Tuesday, July 17, 2018

After 105 years, dinner is being served at Manory's in Troy

An undated photo of what Manory's once looked like.
The familiar silver coffee pot hangs
over the main entrance.
TROY -- Every century or so Manory's likes to do something different.

In this instance, the city's oldest restaurant will be staying up later.

Effective this Wednesday, Manory's is going beyond its traditional breakfast and lunch service that begins at 6:30 a.m. by staying open until 11 p.m. and expanding its menu. All the while, some remodeling work will continue.

Manory's has operated at the same site -- 99 Congress Street at 4th Street -- since 1913. Its lavish breakfast dishes have become iconic in the city, including such items as apple cider donut French toast, peanut butter chocolate pancakes, New Orleans pulled pork and eggs Benedict, and its rich milk shakes.

The restaurant was founded by Joseph and Antoinette Appio Manory, and operated by members of the family well into the 1990s. Lou and Jennifer Marchese are the current proprietors. Lou's father had purchased Manory's in 1991 from Anthony Manory, the last member of the family to own the business.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Doc Bone's again scorches Troy Pig Out competition

Pitmaster Tom Booker with the top trophy. (photo provided)
TROY -- If this keeps up, they may have to change the name of the Troy Pig Out barbecue extravaganza.

Doc Bone's BBQ, the Orange County operation that has a deep record of success in the highest levels of barbecue competition, once again emerged as the grand champion of the Troy event that is an official state championship test. Smoke Lodge won the People's Choice Award.

Last year, Doc Bone's pitmaster Tom Booker took first place in three categories en route to winning the overall top title. This year, he won a fourth category title on the way to the top prize in the 11th annual competition that drew thousands of visitors to Riverfront Park on Saturday.

Booker obviously isn't going to be content to rest on his laurels. "Had a fantastic time at the Troy Pig Out this weekend. ... Looking forward to going back again next year!," he said on Facebook today.

Doc Bone's is located in New Windsor, but frequently is on the road for Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned events, the highest level of competition in the country.

The overall Troy results:
• Chicken: 1st place, Doc Bone's BBQ' 2nd place, Smoke Lodge
• Pork Ribs: 1st place, Doc Bone's BBQ; 2nd place, Yanni’s Too Restaurant
• Pulled Pork: 1st place, Doc Bone's BBQ; 2nd place, Yanni’s Too Restaurant
• Beef Brisket: 1st place, Doc Bone's BBQ; 2nd place, Yanni’s Too Restaurant
• Mayor’s Choice: The Corner Grill
• People’s Choice: Smoke Lodge
• Grand Champion: Doc Bone's BBQ

Epicurean Humor

A gallery of artwork honoring those who draw conclusions. 

Opening & Closing & Developing & Etc.

The latest reports from the Greater Capital Region on restaurants and food vendor openings, closings and transitions, as well as occasional entries from Vermont, the Berkshires, and the Catskills.


The Friendly Toast, an offbeat restaurant (see the menu here) that had four locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, now has five venues with today's debut at 86 St. Paul Street in Burlington, VT. Right now its hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Wednesday plus evening hours of 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Eventually, plans call for it to be open until 1 or 2 a.m. An example of the unusual menu items: The Doughnut Stop Believin' breakfast sandwich on French toasted donuts filled with scrambled eggs, sausage and cheddar cheese; topped with powdered sugar; and served with sides of zesty maple sour cream and strawberry habanero jam, served with home fries.

Eden Specialty Ciders of Newport, VT, is planning to open the Eden Boutique Taproom & Cheese Bar at 45 Main Street, Winooski, in August. The timing of the debut of the 25-seat space coincides with the start of the state's apple harvest season which traditionally draws a lot of tourists. The bar will feature six draft lines, according to cidery owner Eleanor L├ęger, who also is planning to stock ciders from other cideries plus at least one local beer. 


Here's a fascinating situation. The Troy restaurant Unagi Sushi's website announces it is open today. But, it also announces it is permanently closed! (See screengrab above.) Its Facebook page hadn't changed in two months until that just-closed notice. Das Nobel is the owner of Unagi. Head chef Andy Dong apparently had left his position before Nobel's final decision not to reopen after purportedly closing temporarily for "construction" at the 18-month-old 4th Street location.

• Neither its website nor its Facebook page -- the latter of which hasn't been updated since March -- makes mention of it, but McGuire's restaurant apparently has closed, at least for the summer. That's according to a sign currently on the front door of the Albany venue, located at the intersection of Lark and State streets.

Kinnaree, the Thai-Korean-Japanese restaurant  at 193 Lark Street, Albany, has been closed for the past three months after announcing on its Facebook page, "Due to unexpected circumstances outside of the restaurant, KINNAREE will be CLOSED for several days while repairs are made to our entranceway. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Our Facebook page will be updated on our reopening status. Thank you." That was on April 20. Today, the Times Union reported that Kinnaree "appears permanently closed ... (T)he sign is gone and the telephone number has been disconnected."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

McDonald's pulls salads at 3,000 venues over illness

McDonald’s has temporarily halted salad sales in at roughly 3,000 impacted restaurants in 13 states as it looks for a new lettuce blend supplier following reports of a food-borne illness in numerous states after eating McDonald's salads.

Various state and federal agencies have identified victims diagnosed with cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite. McDonald’s said it is "no longer selling salads until we can switch our lettuce blend supply to another provider" in about 3,000 impacted restaurants.

States where the illness has been diagnosed include  Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Vermont Brewers Festival expected to draw 10,000

BURLINGTON, VT -- The state's biggest beer event is about to begin its 26th annual blowout, with 10,000 visitors expected to show up at Waterfront Park overlooking Lake Champlain on July 20 and 21.

The Vermont Brewers Festival, a creation of the Vermont Brewers Association, is promising ticket holders they will be able to choose from 270 varieties of beer made by 47 brewers from Vermont, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Canada.

The festival is split into four tasting sessions and features specialty beers brewed exclusively for the event. Each session also will offer a beer-and-cheese pairing. Details are available on the event website.

Tasting tickets are $43 in advance, $45 at the gate. The afternoon session on July 20 is $10 off for Vermont residents.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Adelphi's new wine and beer garden is sushi-centric

Adelphi's new outdoor space
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The Adelphi Wine & Beer Garden launched today on the rear patio space behind the hotel ballroom.

The historic Adelphi Hotel reopened last year after a four-year renovation project. Morrissey's, named for an iconic early Saratoga social figure, is its main indoor dining space. The new outdoor venue has an extensive menu of sushi and sashimi offerings, showing it is anything but a cursory nod to the cuisine. Its drinks menu is rather limited, although offering some respectable labels.

The Adelphi is located at 365 Broadway. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Phone: 518-678-6000.

Fire causes temporary closing of Capital Q Smokehouse

ALBANY -- The Capital Q Smokehouse will be cooling off for a week or so. That's a result of an early morning fire today that reportedly started in the smoker.

Owner Sean Custer said on Facebook he will keep the public updated on the situation as cleanup progresses.

Capital Q, located at 329 Ontario Street, has been in operation since September 2007. Phone: 518-438-7675.

A different problem with cutting fast-food workforce

Ed Rensi
Entry-level jobs at fast-food venues have long been the gateway to the work world for many people. Regretably, during years of sketchy employment opportunities such positions became years-long jobs rather than something to let people learn how to get along in the world.

Somehow, that morphed into movements pushing for ever-higher minimum wages even though modernization of equipment, computer-assisted tools and the like made the jobs simpler and less skilled.

Now as the insertion of even more technology into the food industry may make those jobs not only less difficult, it may make those holding the jobs less necessary.

The latest example is a corporate decision by McDonald's to install self-service ordering kiosks at all U.S. locations by 2020 -- barely a year and a half from now. That comes on the heels of such chains as Panera Bread and Chili's doing the same, although it has not eliminated all human staff. Still other restaurants are switching to delivery-only, with food cooking and packaging done largely by automation.

Is it a big deal if many of these entry-level, short-term jobs disappear? They certainly are for the people who don't have or aren't seeking skills that will qualify them for higher-paying jobs.

And, somewhere along the line, lack of such entry-level positions may squelch the budding energy and entrepreneurial spirit of someone who might use the springboard.

Here's just one example, from Ed Rensi, CEO of McDonald's USA, writing on Forbes.com:
"While some consumers may appreciate the novelty or added convenience, the conveniences come at the cost of entry-level jobs. My concern about this is personal. Without my opportunity to start as a grill man, I would have never ended up running one of the largest fast-food chains in the world. I started working at McDonald’s making the minimum wage of 85 cents an hour. I worked hard and earned a promotion to restaurant manager within just one year, then went on to hold almost every position available throughout the company, eventually rising to CEO of McDonald's USA.

"The kind of job that allowed me and many others to rise through the ranks is now being threatened by a rising minimum wage that’s pricing jobs out of the market. Without sacrificing food quality or taste, or abandoning the much-loved value menu, franchise owners must keep labor costs under control. One way to combat rising labor costs is by reducing the amount of employees needed."

Epicurean Humor

A gallery of artwork honoring those who draw conclusions. 

Burlington snack bar becomes a lakeside tiki bar

Entrance to The Beach House tiki bar area. (photo provided)

BURLINGTON, VT -- This college town may lose some of its academic residents during the summer, but it more than makes up for it with tourists and visitors from the New York-Vermont region.

A new attraction here on the shores of Lake Champlain is a tiki-style outdoor bar at the casual snack bar called The Beach House, located in the North Beach area,.

This the latest improvement made by owners Amir Jusufagic and Sani Pasagic. They acquired permission last summer to begin selling beer and wine. This year, they have added cocktails that include a line of signature margaritas. And, rather than continue to rely on fried freezer snacks they are offering panini, fresh salads, and pizzas topped with San Marzano tomatoes and farmers market veggies. In addition, they are using flatbreads baked for them by Pizza Gourmet of Rhode Island.

Jusufagic and Pasagic also co-own Junior's Downtown, which they will convert to a Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza franchise later this month. Beyond their partnerships, Jusufagic owns the Amir's Kebab food cart and Pasaguic the Wicked Mountain Hot Dogs food cart. They have operated The Beach House since 2013.

The Beach House is located at 62 Institute Road, Burlington. Phone: 802-578-9535.

Saratoga County dairy expanding retail store tenfold

The King Brothers with an employee. (photo provided)
SCHUYLERVILLE -- If you're not familiar with the King Brothers Dairy, it might make more of an impression when an ambitious expansion is completed in  the fall. The Saratoga County operation is expanding its retail store -- from 300 to 3,000 square feet!

The space is located in front of the creamery at the Kings Road farm. Just like brewpubs that allow guests to sample the products while watching the brewing process, King Brothers will give visitors the opportunity to view the milk bottling process through a glass window from the retail space.

This is just the latest expansion of the business.It debuted its housemade ice cream this summer, and the new retail space will include an ice cream parlor. King Brothers makes all parts of the ice cream from start to finish, using its own milk and cream to create its chocolate and vanilla ice cream mix.

Jan and Jeff King also own the 118-year-old Kings Ransom Farm, which bottled its own milk until the 1960s, while they were growing up. In 2010, they launched King Brothers Dairy to resume bottling milk, and currently deliver to more than 400 homes.

The dairy is located at 311 King Road. Store hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone: 518-695-6455.

Chain Links

Your connections to the latest news items affecting chains operating in the Greater Capital Region or reported to be looking into locating in the area:

Papa John's founder resigns as chairman after using N-word on conference call

Menu Tracker: New items from Baskin-Robbins, Starbucks, etc.

7 chains feeding America's breakfast boom

IHOP is IHOP again, if it ever really wasn't

P.F. Chang's to explore sale, owner says

Turnover soars to highest levels in decades

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Malcolm's founding chef outside loooking in

SCHENECTADY -- Her menu received rave critical reviews (here's one of them) but her relationship with her boss apparently did not.

Krista Noelle Espinal, founding chef at Malcolm's farm-to-table restaurant since it was in the formative stages in January, is out, as she announced on her Facebook page. Malcolm's opened for business just four months ago.

Espinal's resume includes a year as Ric Orlando's chef de cuisine at New World Bistro Bar in Albany and an appearance on the Food Network's "Chopped" competition series.

Espinal's Facebook note
She told the Times Union this afternoon that Malcolm’s owner Nate Germain "terminated her after they clashed over what she considered a minor issue. She does not have immediate plans."

Malcolm's is located at 617 Union Street. Phone: 518-344-4599.

UPDATE: 110 Grill sets opening date at Crossgates

UPDATE (7/11/18): The 100 Grill chin has just announced an opening date for its new Crossgates Mall venue -- July 26.

(Originally published 6/14/18)

GUILDERLAND --110 Grill, a casual dining chain, will open its under-construction Guilderland venue next month, its first foray into New York State. The site, on the lower level of Crossgates Mall, is scheduled to open in mid-to-later July.

"We will most likely be announcing the official date within the next week," Alicia Puputti, the chain's marketing director, tells me. 110 Grill's website also lists an unspecified Latham venue to be opened later this year. I have a call in to the company for details.

110 Grill, founded in 2014, currently has 14 locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Its menu includes such items as tater tot poutine, specialty flatbreads, New York strip and ribeye steaks, Cajun salmon burgers, smoky-glazed beef, veal, and pork meatloaf, pappapardelle Bolognese, several swordfish dishes, and beef stroganoff. Click here for the full menu.