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big lunch at little pecks

September 8, 2016

If writing in all caps is read as shouting, perhaps leaving out capital letters entirely is more like whispering. Whatever the case, after my last post on the newest venture from Vic and Heather in Troy, I was told that I got the name of the place wrong.

It is not Little Peck’s.
It is not Little Pecks.
It is little pecks.

For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think I’m the only one who may find the punctuation and
capitalization confusing. And what is an all day cafe anyway? Looking at the menu online isn’t going to help much, because little pecks is an evolving work in progress. So the official website still reflects a menu from an earlier iteration of the concept.

Here’s the thing though. I love what little pecks is doing. So I want to help take some of the uncertainty and confusion out of the equation. And after my lunch there yesterday, I even have a good picture of the current menu.

First things first. I drove to Troy for lunch. And I found free street parking two blocks away near the monument. Without having to circle once. Parking was easy. Walking was fast. The drive from Albany was quick. This can be an accessible destination lunch for almost anyone.

From the sidewalk, little pecks looks like a teeny tiny coffee shop. It makes sense why people might not consider it to be a lunch destination. With only a few counter stools visible from the street, people might not have the full picture of the place.

Do you know that glorious patio behind the Lucas Confectionery? The one with the “waterfall” and the retractable roof that’s open during the nice weather and closed when it’s cold or raining? Well, that’s part of the seating for little pecks.

Have you been upstairs at Peck’s Arcade and seen the private dining area adjacent to the Tavern Bar? It’s called the library. Because, well, it’s a library. Well, that’s part of the seating for little pecks too.

Granted, sometimes these spaces may be reserved for some other function. However, every time I’ve been to little pecks they were open. And in each location I’ve gotten good reception of the free wifi network.

There is also some more traditional cafe seating to the rear of little pecks itself. And from there you can look into the kitchen to see Greg K and his team doing their thing.

Hopefully you know that Greg is a baker. So he’s making the bread. Typically, bread is the weak link in sandwiches. Don’t even get me started. My lunch companion yesterday got a grilled and pressed sandwich of pork, dijon, fontinella, and apples. It looked amazing. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite on my diet. I went for the spicy tuna antipasto, which was light, flavorful, and packed with vegetables. Both were $10 on the specials menu.

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But I couldn’t resist getting a single square of the focaccia style pizza, topped with blistered cherry tomatoes, basil, ricotta, and thyme. The pizza is a special item on Wednesdays and Fridays, and weighs in at a mere $2.50 per slice. Like the tomato pies of Schenectady, these are served at room temperature.

 

The food is colorful, playful, and clearly made from good stuff by talented people. There are inventive plates for the adventurous. Safe selections for the traditionalist. The menu is written very simply. If you have questions, ask. Seriously. The staff is well trained. They know the food, and they can help guide you.

Speaking of the menu, have a look.

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Don’t be shy. Don’t be embarrassed. little pecks is doing things differently. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while.

Ordering is done from the barista at the coffee counter. You pay them. Credit cards work. They’ll give you a number. Then you make the hard choice of where you want to sit. Feel like sitting in the air conditioning? Ask if the library is open. Need a little sunshine before winter hits? Head for the patio.

There are stations both inside and outside with napkins and silverware. Help yourself. Food comes out on happy golden trays. And after we were done I saw some bus bins, so I cleared our plates, and stacked the trays next to the bus tub.

Did I do that right? I have no idea. And frankly, it doesn’t matter.

For some reason I think little pecks is seen as a place that’s more expensive than other options. But I’m just not seeing that when measuring it against the local landscape. Maybe there are individual items that seem a buck higher than they should be. But there are other items that feel like values.

Certainly, there was far more spicy tuna antipasto on my plate today than I expected for $10. And I think I’ve paid close to $4 for a slice of crappy pizza at the mall. It should go without saying, but the little pecks slice was both much tastier and more substantial.

little pecks is different—gloriously different—and it’s a gem. I just hope that people aren’t deterred by the very things that makes it special. Maybe, just maybe this post will give a nudge to those who might be on the fence. And don’t forget to save room for Greg’s desserts. That brownie is dynamite.

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