More than just cupcakes

The downtown eatery formerly known as the Cupcake Lab has added “Isabel’s Bistro” to its name after the owners decided recently that the original name didn’t cover everything on the menu.

“We changed it to better explain the concept that we weren’t just a cupcake shop and a coffee shop,” said Elizabeth Phillips, who opened the business with her husband, Michael, in March.

The couple now offers full dinner service four nights a week in addition to casseroles, baked goods, soups, breakfast burritos and sandwiches offered on the lunch and breakfast menu. Cupcakes and coffee are mainstays, of course.

“Four months later, our food has evolved, and there is still nothing over $20 on the menu,” Michael Phillips said.

They’ve recently hired a part-time chef, Frank Daluisio, and now employ seven part-time workers, he added.

Local musicians have been performing in the expansive café, too. Margot Malia Lynch is slated to perform Thursday, and Mikki Bakken is slated for Thursday, Aug. 5.

Isabel’s Bistro and the Cupcake Lab is located in the back of the Roohan Building at 517 Broadway. The entrance is behind the building on Long Alley, off of Walton Street.

For more information and a schedule of live music, call the shop at 583-3144 or look up The Cupcake Lab and Coffee Café on Facebook.

TWC moves office

Time Warner Cable relocated its 174 West Ave. service office to 8 Circular St. earlier this month.

The storefront, located in the Stewart’s plaza at the corner of Circular Street and South Broadway, was most recently the location of a Verizon Wireless outlet.

Time Warner held a grand opening event earlier this month, although the store has been open since July 1, an employee said.

Customers can walk in for cable, Internet and home phone hookups, as well as make bill payments and receive technical support, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday; and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.


Celebrity visit to Siro's?

Word on the street, via one of our ad reps who was chatting it up with a Siro's employee yesterday, has it that "Entourage" stars Kevin Connolly and Kevin Dillon — who are two of the many new investors in Siro's Restaurant — may be in town this weekend to check out the restaurant, the track, etc.
Girl's Eye View Albany was dishing about Connolly today too.

  The main characters of" Entourage," from left to right: Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), Eric "E" Murphy (Kevin Connolly), Vincent "Vince" Chase (Adrian Grenier), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny "Drama" Chase (Kevin Dillon).

Keep an eye out for Connolly and Dillon, and post your comments here if you spot them out and about in Saratoga.


Sperry's Restaurant set to relaunch July 14, sale official

A copy of a press release announcing the re-launch of Sperry's Restaurant on Caroline Street in Saratoga Springs. You may recall that in early June we reported the owners of Circus Cafe on Broadway would be taking over operation of Sperry's with a group of investors that include Mayor Scott Johnson. The sale of the property at 30-30-1/2 Caroline St. is official as of this week. Saratoga County property transactions show Lymann Q LLC and Sperry Brothers of Saratoga LLC sold it to JMO Partners LLC for $750,000.

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Sperry’s Restaurant Opening Party

Sperry’s Restaurant Celebrates New Ownership and Chef Dale Miller

Another reason to be excited about summer is the re-launch of Sperry’s Restaurant. Sperry’s has been a Saratoga Tradition since 1932, known for its ability to attract locals, tourists, horse industry people and celebrities alike with its fine food and convivial atmosphere.

Christel and Colin MacLean, new owners of Sperry’s (and also owners of Circus Café), are committed to bringing back the glory days of Sperry’s. When arriving in Saratoga in the mid 1990’s Christel MacLean recalls that “Sperry’s was the place to be! It was clubby in feel but also inclusive and fun. I got to know Ridge then and became a huge fan of his menu; his signature dishes had you coming back regularly for more.”

In addition to incorporating their hands-on management style, and sprucing up the kitchen, dining rooms and patio, The MacLean’s also felt that excellent food would be the key to bringing Sperry’s back. After thinking about hiring a well-known Chef from New York City, Christel, at 4:00am, had a brainstorm and the name Chef Dale Miller came to mind. The MacLean’s approached Chef Miller and to their surprise Chef Miller was very interested in joining them on this endeavor.

Chef Dale Miller, owner of Dale Miller ‘The Art of Dining’ in Albany, NY, has joined Sperry’s as the Executive Chef. Chef Miller is one of 61 U.S. Certified Master Chefs and one of 300 Global Master Chefs worldwide. Both the MacLean’s and Miller have a passion for restoring historic restaurants to their original luster. Chef Miller revitalized Stone Ends Restaurant in Glenmont and Jack’s Oyster House, in Albany, and the MacLean’s did the same in 1993 with Hattie’s.

The menu focuses on quite a few of Sperry’s classics developed by previous owner Ridge Qua, such as Chicken Liver Pate, Pasta Bolognese, Wasabi Shrimp and Malt Dover Sole. Chef Miller has also added dishes of his own to the menu including Artichoke Fritters, Crispy Calamari, Chef Miller’s Hangar Steak au Poivre, and a Saratoga Summer Lobster Bisque, to name a few.

Sperry’s Restaurant will celebrate its re-launch on Wednesday July 14, 2010 with champagne and hors d’oeuvres from 5:00-7:00pm. Our full Dinner menu will be available 7 days a week starting Thursday July 15th. Lunch will be available beginning in September.

Sperry’s Restaurant is located at 30½ Caroline Street, Saratoga Springs. For reservations and information please call 584-9618.


Eugenio's Cafe Gelato ... back any day now

The owners of Eugenio's Cafe Gelato are almost done taking over the former Subway shop at 458 Broadway, where they relocated over the winter and spring.

I stopped in Friday afternoon when owner Eugene Bizzarro and his mother were taking a break from putting the final touches on the beautifully renovated space. There's no trace of a Subway, or of the short-lived cafe that was there before it, Bocca Viva.

The floor has been made over with red tiles; the low-hanging orange and yellow lamps from the old shop, (remember when it was across Broadway, just past the Wine Bar?) warm up the deep gold paint on the walls. A virtual family tree is displayed in the form of black and white photos hung in gilt frames.

"I put my own personal touch on it, so it feels like home," said Bizzarro, whose own home is on Phila Street in Saratoga Springs, with his wife and young son.

Family matters and the premature birth last week of his twin daughters had set back the reopening date for the shop by at least a month, said Bizzarro.

But Friday, the proud new dad and his mother were waiting for a health inspection to be finalized and said they hoped to open this weekend. 

He plans to try some new ingredients and flavors, and start using organic fruits and sugars for the first time. Look for Eugenio's trademark gelato -- made from scratch on the site -- authentic Italian espresso, homebaked desserts and all the other delights that filled the glass dessert case at the old location.

For more information, call the shop at 691-6000.



Breathing new life into an old favorite

The Garden Bar at Sperry's restaurant (30-1/2 Caroline St.), which is now under new ownership, will open tonight at 5 to kick off the holiday weekend.

The bar will be open Fridays through Sundays from 5 p.m., and a grand opening party is planned for 5  to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 14. Look for complimentary hors d'oeuvres, champagne and a Sperry's signature cocktail. 
Dinner service will begin that evening at 7 p.m., after the opening party; by reservation. The menu will feature signature dishes from former owner Ridge Qua's tenure — house pate, Sperry's crab cakes, wasabi shrimp, malt Dover sole, Sperry's jambalaya, pasta bolognese — and new items created by new executive chef, Dale Miller, a certified master chef.
Sperry’s opened in the 1930s and has been a family-owned business for about 25 years. 
Colin and Christel MacLean, who own the Circus Cafe, have taken over the business as part of a group of investors that includes Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson.


UPDATED 7/1: Hoofing it to the second floor

This story has been edited to remove inaccurate information that was originally published in the second paragraph. This was brought to my attention by the reader's comment posted below.

Saratoga Saddlery is getting an upgrade as owners take over the second-floor space at 460 Broadway.

Owners Sabine and Mick Rodgers say they’ll add 2,300 square feet of space for offices and expand their product lines upstairs, where the gallery called Sundari Fine Art had been located. Equine paintings once covered the walls in the space when painter Boguslaw Lustyk put up a temporary show last summer.

Now the couple is remodeling the space and expects to have it open in about two weeks. They’re also looking to hire additional employees.

“We’re extending the store to the second floor to do a little bit of equestrian lifestyle home furnishing, and we’re adding more denim lines and more apparel,” Sabine Rodgers said.

She said the space is also ideal for hosting parties and holding fundraiser events.

The couple is negotiating to buy the building from landlord Mark Straus, whose five historic downtown structures went on the market last year.

Saratoga Saddlery has been open for 4-1/2 years, selling riding apparel and equine-related gifts. The business has seen a steady increase almost every one of those years, Rodgers said.

They opened a sister store, also called Saratoga Saddlery, in Delmar, Calif., last May.

“We’re lucky enough to be in an economy bubble with Saratoga Saddlery,” Rodgers said. “When you have choices of where you’re going to spend your money, customers will choose where they go to get great customer service. They come to us not just to buy a shirt, but to get the whole experience.”

For more information, call 580-4522.