Monday, September 22, 2014

A trip through the Capital Region's foodie revolving door


CLOSING

• Bettie's Cakes has closed its "cupcakery cafe" at 371 Broadway in Saratoga Springs. The equipment, including its familiar pink, double-decker bus, are for sale. You can get a rundown of the details on the business's Facebook page -- which also contains an intriguing offer to buy the business and equipment as a package. The closing is blamed on construction at the adjoining Adelphi Hotel and no plans have been announced to relocate or continue the venture in any form, which is interesting considering the sort of business it has been since 2009 -- a lower-level tenant in the Downstreet Market in Saratoga, a stand at the Saratoga Race Course, and a pop-up location at Colonie Center.

EVOLVING

• I remember when the Saratoga Springs restaurant Max London's was in its planning stages. Albany foodies wrote about it incessantly, mostly because they were enamored of the fact it was being financed by Michael and Wendy London, owners of the popular Mrs. London's bakery, and their very young son Max was to be the chef. It finally opened on Broadway in 2007. Now, Michael and Wendy now longer are connected with the businesses. The restaurant and the bakery have been purchased by two entities named Saratoga Hospitality LLC and Saratoga Hospitality & Bakery LLC.  Max London is listed as being in charge of both businesses, according to a report in today's Times Union. A state liquor license is pending, and a temporary permit has been issued to Ryan Venezia, a principal in Saratoga Hospitality & Bakery LLC. The new phone number for Max London's is 587-0505, and the new number for Mrs. London's is 581-8100. Don't look for additional details from the websites; they're not operating. Max London's restaurant Facebook is, but as no mention of the changes.

PRICING

• It may take a while before we see any impact at its Capital Region locations, but the Cracker Barrel chain is doing some regional price adjusting. Locally, there are Cracker Barrel restaurants at 122 Troy Road in East Greenbush and 4 Tower Way in Clifton Park. Company officials have told industry told analysts that among its new initiatives is testing ways to increase guest check averages through regional pricing, while simultaneously trimming expenses with technology applications that improve operating margins. The 633-unit chain's net income in the fiscal fourth quarter that ended August 1 was up 14.2 percent to $39.2 million, compared to $34.3 million for the same period a year earlier. CFO Lawrence E. Hyatt said the test of regional pricing started last week, so “we don’t have much of a preliminary read yet.” The chain, incidentally, this month is marking its 45th anniversary.

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