Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sprio making yet another local comeback

Carmine Sprio
ALTAMONT -- At one time, Carmine Sprio was the Capital Region's top food scene personality. A successful Albany restaurant (Carmine's, located on Albany's Central Avenue where Grappa 72 now operates), a TV cooking show, endless personal appearances. Then, it all unraveled for the ambitious chef/entrepreneur.

An attempt at a prepared-meal carry out operation that anticipated a trend now commonplace but perhaps ahead of its time quickly flopped in Latham in a Route 9 spot near Latham Farms where its successor, a Dunkin' Donuts franchise, has long been successful. The TV show ran its course and disappeared. The restaurant Carmine's closed after a dozen-year run, and Sprio dropped off the popular radar.

Three years later, in 2012, he resurfaced with a Brazilian-style steakhouse in downtown Albany. However, that concept quickly circled the drain, and he reverted to his original Carmine's concept. That time, however, it didn't work, and financial difficulties ensued, ending in the business being seized by the state over unpaid taxes in 2014 and closed for good.

Again, Sprio dropped off the radar. Last spring, he briefly popped up as a sous chef at the Crown Grill in Saratoga Springs, and at last report was on the kitchen staff at the Turning Stone casino resort in central New York. But, he now is back on the local scene once more, hiring on as executive chef at the Mio Vino Wine Bar & Bistro that just relaunched in this rural Albany County after being closed in June for renovations and concept changes. The new menu, reminiscent of Carmine's, is an Italian-American one with a definite 1990s vibe.

Mio Vino is located at 186 Main Street. Phone: 595-5095.

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