Saratoga Capriccio to open on Henry Street today

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Capriccio Saratoga, the new branch of Albany Italian eatery Café Capriccio, will open its doors to the public at 5:30 this evening.

Owner Jim Rua founded Café Capriccio, a fine-dining restaurant that offers authentic regional Italian cuisine, in downtown Albany 30 years ago and recently expanded the business to include Capriccio Saratoga, a traditional Neapolitan bistro in Saratoga Springs.

Last year, Rua teamed up with his son, Franco Rua, who has been the chef at Café Capriccio, to help oversee Capriccio Saratoga’s kitchen. Also, longtime family friend Henry Ciccone will become the new branch’s general manager. The three will serve as proprietors and co-owners of Capriccio Saratoga.

“We had been thinking of coming to Saratoga for a while,” Franco said. “We were looking at the old Marino’s Pizza on Beekman Street, but the lease fell through.”

Local restaurateurs and real estate brokers Christel and Colin MacLean heard that the Ruas were hoping to open a restaurant in Saratoga and suggested they look into the 26 Henry St. location, which was home to Dine restaurant at the time.

The three men entered into negotiations with Dine back in February and made a deal to purchase the space and reopen it as Capriccio Saratoga, an eatery with an innovative take on authentic regional Italian cuisine.

“We’re doing a specific take on the classic menu we offer in Albany by focusing on the Neapolitan region of Italy,” Franco said. “The city of Naples is where the tomato first became widely used and where pizza and tomato sauce originated from, so we want to keep that focus.”

According to Franco, the restaurant will focus on offering genuine Neapolitan wood-fired pizza baked fresh in an oven straight from Italy.

“Naples is the land of beautiful sunshine and fresh vegetables prepared in a simple but classic way, and we hope to reflect that in what we’re doing here,” Franco said. “We have real pizza as you would get in Naples, but we’re not just a pizza place.”

In addition to its 11 styles of Neapolitan pizza, Capriccio Saratoga’s menu will also feature an array of fresh antipasti platters made with fine Italian meats and cheeses, as well as a variety of salads, vegetables, pasta dishes, meats and more.

Starting Thursday, Capriccio Saratoga will be open for regular business hours, which run from 11:30 a.m. until its late-night closing time. The kitchen will stop serving its full menu at 11 p.m., but Franco mentioned that pizza will be available for customers later into the evening.

“I’m very excited,” Franco said of the restaurant’s opening. “It’s a cool concept and it’s unlike what we’ve done in the past. It will be different in a lot of ways and hopefully successful.”

Franco’s father is equally excited about his family’s latest venture.

“We love the cuisine of Naples, the people of Naples and the city of Naples,” Jim said. “We’re going to bring a little bit of Napoli right here to Saratoga Springs.”


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