David Britton serving tapas on Caroline Street

Chef David Britton, of the Food Network’s “Dinner Impossible” fame, is partnering with the owners of Johnny Luc’s and Club Shadow at 30 Caroline St. to develop a new food concept at the pub.

Britton is serving up an all-week tapas menu, including lollipop lamb chops, salmon tempura rolls, sliders and other dishes reminiscent of his days at the Springwater Bistro, which closed in May 2009.

A selection of 10 to 15 tapas is served up from 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Monday nights are reserved for a larger array of the sample-sized dishes, priced from $2 to $7.

Also cooking with Britton is Patrick Sheehy, formerly of the Union Grille in the Saratoga Hilton.

The cooking is done in a small kitchen space that adjoins the first-floor pub, where owners Dennis Campochiaro and Johnny Lucarelli ran a burger and pizza takeout joint called The Grille over the summer.

According to manager Dawn Lincoln, the changes don’t stop at the menu. Minor renovations have been done in the second-floor dance club, a cocktail and wine list is under development and new bands are booked for the weekends.

“We’ve been putting time and effort into making the space fun and up-to-date,” Lincoln said. “There’s a lot of cool new faces that are coming in here and creating something that’s fun and unique.”

The restaurant opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed Sundays. For more information, call 858-0477.


Fast fried chicken

Hattie’s Chicken Shack, the second incarnation of the Spa City’s go-to spot for Southern-style fried chicken, is about to open its doors in Wilton.

Jasper and Elizabeth Alexander, owners of Hattie’s Restaurant at 45 Phila St., have had the new, casual-style eatery in the works for months in the plaza off Route 50, between Chipotle restaurant and The Meat House.

The 65- to 75-seat space will “pay homage to the original Hattie’s, but with a fresh, modern approach,” the owners said.

A “fast-casual” approach at the second eatery means food will be cooked to order and minimal table service will be available.

Favorite menu items such as the fried chicken sandwich with Cajun coleslaw and Hattie’s regular fried chicken will be available, as well as a grilled chicken sandwich, rock shrimp po-boys, French fries, sweet potato fries, cranberry coleslaw and cucumber salad.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, and an open house and food sampling will follow from 4 to 8 p.m.

Owners will also hold a book-signing to celebrate the inclusion of Hattie’s secret fried chicken recipe in the new book “Bobby Flay’s Throwdown,” published after the recipe was chosen as a winner on the celebrity chef’s “Throwdown!” show on the Food Network.

Hattie’s Chicken Shack will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

For more information, call 584-4790 or go to www.hattiesrestaurant.com.


Goodbye China Wok; new Thai, Chinese fare on Broadway

China Wok, the hole-in-the-wall eatery on Broadway favored by some patrons for its fast, inexpensive takeout service and lambasted by others who’ve complained of uncleanliness, is no more.

In its place is Char Koon, a Thai and Chinese restaurant that opened Oct. 27.

Longtime China Wok owners Ben and George Li sold the business in August to Johnny Sze, a New York City-based restaurateur who now lives in Ballston Spa with his family.

Sze, 53, who is Char Koon’s executive chef, currently operates a Thai restaurant in Manhattan and has owned others in Syracuse and Buffalo over the last 30 years.

The sleekly revamped restaurant at 388A Broadway calls to mind a New York City nightclub, with low-hanging purple lights, purple ceilings and dark walls and floors. Renovations this fall have provided a modern double-door entranceway and shiny new tables. Seating is, for now, at the same spearmint-colored booths left over from the restaurant’s China Wok days.

Diners are greeted by a neon pink “welcome” sign and waved through the narrow front room and into the back dining room by Larry Zhao, the restaurant’s gregarious host and manager.

Formal, covered menu books offer both Thai and Chinese dishes priced substantially higher than China Wok fare. Favorites like Pad Thai and homemade red Thai tea, iced or hot, are listed among the usual meat, vegetable, rice and noodle options.

Takeout is still available and the restaurant will deliver within a 3-mile radius, but Zhao said the focus of the new owner is on presenting sit-down dining with atmospheric touches that were absent from China Wok, such as music, soft lighting and art. All of these features are intended to enhance the experience of the food, of course.

“These are all new recipes that are fresh and tested out in New York City,” Zhao said. “We want to see how people react.”

For more information, call Char Koon at 581-9000. The restaurant is open until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Sundays; and until 11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.


B'Spa beauty shop opening

Joanna Romanzo is setting up Lipstick N Lashes, her special-occasion hair, makeup and nail services studio, at 76 Front St. in Ballston Spa.

A certified cosmetologist, Romanzo has run her business for years, first out of her home and most recently out of Above and Beyond Hair and Makeup Studio in Saratoga Springs.

The move to Ballston Spa, Romanzo’s hometown, puts her on one of the village’s shop-lined thoroughfares in a larger space, which she is currently in the process of beautifying with her signature, feminine flair.

The low-lit, pink-and-brown-swathed boutique has two chairs each for hair and makeup services, plus two pedicure chairs in a back room. Bridal makeup and hair-styling services account for the majority of Romanzo’s business, but the new location will allow her to offer haircuts, hair coloring, eyelash extensions and body waxing in addition to her nail and makeup services.

Lipstick N Lashes has 10 employees.

Jewelry, handbags and the owner’s handmade hair accessories are also for sale in the shop.

Pre-wedding or day-of services are available at the studio or at the customer’s location. Romanzo travels around the Capital Region and has gone as far as Vermont and Massachusetts armed with brushes and blushes and her team of stylists.

“I like the fact that I make brides laugh on their wedding day because they might be nervous or stressed,” she said. “I just want to make them feel totally special.”

An open house is planned from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2. Wine and cheese, demonstrations of services and giveaways will be available.

For more information, call 316-1819, e-mail lipsticknlashes.info@yahoo.com.