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12206

Sharon Harris has two passions in life, counseling and cooking. She will probably put both to use in the new business she is opening this month–Champy’s Caribbean and American Cuisine, a restaurant she is starting with her four sons, Dexter, 24, Corey, 23, Lovell, 21, and Malik, 20.

Harris is the founder of Safe Haven Youth Outreach Ministries, Inc. She has her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from University at Albany. Now, with just two semesters left before she completes her Master’s degree in community mental health counseling from the College of Saint Rose, she is opening a new restaurant with her children. “I like to stay busy,” Harris says with a laugh.

Champy’s is named for Harris’s son, Corey, who the family called “Champy” as a child. The restaurant is located in a former chicken and pizza spot, which the family has renovated together. They finished the space with a bright lime green paint job to attract attention. “I think this is a hot spot. It’s so busy and active and vibrant,” Harris says.

The restaurant will specialize in home cooked meals at affordable prices, “so that everyone can enjoy the cuisines of the tropics without having to break their piggy banks,” says Harris. Harris will share the cooking with her sons, and says each brings something different to the menu. “I can cook just about everything but curry shrimp is my speciality.” In addition to callaloo and saltfish, curry goat, and oxtail, and other more traditional Jamaican dishes, Champy’s will also serve American favorites like bacon and eggs, fish fry, fried chicken, burgers, and meatloaf.

The Caribbean population is growing in the Capital Region–Harris moved here from Jamaica in 1981–and that has increased the demand for restaurants that cater to them. “It’s a taste of home for some, and for others, it’s new,” Harris says. She and her sons are looking forward to serving everyone.

Champy’s is located at 56 Central Avenue in Albany, NY. The hours will be 8am-11pm Monday through Friday, and Saturday 8am to 12am, and Sunday 8am to 11pm. The restaurant will offer delivery and catering.

– Sunday August 24 –

From a Street Dedication to Skydivers, This Sunday is a Celebration of a Saratoga Icon

WHAT: To honor the anniversary of the creation of America’s first potato chip, Potato Chip Lane is being renamed to Saratoga Chip Lane. The dedication and unveiling of the signpost will take place at the Race Course in the backyard area by the Big Red Spring at 12:00 p.m. Mayor Joanne Yepsen will serve as the Guest of Honor and present remarks.

Look to the skies at approximately 1:30 p.m. for skydivers who will jump out of an airplane and fall from 6,000 feet to touch down on the infield of the track to further commemorate Saratoga Chips’ milestone. With Saratoga Chips flags trailing, follow the skydivers as they “race” to be the first to land on the track.

Finally, at the conclusion of the Saratoga Chip Day Race – Celebrating America’s First Kettle Chip Since 1853, Senator Kathleen Marchione and Assemblyman James Tedisco will present Saratoga Chips with an official Proclamation in the Winner’s Circle, declaring August 24th Saratoga Chip Day. Our legislative leaders will be accompanied by Mark Streb, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Capital District Representative and Joanne Yepsen, Saratoga Springs Mayor.

WHEN: Sunday, August 24, 2014
12:00 p.m. Saratoga Chip Lane Dedication
1:30 p.m. Skydiving Exhibition
2:00 p.m. Proclamation Presentation

WHO: Jim Schneider, President and Managing Partner, Saratoga Chips
Joseph Boff, Partner, Saratoga Chips
Senator Kathleen Marchione, New York State Senate
Assemblyman James Tedisco, New York State Assembly
Mayor Joanne Yepsen, Saratoga Springs Mayor
Mark Streb, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Capital District Representative

About Saratoga Chips:
Gourmet artisans with a commitment to taste create Saratoga Chips hand-cooked kettle chips. The all-natural chip, available in six flavors, is made with simple ingredients, certified non-GMO, non-allergenic, and gluten free. The delicious snack was created in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1853 and reintroduced in 2009 as the Moon Brand Original Saratoga Chips. In 2013, the company was purchased by new owners who announced a new look, new flavors and have more plans for the future of Saratoga Chips. Customers can find Saratoga Chips throughout the Northeast and at select retailers such as Wal-Mart, Hannaford, Price Chopper, Fresh Market, Fairway, Tops Markets, and Central Market. Visit us online at

– August 24-27 –

Nationwide Flavor Tour brings the great ‘Taste of Philly’ to New York;
Chef Roc to offer simple and delicious recipes

PHILADELPHIA (AUGUST 21, 2014) – In a competitive retail landscape where businesses come and go daily, it’s rare for a company to withstand the test of time. And rarer still to do so under the same family’s ownership. But Dietz & Watson, a leading purveyor of premium meats and artisan cheeses in the country, has done exactly that. This year, the fourth-generation owned and operated company marks its 75th anniversary of producing quality deli meats, franks and sausages, dinner hams, cheeses and specialty items by bringing those products and more to consumers across the country through its nationwide Dietz & Watson Four Generations of Flavor Tour, arriving in the Capital District on August 24.

Sunday, August 24
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Price Chopper, 115 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga
4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Price Chopper One Kendall Way, Malta

Monday, August 25
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Market Bistro by Price Chopper, 873 New Loudon Road, Latham
4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Price Chopper, Route 146 and Plank Road, Clifton Park

Wednesday, August 27
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Price Chopper Corporate Office, 461 Nott Street, Schenectady

“My father’s mantra was ‘quality above all else,’” said Ruth “Momma” Dietz Eni, chairman of Dietz & Watson and daughter of founder Gottlieb Dietz. “The company was founded in 1939 on the principle that you never skimp when it comes to our products, and it’s remained that way ever since. I’m proud to mark our 75th anniversary by celebrating with our longtime fans and introducing new customers to what Dietz & Watson has to offer.”

The Four Generations of Flavor Tour, featuring a custom Dietz & Watson branded food truck, kicked off on April 16 in Houston and will make its way across the U.S. throughout the summer and fall before culminating in Dietz & Watson’s hometown of Philadelphia in mid-October. Each stop will include games, giveaways, coupons and cooking demos by celebrity chef Steve “Chef Roc” Cassarino, who will prepare quick, simple and delicious recipes made from Dietz & Watson’s 500-plus gourmet products. Recipes will range from classics like the Smoked Virginia Baked Ham Sandwich inspired by founder Gottlieb Dietz himself to modern dishes like the Thai Basil Turkey Salad. The Flavor Tour will also feature the company’s signature Deli Challenge, in which consumers are invited to taste test Dietz & Watson products head-to-head against top competitors.

“This is an important year for us, and we’re marking it by celebrating families everywhere,” said Lauren Eni, VP of Brand Strategy and granddaughter of “Momma” Dietz. “From our own family pride to that which we share with our retail customers and consumers, we knew that a standard ad campaign alone wasn’t going to do it. We need to meet people face to face, cook for them firsthand – and offer them the opportunity to truly experience our ‘quality above all else’ brand promise with the Deli Challenge. And there’s no better way to do that than to share recipes that represent all four generations of our family business.”

“When I came into the business I saw tremendous potential,” said Louis Eni, CEO and son of “Momma” Dietz. “We’ve grown from a small, local company to a national brand and deli powerhouse, and much of that success can be attributed to the fact that everything we produce is handcrafted. Each and every product is inspected by human eyes and human hands, which isn’t easy at our size. We want to ensure that everyone who purchases Dietz & Watson has a consistently exceptional experience, whether it’s sliced turkey breast from the local deli or a signature dinner ham for the holidays. That’s why we take the time and effort to put the utmost care into all of our products.”

“Just like my father, I see incredible potential for Dietz & Watson,” Lauren continued. “I want our family business to not only be a nationally distributed company, but a nationally recognized brand. A brand that stands for consistent quality, for innovation, and most importantly, for family, which is rare in this category. I’m excited to join my family members – including future generations – in continuing to build the company so we can honor my great-grandfather’s legacy for years to come.”

About Dietz & Watson:
When Gottlieb Dietz founded our company in 1939, he set out to produce the tastiest deli meats in the Philadelphia area. Today, we are one of the largest preparers of premium deli meats and artisan cheeses, offering more than 500 products at the finest supermarkets and neighborhood delis throughout the United States and the world. But we may be most proud of what hasn’t changed: after 75 years, Dietz & Watson is still a family owned and operated business, now in its fourth generation. We are still pioneers and innovators, constantly developing even healthier recipes to suit a wide range of dietary needs. Most of all, we are still passionate about what we do best—providing fresh and delicious deli products, from our family to yours.

For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

– Thursday, August 28 –


On Thursday, August 28th, you are invited to come on out to Albany Distilling Company for a local culinary extravaganza featuring Hudson Valley products paired with high-quality spirits – a fundraiser for the Chefs’ Consortium. Capital Region farms, businesses and chefs will come together to prepare delicious local tastings that include products from Northwind Farms, Hawthorne Valley Farm, R and G Cheese works, the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, and a local cheese selection from the Honest Weight Food Co-Op.

The Albany Distilling Company is a local operation that produces craft spirits one small batch at a time. Located in downtown Albany, it is not far from the site of the city’s original 18th-century distillery. Owners John Curtin and Matthew Jager are proud to be a part of New York State’s rich heritage of spirit production.

About the Chefs’ Consortium
The Chefs’ Consortium is a non-profit committed to educating communities about local food, consisting of professional chefs from the Hudson River Valley, New York City, Albany and Massachusetts. On Saturday, August 28th, the Consortium joins Albany Distilling Company to promote their quality spirits and the great work of the Consortium. The Distillery’s spirits will be featured in the food, augmented by pairings to enhance each culinary creation.

Enjoy food and spirit pairings; a silent auction; the installation art of local Albany artists Chip Fasciana, Abraham Ferraro and Dana Owens; music by the Jeff Nania Trio and a total celebration of local.

Proceeds will benefit the ongoing efforts of the Chefs’ Consortium, a 501(c) (3) which educates communities about local food.

Name: The Spirit of Consortium
Location: Albany Distilling Company, 78 Montgomery Street, Albany, NY
Time: 6:00-9:00 PM
Tickets: $30, available at the door or by credit card through the Chefs’ Consortium website

– September 4 –


Albany, NY- On Thursday, September 4th, Stacks Espresso Bar, in conjunction with the Capital Region Coffee Collective, will be hosting the area’s first Thursday Night Throwdown (TNT), a fun bracket-style latte art competition aimed at further uniting the area’s coffee culture and the people who help create it.

A TNT event, is a common thread through the coffee culture of many major cities, often happening once a month, complete with rotating themes and innovative drink challenges, but this will be the first of it’s kind for the Capital District. The evening is co-hosted by the Capital Region Coffee Collective; which started as a meetup for coffee professionals to help improve each others skills and knowledge and quickly morphed into a fun and engaging event to educate participants and raise awareness of the capital region’s burgeoning specialty coffee scene.

The goal of a TNT is to foster a spirit of camaraderie, fun, and enthusiasm for local coffee from baristas, coffee shops, and anyone interested in all of the interesting behind the scenes workings that make coffee what it is. Beer will be provided by Troy’s Rare Form Brewery to ease nerves, and though many competitors are expected to be local baristas, anyone is open to participate.

The competition will take place on Thursday, September 4th, at Stacks Espresso Bar, 260 Lark St, Albany, NY. Sign-ups begin at 5:30pm, with practice allowed until the first competitive pour, starting at 7:00pm. A $5 buy in for competitors leads to a winner take all prize package. The event is free admission, and there will be beer provided by Rare Form Brewery, of Troy, NY, as well as prizes and giveaways from Cafe Grumpy, of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, of Lee, Massachusetts.

About Stacks Espresso Bar
Stacks Espresso Bar was born April 22, 2014, and is the creative effort of owners Tyler Wrightson and Ron Grieco. Building upon what came before, they set out to bring the best coffee possible to Albany, complete with innovative brew methods and rotating specialty roasters from around the country, as well as their classic house and espresso blends. They aim to further the area’s coffee culture and enthusiasm with friendly, accessible knowledge and unparalleled customer experience. To keep up, visit them at their Facebook page at, or follow on Twitter at

– Old News –

Local Residents Can Savor the ‘Better Burger’ on Wolf Road

DENVER, CO —Smashburger, the nation’s fastest growing “better burger” restaurant, today announced that it will open its first Albany location at 81 Wolf Road in Colonie, NY on Saturday, August 16, 2014. The restaurant will open at 10:00 AM. An official ribbon cutting ceremony will be performed on Monday, August 18th.

“We are excited to bring Smashburger’s better burger to Albany. Satisfying and real, basic and good, affordable and fresh – Smashburger is a place with a burger soul,” says Smashburger Founder & Chief Concept Officer, Tom Ryan. “With a broad menu of handcrafted burgers, chicken, salads, signature sides and handspun shakes, Smashburger has something for everyone and we are proud to be opening another location in the area.”

This new Smashburger in Albany will feature a menu created with regional flavors and tastes in mind. The Albany menu includes the New Yorker Smashburger and chicken sandwich with New York cheddar, garlic grilled onions, spinach, tomato and peppercorn garlic aioli on a brioche bun.

At Smashburger, the secret is in the smash. It starts with 100-percent—fresh, never frozen, All-natural Certified Angus Beef and is smashed on a 400 degree flat grill to sear in the juicy flavor. To further the “better burger” experience, the delicious burgers are served on toasted artisan buns and topped with a selection of the freshest produce, real cheeses, and highest-quality condiments.

Smashburger has over 275 restaurant locations across the United States and is more than just burgers. Customers can also enjoy a selection of tender marinated grilled sandwiches and fresh-tossed signature salads, along with a variety of irresistible sides including rosemary and garlic–seasoned Smashfries, Haystack Onions, and Veggie Frites (flash-fried and seasoned carrot sticks and green beans). The restaurant will also serve a selection of alcoholic and non-
alcoholic beverages ranging from handspun shakes, root-beer floats in frosted mugs and beer.

The 2,432 square-foot Albany Smashburger, which has dining room seating for 69 guests and patio seating for 24, will be the first location to open in the Albany market. Regular restaurant hours will be 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM daily. For holiday hours, please call the restaurant directly at (518) 487-4099.

Local fans are also encouraged to join Smashburger’s Smash Club. Smash Club members receive the latest news, tastiest promotions and exclusive coupons. For more information on Smashburger, please visit or check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

About Smashburger
Smashburger is a leading fast casual “better burger” restaurant with more than 275 corporate and franchise restaurants operating in 30 states and in five international countries. The company began in 2007 with the vision of Rick Schaden and funding by Consumer Capital Partners—the private equity firm that he and his father Richard own. By offering fresh, premium “smashed to order” burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, signature side items and hand-spun shakes, Smashburger has modernized the way people think about burgers. Known for localizing its menu in every market with regionally inspired burgers, side items and local craft beers, Smashburger has received numerous awards, including topping Fast Casual’s 2012 Top Mover & Shakers list, America’s Most Promising Company by Forbes magazine, INC. 500’s List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies and INC’s #9 Hire Power Award winner, as well as regularly receiving “best burger” awards in cities around the world. To learn more, visit

– Older News –

El Charro Mexican Grill to Celebrate their Grand Opening with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

LATHAM, N.Y.—Now open at 952 Troy Schenectady Road, El Charro Mexican Grill will hold its Grand Opening celebration on August 14th ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30.

A small, family owned restaurant serving authentic Mexican Cuisine, El Charro is looking to become a strong part of the community right from the start. “We are a small family owned restaurant and we care about the local community,” says owner Patricia Garcia, “We would like to start getting involved.”

Veterans in the restaurant business, Garcia and her family have owned restaurants in Maryland for many years. Since she was 8 and her parents opened their first restaurant, Garcia was raised and worked in her family’s restaurants for her whole life. After their success in Maryland, Patricia and her husband Oscar have moved up to Latham to be closer to family in the area.

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