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Births, Deaths, and Many Happy Returns

November 8, 2017

Man, there is a lot going on these days on the local food scene. It’s hard to keep track. And if you throw in what’s happening with the local craft beverage sector, it gets even harder. I almost missed out on the new beer from Indian Ladder Farms that was made with KCBC.

Sadly, not all of the news is good. We’ve recently lost some places that I hold dear. But we won’t linger on the sadness, because there are joyful things to celebrate, like a big anniversary and the return of a local legend. Well, legendary to some. Others just call him Chef. It’s not like he’s a household name… yet.

The below is far from an all inclusive list. For example, the new hours at The Hollow which finally expand service to a weekend brunch and Monday lunch are absent. But if I put in everything, we would be here all day.

Okay. Let’s begin.


The Cuckoo’s Nest
This is the new Southern food concept from Devin and Kaytrin, the couple who brought you Albany’s chef-centric burgers, fries, and comfort food at Crave. They are opening in The Gingerman’s old location. I got to have a sneak peek at some of the menu items at a Yelp Elite Event this summer, and they were delicious. Chef Devin knows comfort food, and Kaytrin can mix up a sinfully delicious biscuit.

Here’s what they posted on Facebook:

We are happy to announce that this Saturday we will be open for dinner with reservation only. You can call us at 518-650-7215 or email us at to request a reservation. Tuesday November 14 we will be open for regular business hours walk in and reservations are accepted. We can’t wait to feed you!

Now you know. Don’t miss out.

Melt N’ Toast
The Capital Region has all kinds of food festivals that celebrate everything from chicken wings to macaroni and cheese, to a variety of soups. Amazingly, to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a grilled cheese festival.

Well, now there is. Melt N’ Toast is coming to the Takk House on Saturday, November 18 from noon to 4pm. And there are two ways to enjoy this inaugural event. You could either buy a ticket that gets you one sample per vendor, and one drink from the bar. Or you could go all-in and buy a sample-all-you-want ticket. Granted, the later is more expensive, but with vendors like The Cheese Traveler, Sunhee’s, Slidin’ Dirty, Nine Pin, and Chatham Brewing, it could well be worth it.

All the details can be found here.

Spa Mirbeau
You may have read about the hard hat tour that I went on recently, and the CFA CEC the team is bringing on the lead the Spa’s Le Bistro in Crossgates Mall. Well, the project is nearing completion, and the grand opening is scheduled for November 15. That’s the day when the public will be able to come in and tour the facilities. After then, the only way you can get in is with an appointment for a spa treatment. Which, quite frankly, doesn’t sound all that bad.

Keep an eye on the Facebook and Instagram pages for details as the date gets closer.


Oh no! This was my favorite frozen yogurt place in the Capital Region. I’m devastated. Thankfully there is another location in Pittsfield, but that’s not entirely convenient. LemonDrop is also gone, and that was probably my second favorite FroYo parlor. Sigh. I guess the trend is finally bottoming out again. Which place do you think will close up shop next?

While not technically a food place, the snack bar at the Playdium bowling alley made surprisingly good pizza. Plus they had an old seltzer spigot from back in the day. We had the kids’ birthday parties within those walls. And one of the first Yelp meet-ups that I organized almost a decade ago was there. It’s sad to see this classic Albany institution go away, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to arrange one last outing to say goodbye.


Lucas Confectionery
Five years? That’s amazing. The little wine bar that could is celebrating its five year anniversary. Is there going to be a party? You bet! They even sent out a press release with all the details. I’m going to just put that below, and hopefully you can show up and help commemorate the achievement. That is, if of course, you aren’t going to the Red, White, and Chocolate Gala in support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany. I tell you, there’s a lot going on these days. Anyone who is bored in Albany isn’t paying attention. Okay, here are the deets:

The Charles F. Lucas Confectionery, the Troy, N.Y. wine bar started by entrepreneurs Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine in 2012 and led to the formation and growth of the Clark House Hospitality family of establishments (little pecks, Peck’s Arcade, Twenty Two Second Street Wine, The Bradley), will celebrate its five year anniversary on Thursday, Nov. 9 starting at 4 p.m.

The celebration will include a variety of DJs, dancing, complimentary cake and popcorn, and $5 bar snacks.

Lucas Confectionery is the founding business of Clark House Hospitality. Clark House Hospitality is a collection of restaurant, retail, and private event spaces obsessed with creating quality experiences between people, food, and drink in Troy. The Confectionery has been at the forefront of the emerging renaissance happening in Downtown Troy.

WHAT: Lucas Confectionery celebrates five years of operation in Troy, N.Y.
WHO: Clark House Hospitality, Vic Christopher, Heather LaVine
WHERE: 12 Second Street, Troy
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 9, 4 p.m. to midnight

Chef Tanner
Chef Chris Tanner is back! He left the Capital Region with his family a few years ago, and it was heartbreaking. I hate seeing talented people leave the area. Especially the ones who lead the charcuterie program at SCCC, and shared similar feelings with the Profussor about the state of food in the area.

His new gig? It’s kind of amazing. And he has some big plans. But here’s the official announcement, so you can have a better sense of what’s going on with him and Perreca’s. I added a few carriage returns to make it a bit more readable.

Chef Christopher Tanner, CEC, AAC
Heads MORE Perreca’s Italian Kitchen as General Manager and Executive Chef

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Schenectady, New York November 6, 2017.

Chef Christopher A. Tanner, Certified Executive Chef, American Culinary Federation (ACF) has joined Schenectady’s MORE Perreca’s Italian Kitchen as General Manager and Executive Chef.

A native of Schenectady, Chef Tanner was most recently Senior Executive Research Chef for Pepperidge Farm, Norwalk, Connecticut, and Executive Research Chef, Campbell Soup Company, Camden, New Jersey. He is the former Culinary Director of the Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, and Culinary Instructor at Schenectady County Community College where he served as Chef for Casola Dining Room and Lead Instructor for Garde Manger and as an Executive Chef of restaurants and resorts throughout the U.S.

He brings over 25 years of solid foundation in the culinary arts industry. Chef Tanner’s partnership with the legendary Schenectady staple marks an investment in the future of the Perreca’s brand as well as a commitment to the culinary integrity of the City of Schenectady.

“I’ve known Chef Tanner for nearly two decades,” said Maria Perreca Papa, owner at MORE Perreca’s, “as an individual, his character is sterling. But once he steps into the culinary arena, his standards soar even higher,” she continued. “Food: its sourcing, and its preparation are sacred to Chef Tanner and I’m beyond thrilled to be welcoming him to lead our team. It’s a partnership that enhances the Perreca’s brand and raises the bar on our guest experience.”

Chef Tanner is the recipient of numerous culinary awards and distinctions. Among them he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Chefs, is an ACF culinary competition judge, and holds over 45 culinary competition medals. He has also been awarded the ACF Presidential medallion. Tanner holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration, Culinary Management from the State University of New York at Delhi and a Master’s degree in Gastronomy and Food Studies from Boston University.

Chef Tanner’s residency at MORE Perreca’s Italian Kitchen will commence with a 60-day revisionist period, followed by his introducing his new menu in early January 2018. Chef Tanner’s earliest contributions are to include house-made Italian sausages, salumi, fresh pastas, as well as Perreca’s-smoked bacon. “Schenectady is a relevant contributor to the rich culinary experience available in Upstate New York,” said Chef Tanner. “And Perreca’s is universally recognized as a significant player. It is an honor to build upon that tradition.”

Perreca’s Bakery, located in Schenectady’s Little Italy has been run continuously by the same family for over 100 years offering its signature hard crusted Italian bread baked in an ancient coal-fired brick oven. MORE Perreca’s Italian Kitchen opened in 2009 in a renovated building adjacent to the original bakery.


Perreca’s Bakery
33 N Jay Street, Schenectady, NY 12305 tel: 518.372.1075
Open Mon-Sat 4:30am – 5:30pm

MORE Perreca’s Italian Kitchen
31 N Jay Street, Schenectady, NY 12305 tel: 518-377-9800
Open Sun-Sat 7:00am – 9:00pm

Okay. I think that’s enough for now. I’ve got to pick up my dry cleaning for Thursday’s gala, and get everything set for the next round of Yelp Events. Hope to see you around.

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