Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Once-innovative Justin's is closing its doors

ALBANY -- At one time, Justin's was the cutting edge restaurant in the city, as well as a popular music venue. But, as times changed and ownership changed several times, that status gradually eroded. Now, Justin's has announced its final downward step. It is  is closing.

"Due to unfortunate circumstances Justins will be closing its doors on Monday," said a Facebook announcement of a closing party set for Sunday night." ... We've all had some great times at Justins over the 56 years it's been open. Let's get together one last time!"

Justin’s -- which was divided into a tight (no pun intended) bar area and the Savoy dining room -- was known initially for the innovative cooking, despite an excruciatingly tiny kitchen, of chef Ric Orlando, who went on to regular appearances on the Food Network as well as heading the kitchens at two New World restaurants, and a top-flight schedule of jazz performances. I still remember the electric yet cozy atmosphere of those days in the 1980s and '90s, but that has not been the case for a long time.

In recent years, the whole operation had deteriorated. As noted in the Times Union, Justin's "as recently as the beginning of this month was facing five charges from the State Liquor Authority for incidents over the summer." The bar and restaurant is located at 301 Lark Street.

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