Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Saratoga restaurant saga that knows no end

The last chapter in the saga of Maestro's, the long-popular Saratoga Springs restaurant that closed last month after nearly three decades in business, apparently had not been written.

The owners  today announced they are planning to resurrect their operation at nearby McGregor Links Country Club. A spring 2016 opening is projected.

Majority owner Bill Donovan, who also owns Harvey's Irish Pub & Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, said the new venue will be called Maestro's at McGregor.

"While we won't have a porch overlooking Broadway, we will have a porch overlooking the beautiful club grounds and a patio with a view of the 18th hole," he said. " ... Our restaurant will be open to the public [and] McGregor allows us to expand our Symphony Catering division with more room options for hosting your special events."

McGregor Links is located at 359 Northern Pines Road in the suburb of Wilton.

Meanwhile, the former Maestro's at the Van Dam space will be filled later this month by a steakhouse called Salt and Char, operated by the owners of the adjacent Adelphi Hotel, where a total renovation began earlier this year. Toby Milde is president of Richbell Capital LLC, which bought the hotel, built in 1877, in 2012 for $4.5 million.

Maestro's has a convoluted history worthy of a TV reality show. It was founded in a small space at 371 Broadway in Saratoga Springs on July 4, 1987, by chef Joseph DeVivo Jr., who also was a musician, thus the restaurant name and its original music-oriented decor. In 2006, DeVivo sold the business to chef John LaPosta and LaPosta's life- and business-partner, Tina Kruger. They, in turn, entered into a partnership with Donovan in 2011 that resulted in the restaurant being moved down the street to the historic Van Dam Hotel and the name being changed to Maestro's at the Van Dam.

That iteration perked along until an announcement in July 2014 that LaPosta, 52, and Kruger, 55, were leaving the business after the Saratoga thoroughbred racing season ended in September, and planned to open another at some undisclosed location. Given LaPosta's career, that was no particular surprise. Prior to Maestro's, his career took some dizzying turns, with him working throughout the Capital Region in the kitchens of such now-defunct spots as the Cranberry Bog, Garren's Place, Conservatory Grill, Zeeko's Potters Tavern, and the Cambridge Hotel -- a gig that landed him on an episode of Gordon Ramsey's short-lived "Hotel Hell" TV show -- as well as at the long-running Jack's Oyster House down State Street hill from the Capitol building in Albany. He even had a brief try at creating his own local mini-chain of soup-centric venues called the 1929 Soup Kitchens, but they quickly faded away.

In April of  this year, while LaPosta and Kruger were working on developing a new restaurant in Latham, Saratoga Springs police announced they had arrested the couple on a variety of felony charges connected with their time at Maestro's.

Despite their troubles, they opened their new restaurant, Innovo Kitchen, on October 1. Two weeks later, criminal charges were finalized when a Saratoga County grand jury indicted them for allegedly stealing as much as $200,000 from Maestro’s from 2011 through 2014.

The charges include two counts of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of third-degree grand larceny, three counts each of second-degree forgery, and three counts of first-degree falsifying of business records, according to County  District Attorney Karen Heggen. The couple pleaded not guilty to all charges and were released on $10,000 bond each. Their case is pending.

No comments:

Post a Comment