Friday, April 24, 2015

'Glens Falls Wing Fest' to include eating test

GLENS FALLS -- The Glens Falls Collaborative has come up with a new downtown event that can best be described as ... well, collaborative.

The "Glens Falls Wing Fest," set for noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 2, will have restaurants from Glens Falls and Queensbury selling wings in exchange for a number of tickets determined by each restaurant. Tickets cost $1 each, $10 for a dozen.

Tasters who sample from at least six different restaurants will be eligible to vote for their favorite. Forms will be available online at the time of the event.

As part of the new event, an amateur "inferno" wing-eating contest will be held, but only five contestants will be accepted. Entry is $20. The form for that now is available online.

'Dessert Spectacular' fundraiser set for Tuesday

TROY -- The 21st annual "Dessert Spectacular," a major fundraiser for the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, is set for Tuesday.

In addition to a wide array of desserts, the event will feature a 60-item silent auction, a wine pull and a raffle.

General admission tickets are $35, for students/seniors/consumers $10. They are available at the ILCHV, 15 3rd Street, or the night of the event at Franklin Plaza, Fourth and Grand streets. The ILCHV phone is 274-0701.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chubby's Subs: And then there were none

Chubby's Subs Eastside closed.
TROY -- Chubby's Subs, a longtime player on the casual food scene, is no more.

While the Lansingburgh location at Fifth Avenue and 114th Street closed several months ago, it was only in recent days that the remaining venue, at 769 Pawling Avenue near the Wynantskill line, went dark. A hand-scrawled, ripped piece of paper taped to the door reads: "CLOSED until further notice." Given the look of the interior -- furniture in a pile, no sign of beverages or foodstuffs, shades pulled down -- "further notice" won't be coming anytime soon.

Chubby's Subs was founded by the late Hank D'Arcy, who closed an East Greenbush location in the 1990s to open the Eastside spot that turned out to be the most successful of the trio. Eventually, his daughter Deanna D'Arcy took over the Eastside shop, and in 2011 brought ownership of the 'Burgh Chubby's back to the family. However, she closed it several months ago, while the Eastside shop had several different operators with brief tenures.

Chubby's had long been a local favorite, offering much more than its name implied. In fact, the extensive menu put many chain sandwich shops to shame. At one time, more than 40 basic sandwiches were available in two sizes each or as wraps, with a huge variety of toppings and breads. Doing the math, as they say, literally pushed the possibilities into the thousands. The shops also offered fish fry dinners, housemade soups and chili, four kinds of fries, chips made daily, and numerous specials, as well as catering.

'Southern Vermont Restaurant Week' begins Friday

It's not a big deal as restaurant weeks go, but it's something special if you're in the southern Vermont area.

The four-venue, 10-day "Southern Vermont Restaurant Week" begins Thursday, with the participating venues offering $38 prix fixe dinners and $25 lunches. Reservations are recommended at the restaurants. They are:

Dorset Inn, Dorset
Barrows House, Dorset
Ye Olde Tavern, Manchester
Brasserie L'Oustau, Manchester

Pregnant Popeyes manager robbed, then fired

Holdup caught on camera.
From The Huffington Post
Marissa Holcomb was held at gunpoint late last month in an armed robbery at a Popeyes in Channelview, TX. 
Then, she was fired. 
The shift manager -- who is five months pregnant -- says she was reprimanded because she refused to pay back $400 that the gunman got away with, according to KHOU.
Go here for the full story.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Four restaurants on Bethlehem drawing boards

Architect's rendering of proposed Irish restaurant and pub.
BETHLEHEM --- A pair of Irish immigrants plan to develop what they term an "authentic" Irish pub and restaurant in a shopping strip located in Delmar.

It is one of a number of proposed restaurants put before the Town of Bethlehem Planning Board on Tuesday.

William "Liam" Slattery, an experienced pub manager, and Keith O'Brien, owner of a construction firm, presented initial plans to the Planning Board pursuant to creating O'Slattery's Irish Restaurant & Pub at 318 Delaware Avenue, in the Main Square Shoppes. The 2,154-square-foot restaurant will be built in space formerly occupied by the Living Cafe and Weichart Realtors.

Although detailed plans are to come, Slattery said there will be two areas within the restaurant -- one a quiter dining area with fewer TV sets and tables, the other with TV sets, the bar and communal tables. The partners plan to retain the existing 385-square-foot exterior rear deck.

In a letter sent to the Planning Board prior to the meeting, Slattery said he came to the U.S. from Kilkenny, Ireland, and O'Brien from Tipperary, both in 2001. Slattery's wife, Jackie, with whom he will manage the business, is a native of Delmar. Slattery has worked in the hospitality industry in Ireland, England and Spain, and aboard a Disney cruise ship. He currently manages The Perfect Pint, an Irish pub in Manhattan.

The Planning Board on Tuesday also viewed modified drawings of a proposed redevelopment of the Glenmont Plaza, located at Route 9W and Feura Bush Road. It includes three proposed restaurants, one of 1,600 square feet, one of 2,600 and a third, in a standalone building, of 3,000.

Original approval had been given for a drive-thru window at the standalone building, but the Benderson Development Company that is handling the project said a potential tenant for the building does not want a drive-thru. No restaurant brand names have been revealed.

Red arrows indicate proposed Glenmont Plaza restaurants.


Albany food truck permits rising from 5 to 25 this year

One food truck operating in the city.
ALBANY -- If you're a fan of food trucks, our capital city will become next thing to heaven, thanks to a decision by the city announced Tuesday that will quintuple the number of mobile food vendor permits it plans to issue.

The city says it will issue up to 25 mobile food vendor permits for the May 1-October 31 "season," compared to the mere five it approved last year. The move comes as part of the "Mobile Food Vendor Pilot Program," now entering its second year.

“This program is a great example of how a rising tide -- more food sellers -- will help lift the prospects for the entire city,” said Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Mobile food vendors put more feet on the street, which provide customers that all city businesses need to succeed.”

Hours for street vendors are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for Hoffman Park, Lincoln Park, Washington Park, and Mullen's Park Ballfield. Fees will start at $250, up $50 from last year. Permits also will be available for one-day and weekend vendors, which do not count against the 25 limit.

Full information on license applications and requirements is available on the city website. Note that vendors wishing to apply for permits for more than one location use a different form than the single-site vending applicants, and pay $125 per location request after the first $250 fee. The fee for a one-day permit is $25, and $40 for a weekend permit. Vendors seeking one-day or weekend permits must submit requests at least 10 days prior to the event.

“Food trucks promote the public interest by contributing to the street life in the city,” said Kate Lawrence, senior planner for the city Planning Department. “Our goal is to build on the success of the first year of the program, especially in places where people have few restaurant options.”

As I reported earlier this month, the Albany Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) plans to make food trucks part of its "First Friday" activities. Details are available here.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

1st Adirondack Wine & Food Festival lineup unveiled

Back in February, I reported that Lake George would be getting a new wine festival this summer. Now, the Adirondack Winery, which is organizing the event, has provided an early look at the list of participating wineries, breweries, distillers and food and craft vendors.

The Adirondack Wine & Food Festival, scheduled for the weekend of June 27-28, will feature New York State wines, beers and foods to be served under multiple tents. It also will offer an official New York Farmer's Market.

The activities will take place on the site of the former Gaslight Village amusement park, now called the Charles R. Wood Park Festival Commons, located at 17 West Brook Road at the south end of the village. The event will run from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Says Sasha Pardy, owner of Adirondack Winery, "People don’t commonly associate our area with wine, as it is not considered an established grape-growing region. However, over the past several years, Adirondack Winery has cultivated its local and visiting customers into an ever-growing base of passionate wine lovers. In addition, numerous wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries have opened their doors. Now, our area is home to a wine trail boasting 14 members and a craft beverage trail with more than 20 members. What better place to showcase the amazing hand-crafted products of these businesses than Lake George?"

Stephanie Ottino, events manager at Adirondack Winery, is the festival coordinator. Anyone wishing to join the ranks of vendors may contact her at the winery, 285 Canada Street, in Lake George Village. Phone: 518-668-9463.

A portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales will benefit the SUNY Adirondack Foundation to help fund scholarships, faculty/staff professional development grants and the support of special projects. The students of the SUNY Adirondack culinary arts program will offer cooking demonstrations both days.

Tickets now are available online, priced at $20 plus fees and tax or $10 plus fees and tax for designated drivers. At the gate, tickets will be $25. Sales restricted to persons 21 and older.

Participating wineries:
  • Adirondack Winery
  • Amorici Vineyards
  • Halfmoon Cellars Winery
  • Ledge Rock Winery
  • Olivia Vineyards
  • Thousand Islands Winery
  • Victory View Vineyard
Participating breweries, distillers, cideries:
  • Adirondack Brewery
  • Davidson Brothers Brewing Company
  • Lake George Distilling Company
  • Springbrook Hollow
  • Nine Pin Ciderworks
Food trucks:
  • The Hungry Traveler
  • Pies On Wheels
Food vendors:
  • Bald Mountain Garlic Farm
  • Cheeky Monkey
  • Hidden Hollow Maple Farm
  • Lake George Olive Oil Company
  • Mountain View Confections
  • Saratoga Crackers

NYS licenses 400th winery (also will make beer, soda)

A Five Sons vineyard view.
The legacy of New York State's Farm Winery Act, which became law in 1976, continues. In 39 years, we have gone from 14 licensed wineries to 400, the latter mark just reached when the State Liquor Authority issued a license to the Five Sons Winery now in development in Monroe County. That facility also will house a micro-brewery and soft drink-making operation.

While reaching the 400 mark may not seem particularly impressive over nearly a four-decade period, it should be noted that 147 of those wineries have opened just since 2011, which represents 37% of the total. To put that even further in perspective, the New York Wine & Grape Foundation explains, taking 1939 as the start date for the state’s wine industry, that growth spurt has occurred during just 2% of its history.

Geographically, Suffolk County leads the state with 91 wineries or satellite stores, Yates and Seneca counties are tied for second place with 37 each, followed by Schuyler County with 26, Ontario County with 17 and Wayne County with seven. Only Fulton, Hamilton and Richmond (Staten Island) counties are without a winery or satellite office.

Go here for more on the story, including details of the ambitious Five Sons project.

Today's ride on the Capital Region foodie-go-round

SELLING

• One of Schenectady's numerous long-run Italian restaurants is for sale. Owner Mike Petta of the 64-year-old Petta's Italian told Times Union columnist Marv Cermak that he is retiring and moving to Florida in August, but that family members will continue operating the restaurant "until he can negotiate sale of the property." Petta also is a member of the Schenectady County Legislature whose term runs through the end of the year. The restaurant was founded in 1951 by Italian immigrant Felix Petta and his third wife, Caroline. Felix's son Peter succeeded him and Peter's son Mike, born the same year his grandfather founded the  restaurant, succeeded him. Petta's is located at 134 Duane Avenue. Phone: 346-7324.

REOPENING

Carney's Tavern, which closed for some "spring cleaning projects and renovations"  after Easter dinner, will reopen in early May. Among the changes guests will experience is the work of a new chef, still to be hired. Owner Matt Finnigan said chef Michael Pallozzi will not be returning, and in a news release said the menu will be changed to offer more affordable items and more typical tavern fare. “We started working on basic spring cleaning and became aware that there were things that we needed to attend to sooner rather than later,” Finningan said in the release. “The scope of work has slowed us down but we’re progressing steadily. We’re tackling the most urgent, but doable, hurdles by ourselves in order to get re-opened as soon as possible.” He also is bringing back the pool table, opening up the loft, and refreshing a small private dining room. Pallozzi, meanwhile,  continues to run the food service at the Eagle Crest Golf Club in Clifton Park. Carney's is located at 17 Main Street in Ballston Lake. Phone: 952-7177.

CLOSING 

• After a 40-year-run, the Friendly's restaurant on Pittsfield-Lenox Road in Lenox, MA, is no more. The business was shuttered after close of hours on Sunday. It is the third Friendly's in Berkshire County to close in the past three years. The only two remaining in business in the county are in Lee and Pittsifled. Each underwent refurbishing last year.