9.15.2010

Augie's celebrating six years in B'Spa, 20 years in biz

A Ballston Spa institution, Augie’s Family Style Italian Restaurant and Bar, is celebrating a milestone this month.

Owner Augie Vitiello opened the original restaurant in the New York City suburb of Larchmont 20 years ago and is marking six years of business in Ballston Spa.

While he’s since sold the original restaurant he opened Sept. 10, 1990, Vitiello maintains close contact with the new owner, who began working for Vitiello as a dishwasher when he was 14.

“It’s something to be proud of,” Vitiello said of the 20th anniversary of the Augie’s name. “A lot has changed in 20 years. … If you would have told me 20 years ago that I’d be living in upstate New York with four children and away from the Bronx where I was born and raised, I would have said, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’ ”

Now, however, that’s his happy reality.

Vitiello, 44, runs the restaurant at 183 Church Ave. with a staff of about nine people, while his wife, Lisa, stays home with their four children, ages 2 to 9. They made the move to the area in 2003, looking for a slower pace in life.

“We fell in love with the area and bought land here. It’s better up here than I ever would have expected — people are very appreciative and we couldn’t have done it without our customers,” he said. “With so many choices in the city, people don’t have the whereabouts to stop and say ‘thank you,’ but here, people would thank me all the time for opening up in Ballston Spa.”

Aside from regular renovations and a possible slight expansion, major changes aren’t in Augie’s future, Vitiello said.

“I like the idea that the restaurant is cozy and small and when people walk in they feel a buzz,” he said. “You can smell the garlic cooking in the kitchen, and you don’t have that in a cavernous space. We want to keep it that way.”

For more information, go to www.augiesrestaurant.com or call 884-8600.

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