Nikita Furniture to close Broadway location tomorrow

SARATOGA SPRINGS — After yesterday's post about the new location of the Cupcake Lab at 510 Broadway, I walked past the Algonquin today and noticed the neighboring furniture store is closing tomorrow.

Nikita Indoor Outdoor Convertible Furnishings at 508 Broadway is closing tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 31, according to a sign in the shop window.

The owner confirmed the closure, but was helping a customer and couldn't provide more details at the time.

According to the store's website, Nikita furniture has a second location at 7 Elm Street in Oneonta, but no word as to whether that store will remain open.

We'll hopefully have more details soon - If anyone has any more info about the store closing or who might be coming in as the Cupcake Lab (Elizabeth's) new neighbor, please leave a comment!

For more information call 796-1887.


New location and name for the Cupcake Lab

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Two months after Mike and Liz Phillips closed the Cupcake Lab at its tucked away location upstairs in the Roohan Realty building off Long Alley, the husband and wife team has announced a new location for the business.

According to its website, the Cupcake Lab seems like it will reopen as "Elizabeth's," when it moves into its new home at 510 Broadway, the formerly 80 West Boutique.

The Phillips' latest venture will be much more visible than the Lab with a new Broadway window inside the historic Algonquin Building.

"We have extended the ideas that made The Lab, the Lab... more on that soon," reads the statement on the website.

No opening date has been set, but an update is expected soon.


New businesses coming to Ballston Spa & Saratoga

Hello there,

I’m sure all my readers out there have been too busy with the holidays- you know, figuring out how to avoid the in-laws, waiting in hour-long lines at the Wilton box stores, the usual - to notice I haven't posted in a while.

On the positive side, all that time away from the blog has led to a good list of local business updates, which I will now attempt to consolidate in this one post.

Enjoy and there's more to come soon.

Ballston Spa biz:

Apparently I haven't drive through Ballston Spa in a while because last week a few new or newish businesses caught my eye...
  • A new jeweler is opening soon on Milton Avenue - near the corner of Front Street. The storefront at 53 Milton Ave., which Google Maps still shows as a vacant window with a "For Rent" sign (anyone know how often they update that?), is now boarded up with signs indicating Lagniappe Jewelers will be coming soon. I haven't been able to find out much more, but if anyone knows if Lagniappe is a local name I'd appreciate any more info.
  • Saratogian photographer Erica Miller noticed the Yoga Spa at 53 Front St. (coincidence?). According to its website the Yoga Spa had opened in September and offers a range of yoga classes (hot, regular, kids, seniors) as well as some dance and fitness options. On a personal note (I can't help it when it comes to yoga) turns out Jennilee Toner, one of the best instructors I've had in Saratoga or elsewhere, manages and teaches at the Yoga Spa. Don't know how this one escaped me, but check out one of her classes or contact Jennilee at jennilee@the-yoga-spa.com. You won't regret it.
-   Saratoga Springs updates:
  • There's a new health foods store coming soon to Saratoga's west side. For Earth's Sake, located at 120 West Ave. next to the Fortunate Cup coffee shop, was meant to open in time for the holidays, but construction has pushed the opening back into the new year. I spoke with owner Tina Bakkalapulo earlier this week for Monday's print column so be sure to read more online at www.saratogian.com or in the paper about the new eco-friendly grocery and gift boutique.
  •  This Saturday, Dec. 17, Savon Studios at 64 Woodlawn Ave. will host a cut-a-thon to benefit the American Red Cross. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.and all haircut proceeds go to the Red Cross' Hurricanes and Related Storms Fund 2011. Owner Jane martuscello said she hopes to raise awareness and help the people affected by disasters like Hurricane Irene. Appointments not necessary, but can be made by calling 581-1044. Women's cuts and blow drys are $35 and men's cuts $20. Snacks and refreshments will be served along with some prizes and giveaways.


Ballston Spa business owners organize holiday memorial tree fundraiser for local not-for-profit

BALLSTON SPA — This holiday season, Ballston Spa businesses are working together to help support the Gateway House of Peace, a local hospice organization, by arranging a memorial tree fundraiser downtown.

With each donation of $10 or more, a memorial dove will be placed on the tree, each one representing a piece of the town’s greater support for Gateway House, which is both financial and also helps to build awareness of the local hospice’s mission.

Established in 2006, Gateway House started to take shape earlier this spring when volunteers began renovating the former American Red Cross building in Milton to eventually become a full-time, supportive hospice community.

Through fundraising efforts like “Raise the Roof,” Gateway House was able to exceed its goal of installing a new roof by November as well as re-insulating the building, fixing the exterior and installing new doors.

The next step in the process is another round of fundraising to take place during the winter months, which ideally will cover the remaining costs of renovating the home so Gateway House can open its doors and start serving patients of hospice, their families and loved ones.

Several Ballston Spa business owners including the owners of Whoopies are Good, Decadent Diva Chocolate Shop and Mary’s Beauty Salon have pioneered the organization of the memorial tree for hospice fundraising campaign.

The tree, which was decorated and lit for the Ballston Spa Holiday Parade, which took place on Friday, Dec. 2, is located on the deck outside Decadent Diva at 241 Milton Ave. in the heart of Ballston Spa.

Paul Brisson, co-owner of Whoopies are Good and active volunteer and member of the Gateway House board of directors said the community has been showing outstanding support for the tree and the entire charitable project.

“The tree is here to demonstrate our community’s support for Gateway’s vision, as a 100% volunteer, donor driven, community-owned residence for patients of hospice,” Brisson said in a recent statement.
“It is our goal to have hundreds of doves on this tree and others if necessary.”

Both Sunnyside Gardens and Bob’s Trees helped support the memorial tree project and agreed to donate an additional tree by the end of the season. Memorial doves are available at the Decadent Diva Chocolate Shop, which will be placed on the tree in exchange for a minimum $10 donation made in memory of a family member or loved one. All proceeds of the tree will go toward the final renovations of Gateway House so it can open in 2012.

Doves can also be purchased online at www.whoopiesaregood.com. Donations may be mailed directly to the shop at this address:

Decadent Diva
c/o Hospice Memorial Tree
241 Milton Avenue
Ballston Spa, NY 12020

For more information about the Gateway House of Peace visit www.gatewayhouseofpeace.org.


Jake's Help From Heaven non-for-profit holding special event at Cantina tonight

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Heather and Brian Straughter founded Jake's Help From Heaven, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping families afford special equipment for children with certain medical conditions, early this year.

Tonight, Wednesday, Dec. 7, the eve of the one-year anniversary of their son Jake's passing, the Straughters will be at Cantina throughout the day to thank the community for their continued support.

Heath and Jeff Ames, owners of Cantina, will donate 50 percent of all meal proceeds from lunch and dinner (just mention Jake's Help From Heaven) will go toward the organization.

Jake has a rare genetic disorder that caused his body to give out so that he required costly medical equipment such as special chairs, beds and supports to live his everyday life.

 Almost immediately after his death, Brian and Heather Straughter thought of ways to honor Jake and help parents in similar situations.

“We constantly realized this happens to people — it must devastate them,” she said.

Since its inception, Jake's Help From Heaven has helped a number of families in the Capital District afford items to help improve their child's quality of life.

Join Heather and Brian Straughter tonight at Cantina and enjoy a meal while also supporting a great cause.

For more information visit: www.jakeshelpfromheaven.org.


Restaurant update: Celebrate like a Hollywood star at Sperry's New Year's Eve party

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Here's the latest news from Sperry's Restaurant.
Co-owner Christel MacLean just announced this year's theme for Sperry's New Year's Eve Party  — Hollywood nights — to usher in 2012 like a star.

There are more details in the press release below and additional information coming soon to www.sperrysrestaurant.com.

There will be movie soundtracks, food, cocktails and all the glitz and glamor of Hollywood in downtown Saratoga Springs. Guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite Hollywood star!

Sperry's New Year's Eve 2011

Sperry's is also still offering its Home for the Holidays a la carte catering menu. Guests can order traditional holiday dinners or select items prepared and packaged by chef Dale Miller, which then get delivered right to your doorstep - voila! A nice idea for anyone like me who can't use a stove. 

Happy holidays!


Saratoga business and local synagogue requesting donations to help recognize Schoharie volunteers

 SARATOGA SPRINGS — Local synagogue Temple Sinai and Saratoga Springs-based Omelette King Catering Company are seeking donations to help give back to the dedicated volunteers who continue to help rebuild the town of Schoharie after it was devastated by Hurricane Irene.
The Temple Sinai Social Action Committee is asking for financial donations, vegetarian casserole style dishes and fresh fruit so they, along with the local brunch catering company, may host the event this Sunday, Dec. 11 at 10:30 a.m.

The hurricane hit Schoharie and many other towns in the area almost four months ago, but volunteers continue to support the local community with construction projects such as installing new sheetrocking and wiring.

The community breakfast event will be held at the Heritage Hall Community Center next to the Schoharie Reformed Church at 258 Main St. as a way to say thank you and recognize the local volunteers for their hard work.
Food donations can be brought to Temple Sinai, 509 Broadway, on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10. Checks can be made out to the Temple Sinai Social Action Committee, P.O. Box 1045, 509 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Contact Amy Kantor at 580-0898 or omelette1@verizon.net for further information.

Leon's Mexican Restaurant on Crescent Street may be on the market

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Over the weekend, several Saratoga Springs bloggers reported Leon’s Mexican Restaurant at 135 Crescent Street could potentially to be for sale.

The popular track-season destination only appears to be for sale based on the “confidential” Scott Varley Real Estate listing, which doesn’t specifically state the restaurant is on the market.

The listing does, however, have some details that match the property where Leon’s is located including that the site borders 3 roads (Crescent Street, Ward Street and either Adams or Monroe – they both Leon’s lot).

View Larger Map
Fun in Saratoga blogger Dan De Federicis also mentioned some of the information in the listing such as lot size and square footage also match Leon’s city tax assessment. I followed up on some of the info and based on the city’s evaluation, the land with the restaurant property included has a full market value of $583,800. Ok, that’s one inconsistency — the Scott Varley real estate ad has listed the price for a whopping $1.2 million.

I’m a big fan of Leon’s — generous portions, friendly service and a festive atmosphere — but that seems a bit steep.

Following up further, another thing doesn’t match up and that would be the owner Roberta Leon’s testimony.

On Monday afternoon, Leon said she wanted to put the rumors to rest and assure people the restaurant is not up for sale and they are looking forward to their 11th season in 2012.

While it’s unlikely a business owner would reveal the nature of a “confidential” real estate listing to a reporter, I would say the jury is still out on this one. If anyone has any further information about Leon’s and its future please leave a comment or feel free to email me at slourie@saratogian.com.

For more information call 587-2346 or visit www.leonsmexicanrestaurant.com.


Embrace the Race offers special holiday deals for the horse racing enthusiast in your life

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Just because the horses have already crossed the finish line, doesn’t mean racing enthusiasts can’t get excited this holiday season for Saratoga Race Course’s 2012 meet racing this holiday season.

Embrace the Race, “The Apparel for the Horse Racing Lifestyle,” is offering special racing-themed gifts for the holidays including gift certificates, a track pack gift set and an online “Hint a Gift” tool.

 The online Hint a Gift tool assists shoppers in finding just the right gift for that hard-to-shop-for racing fan, friend or family member. The tool is located on www.embracetherace.com and helps by offering suggestions to friends and family members selected by the user about what he or she would enjoy most, be it an Embrace the Race clothing item, hat or accessory.

If customers choose to give gift certificates, they may be used both online and at their 80 Henry Street Clubhouse Shop.

Another gift item this year is the track packs, which have both men and women options. The mug track pack includes a travel mug as well as an Embrace the Race T-shirt and signature hat ($40). The tote track pack features a tote bag, T-shirt and hat for $55.

Embrace the Race, founded by horse racing enthusiast and horse owner Michael DeAnzeris in 2010, also offers polo shirts, jackets, hats, shirts, accessories and more.

For more information visit www.embracetherace.com. Retail products can also be found at the National Museum of Racing on Union Avenue.