Man o' War restaurant to offer lunch specials and entertainment at Fasig-Tipton this August

SARATOGA SPRINGS Beginning Friday, August 5, the Man o' War restaurant will open a temporary branch at the Fasig-Tipton Sale Pavillion located on the corner of East and Madison Avenues in Saratoga Springs.
Named after the legendary racehorse who lost only one race in his career in 1919 at Saratoga Race Course, the Man o' War restaurant will offer an la carte lunch menu, extended dining on sales nights during the Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling Sales week and post-racing refreshments and live entertainment on select dates.

Located less than half a mile from the track, Fasig-Tipton attracts racing enthusiasts every season for its variety of art exhibits and for its annual thoroughbred sales week in the Humphrey S. Finney Pavillion.

Mazzone Hospitality Owner Angelo Mazzone announced the plans for the Man o' War restaurant today stating, “Saratoga is the summer place to be and we’re honored to contribute to the experience with great food, atmosphere and live entertainment at historic Fasig-Tipton.” 
Specific dates for dining specials and entertainment at Man o' War are as follows:
  • Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Friday, August 5 to Saturday, August 14.
  • Lunch from 11 a.m., until after the sales at Fasig-Tipton on August 8-9 (Saratoga Select Yearlings) and August 13-14 (New York Bred Yearlings). 
  • Light fare, drinks and entertainment after racing on August 19-20 (TVG Alabama Stakes) and August 26-27 (Travers Stakes).
For more information about Fasig-Tipton and the Man o' War restaurant or to make reservations call 518-583-0091.

0729-0730 Weekend Insider Roundup

Want to make the best of your track season weekends? Reporter Suzanna Lourie has the scoop on some of the area's top weekend highlights including everything from a pint-sized wrestling match to a night of 70s-themed disco fever.


Watch the races then continue the festivities at the track
  • Party at the Spa. The first of this season’s two “Party at the Spa” events this summer is this Friday at the Saratoga Race Course. Presented by Coors Light, the event kicks off with a first post of 2:30 p.m. with the last race starting before dusk. But, as Saratoga racing fans know, the party never stops after the day’s final race. Head over to the Paddock Bar for live music featuring the band Rockjunky and start your weekend off right at the track. A great choice for those college students celebrating Friday’s college day at the track. Saratoga Race Course. 267 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 29. 2:30 p.m. (718-641-4700 www.saratogaracecourse.com). $3 Grandstand admission, $5 Clubhouse.
Check out a pint-sized face-off at Northern Lights
  • Champion Midget Wrestling. Feeling like trying something new this weekend? Get down to Northern Lights to watch live Capital District champion midget wrestling on Friday! Wow. Enough said. This has got to be the top pick of the weekend – when else are you going to have the chance to watch this quirky, bizarre sporting event so close to home? Maybe there is mud involved… Northern Lights. 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park. Friday, July 29. 7 p.m. (371-0012 www.northernlightslive.com). $15 Advance, $20 Day of, $25 VIP.
 Join the National Museum of Dance for drinks, disco dancing and dozens of prizes
  • Disco Fever. Another fantastic Friday event this week is the National Museum of Dance’s fundraiser “Disco Fever.” The museum’s recent New Action Committee teamed up with the Metro to present this 70s-inspired evening. Ticket prices include access to an open bar (wine, beer and St. Germain cocktails), live DJ entertainment by Crush 105.7, dancing and appetizers. There will also be a disco dance contest with prizes awarded to the male and female who show off their best “Saturday Night Fever” moves. Dance contest prizes have been donated by D’Andrea’s Liquor and Mary Martin & Co. For those who want to keep on dancing downtown, the Albany Aqua Ducks will be providing free trolley rides to the Metro downtown. Put on your dancing shoes and best funk attire to dance the night away and help the National Museum of Dance continue presenting some of the region’s finest dance-related exhibitions and events. National Museum of Dance. 99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 29. 8 p.m. until midnight. (584-2225 www.dancemuseum.org). $55 Advance, $65 At the door.
Calling all teens and young adults – Introduce yourself to the orchestra at SPAC this Friday.
  • Philadelphia Orchestra: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Ever been curious about the world-class Philadelphia Orchestra that comes to SPAC every summer, but felt too clueless to enjoy it? This Friday, Skidmore College teams up with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center to present a basic overview of the Philadelphia Orchestra. A perfect chance for anyone from their teens to their 30s who wants to get their footing in classical chamber music knowledge. The event is narrated by David Hyde Pierce and consists of three of the best-known compositions by Britten, Stravinsky and Beethoven. Saratoga Performing Arts Center. 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 29. 8 p.m. (584-9330 www.spac.org). Tickets start at $20.

Pig-out with burgers and beer at the Taste of Country National BBQ Championship.
  • Taste of Country National BBQ Championship. Over 20 BBQ pit masters will gather to compete for the title of the National BBQ champion at Saratoga Casino and Raceway for this Saturday’s Taste of County National BBQ Championship. Guests will be able to sample some of the United States’ best barbecue at this fun outdoors event, which include the necessary beer garden and features live music by James Wesley, Phil Vassar and other local artists to be announced. A special bonus for guests who show their ticket stub at the Player’s Extra Club in the casino will receive $20 worth of free slot play. Saratoga Casino and Raceway. 342 Jefferson Street, Saratoga Springs. Saturday, July 30. 11 a.m.— 10 p.m. (584-2110 www.saratogacasino.com) $15 Advance, $20 At the door.
Celebrate Dave with Big Eyed Phish at the Paddock Lounge
  •  Live at Paddock: Big Eyed Phish. Missing Dave Matthews’ presence at SPAC this year? You’re not the only one. Dave fans can check out the region’s top Dave Matthews Tribute Band, Big Eyed Fish, at the Paddock Lounge this Saturday. The event kicks off with a p.m. “social hour” that runs until 8 (a social 3 hours) and features 2 for 1 drink specials. The band starts their set at 9 p.m. The Paddock Lounge. 6 Caroline Street, Saratoga Springs. 9 p.m.—1 a.m.  (www.paddockloungesaratoga.com, www.bigeyedphish.com). FREE.
Check out Kentucky’s own Sleeper Agent live at the Den
  • Sleeper Agent at Putnam Den. Sleeper Agent is a fast-paced garage pop six-piece group hailing all the way from Bowling Green, Kentucky. The band’s sound is rooted in southern rock and soul music and features duo male/female vocal stylings. Sleeper Agent has an upcoming debut album, “Celebrasian,” due out in September and produced through Mom & Pop Records. After gaining acclaim across the Midwest (their sound has been compared to the White Stripes) this sounds like another night of top-notch alt-rock presented by WEQX 102.7 at the Den – other guests for the evening include: Viva Brother, 1,2,3, and Kitty. Putnam Den. 63A Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs. Saturday, July 30. 7—10 p.m. (584-8066 www.putnamden.com). Call for ticket price.

Bring the family to celebrate National Dance Day – try your hand at exotic dance styles from belly-dancing to conga moves.
  • National Dance Day. The National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs joins the nation in celebrating National Dance Day. Brought  to you by the creators of the hit TV show “So You Think You Can Dance,” the National Dance Day event features an interactive program where Usher wannabes can test out their skills in different dance styles including hip-hop, swing, belly-dance, aerobic dance, and choreographed dance. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Dizzy Feet Foundation, a national organization dedicated to supporting and increasing awareness of dance education in the U.S. National Museum of Dance. 99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs. Sunday, July 31. 1—4 p.m. (584-2225 www.dancemuseum.org). $6 Adult, $4.50 Student/Senior. FREE Under 12.
Take a trackside Sunday stroll at Saratoga Race Course
  • Summer Stroll: Trackside: Racing in Saratoga. Of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation’s 13 walking tours of the city, the trackside tour is perfect for both local racing fans and out-of-towners alike. The tour takes guests on a walk by the exteriors of the Reading Room, the National Museum of Racing and then into the Saratoga Race Course. Inside the track, visitors will have the exclusive chance to learn all about the history of racing in Saratoga Springs from guide Georgia Horner while visiting the Oklahoma Track, the Fasig-Tipton horse sales pavilion and stables. The tour runs rain or shine, reservations encouraged, but not necessary. Get behind the scenes of the Saratoga Race Track, the only place to be this summer. SE Corner of Nelson Avenue and Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Sunday, July 31. 10:30 a.m.—12 p.m. (587-5030 www.saratogapreservation.org). $5 Members, $8 Non-members.


Saratoga Hybrid Cab offers customers a sustainable option in transport

SARATOGA SPRINGS — When 3 a.m. hits and it comes time to call a cab to bring you home from Caroline Street, most people aren’t thinking about reducing their carbon footprint. But the only reason people didn’t think about choosing a sustainable cab company was because before now it wasn’t an option.

All of that changed on Friday, July 22, when Byron Norsworthy switched from another cab company to open his new independent business, the Saratoga Hybrid Cab company.

“What inspired me to do it was I had driven for another company since February, 2010, and I got tired of paying so much for gas,” Norsworthy said of his motivation to open a hybrid cab company. “I’ve always been a fan of sustainability, since my college days.”

Norsworthy operates his single-car company from a 2008 Toyota Prius and said once he gets enough business he would like to hire a second car and second driver.

“It’s kind of an experiment, but so far I’ve had a lot of positive feedback and a lot of people saying it’s a great idea and it was about time someone did this here,” Norsworthy said of his first week in business.

Norsworthy is on top of a nationwide trend — green cab companies have been sprouting up across the country. In cities like New York and San Francisco, taxi businesses are working to slowly convert their fleets to hybrid and sustainable vehicles.

Here in Saratoga Springs, Norsworthy hopes to promote his business through word of mouth especially with local organizations that emphasize eco-friendly.

“I know some people involved in sustainable movements in Saratoga and they’re helping to get the word out — I’m also hoping to establish connections at Skidmore (College),” Norsworthy said of his promotion strategy.

Saratoga Hybrid Cab’s rates are essentially the same as other local taxi cab businesses, but Norsworthy mentioned rates could be lower for longer trips out of town given the increased gas mileage.

Norsworthy, 27, originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, moved to Saratoga Springs two years ago with his wife, Rachel, who grew up in the area. After getting involved in environmental studies in college, Norsworthy continued to educate himself about sustainability and is a green enthusiast who practices what he preaches. Before moving to Saratoga, Norsworthy and his wife traveled around working on organic farms in places such as central New York and New Hampshire.

“I was just really impressed and realized the seriousness about some of the problems we have about air and water quality and running out of resources and the possibility of a really ugly world if we keep going the way we’re going,” Norsworthy said about his passion for sustainability.

After working as a full-time cab driver for nearly two years at another Saratoga cab business, Norsworthy realized it was time to follow his instinct and work toward making Saratoga Springs a slightly greener environment.

“It felt like a waste to be driving a big car for just one or two passengers when I could get three times the gas mileage with a different car,” Norsworthy said. “It seemed like a no-brainer.”

Next Saturday morning when you’re looking for a ride home, consider treading lightly on the environment by calling Saratoga Hybrid Cab.

Saratoga Hybrid Cab
Byron Norsworthy/Owner-Operator
Phone: (518) 698-4122
E-mail: info@saratogahybridcab.com
Website: www.saratogahybridcab.com and click here to find SHC on Facebook.


Gotbeer.com gives fans the chance to name a race at the Saratoga Race Course this summer

SARATOGA SPRINGS — I recently wrote a story about the latest digital extension of DeCrescente Distributing Co., gotbeer.com, a website devoted entirely to breweries, beers and bartenders in the Capital District.

Carmine DeCrescente III originally founded the website with his brother, Matt, back in 2003. But, as technology evolved the DeCrescente brothers saw a window of growth for the website. The site temporarily shut down in February and was unveiled last month, along with the new GotBeer mobile application at a DeCrescente Distributing Co. launch party June 9 hosted by Jillian’s in Albany.

The newly refurbished website design includes social media capabilities such as a live Twitter feed, Facebook connection and a community photo gallery featuring snapshots of fans from local events, bars and concerts.

With the 143rd annual meet underway at Saratoga Race Course, gotbeer.com is narrowing its focus to Saratoga Springs, the only place in the Capital District to be during the next six weeks of the 2011 racing season.

For the remainder of July and throughout early August, gotbeer.com will be running its “Name-Your-Own-Stakes,” competition. The winner

“We decided the site had a lot of room for opportunity, so we blew it up,” Carmine said. “We custom made it according to what we thought people would like and completely redesigned it to make it more up-to-date and more of a beer destination.”

Throughout July and early August, gotbeer.com will be running its "Name-Your-Own-Race Stakes," competition where applicants can submit their best idea for a race name, and if crowned, the winner will have a race during the summer’s meet named to their liking.

The winning race name will post later in the month on Monday, August 22 courtesy of NYRA, the mastermind behind the winning name will be granted access to the Winner’s Circle at the track for a photo-op with the race’s winning horse.

The champ and three guests will also gain access to The Curlin’ Café, where they will receive free food and drinks for the entire day.

For more on how to play visit www.gotbeer.com. The top five entries will be unveiled on August 4, so put on your creative thinking cap and submit your best race name soon Saratoga racing fans! The grand winner will be announced on August 11.



Opening Weekend Insider Roundup

Happy opening day!

Well folks it’s finally here: The 2011 racing season at the Saratoga Race Course. Your weekend starts Friday, opening day of the track and all weekend long local businesses are overflowing with racing-themed events and promotions. Researching what’s on for the weekend of July 22 was slightly overwhelming, but I’ve narrowed it down to what (in my humble opinion) seem like the most exciting and give you the best bang for your buck.

Of course, the place to be this weekend is 267 Union Avenue at the track, but in between racing there are plenty of other unique and fun events happening after hours in the area.

This weekend we’ve got everything to a barely-there fashion show to all of the events going on through the Hats Off to Saratoga festival. Enjoy and please, remember to drink water to stay safe and avoid that opening weekend hangover especially in this crazy heat wave we’ve been having here in Saratoga. And they’re off!


Join the crowd and drag your cooler down to the track on opening day (or any other day)
  •  Saratoga Race Course Opening Day. Join the thousands of racing fans that will come to the track this Friday to celebrate the official start of the 2011 racing season. The excitement is building and this Friday patrons will be smiling and ready to celebrate opening weekend. Fans will finally be able to get a first look at many of the changes that NYRA instituted this year at the SRC. Join the fun at the only place to be this Friday. Saratoga Race Course, 267 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. All weekend. Gates open at 11 a.m. Post time at 1 p.m. (584-7064 www.saratogaracecourse.com). $3 Grandstand Admission. Children under 12 FREE. 
Start your opening day after-party at The Post
  • Smokin’ Summer Series featuring MIRK. Too tired from the heat and a day’s worth of drinking at the track? You don’t have to go all the way to Caroline to continue the festivities. Capital Region funk and soul band MIRK is kicking off the 2011 race season with live music at The Post (between the paddock and gate C). Refuel and grab dinner at Blue Smoke or the Shake Shake, both located right by The Post, while you’re at it. Dance the night away and ring in racing season right! Saratoga Race Course, 267 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Friday. 5 p.m. (584-7064 www.saratogaracecourse.com). $3 Grandstand Admission. Children under 12 FREE.
Unwind with wine and live music after the races at Saratoga Winery.
  • Track Season Kickoff Event. Saratoga Winery is celebrating the start of this year’s thoroughbred racing season with live music, food and hand-crafted wines. Check out the rock-n-roll stylings of Skyler’s Dream Team and feast on wood-fired pizza while you lounge back in an Adirondack-style chair this opening night. Apparently “wine smoothies” will be available – I’m intrigued! The Saratoga Winery & Tasting Room. 462 Route 29 West, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 22. 6-9 p.m. (584-9463 www.thesaratogawinery.com). FREE cover.
Sip cocktails and check out a barely there fashion show at Duo.
  • Cocktails & Corsets. Fiat Feminae lingerie boutique owner Lisa Alden is hosting a special sneak preview party at Duo this Friday. The store at 489 Broadway will be open for regular business hours to preview Fiat Feminae’s exclusive European lingerie collections. Later on, the seduction continues at Duo Lounge for another sneak peak event (Fiat Feminae opens for regular business on August 5). After a one-hour cocktail party, guests can enjoy live DJ entertainment and a fashion show featuring models wearing Fiat Feminae’s luxurious collections. Sounds like a scandalously good time. Duo Lounge, 175 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 22. 9 p.m. (728-8133). FREE cover. 
Grab your girls for Fillies night at the Paddock
  • Friday Night Ladies Night. Friday is officially ladies night at the Paddock Lounge on Caroline. The night feature Hypnotiq Harmonie drink specials, live entertainment with Crush 105.7 and Sanctuary Spa giveaways. The Paddock Lounge, 6 Caroline Street, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 22. 5 p.m. until close. (330-2426 www.paddockloungesaratoga.com). FREE cover.
Tip your hat to Saratoga
  • Hats Off Festival. Salute Saratoga with an opening weekend tradition at the Hats Off Music Festival and the general Hats Off Festival. The events are bountiful this season and it all begins with the HO Music Fest. Some highlights: Soul Session at Ellsworth Jones Place near the City Center, rock/pop 60’s-inspired band Joe’s Boys at the Collamer Parking Lot and crowd favorite Rich Ortiz at the Adirondack Trust Co. Drive-Through. For times and more details visit the website below. In addition to music the HO will feature their annual Saratoga Hat Contest at the track to wrap up the festival on Sunday. Prizes go to 3 categories: Uniquely Saratoga, Fashionably Saratoga and Kreative Kids. Around Broadway/Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 22 until Sunday, July 24. (584-3255 http://www.saratoga.org/visitors/hats-off-music-festival.asp). FREE.

Enjoy a cool concert with Reel Big Fish in Clifton Park
  • Streetlight Manifesto & Reel Big Fish. Get down to Northern Lights in Clifton Park this Saturday for what is bound to be an unbelievable night of world class alt-rock and folk beats. Great bands, great music, great venue. Enough said. Northern Lights, 1208 Route 146, Clifton Park. Saturday, July 23. 7 p.m. (371-0012 www.northerlightlive.com). $20 advance, $23 day of.
Attend a gala for a good cause
  • Light Up the Night Gala. The Saratoga National Golf Club presents its annual benefit to support the department of medicine at Albany Medical Center. Tickets include gourmet cuisine, champagne and specialty drinks. There will also be live music by the New York Players and a grand fireworks display to light  up the night in Saratoga. Saratoga National Golf Club, 458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Saturday, July 23. 7:30 p.m. (262-8892 www.amc.edu/foundation/event/light_up_night.html). $150 per person.

Unleash your inner flower child at a Yaddo Garden tour
  • Yaddo Garden Tour. Check out Saratoga’s most luscious gardens at Yaddo with a complete one-hour tour. You’ll learn the history of the Trask family an the Yaddo Artists Retreat. A fun, interesting way to learn more about Saratoga’s best kept secret. Yaddo Gardens, Union Avenue, Route 9P, Saratoga Springs. Sunday, July 24. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. (584-0746 www.yaddo.org/yaddo/YGhome.asp). $5 per person. 
Check out the final season of the Festival of Baroque Music in Saratoga before it's gone
  • 52nd Annual and Final Season: Festival of Baroque Music. The Baroque Festival is the country's longest running early music festival and will conclude its 52 years in Saratoga this weekend. This Sunday, get down to The Studio in Greenfield Center to enjoy works by classical artists like Bach, Scarlatti and Vivaldi. There will also be a champagne toast and hall dedication with the festival founder. The special guest this year is harpsichordist Kenneth Slowik of the Smithsonian Institute. The Studio, 165 Wilton Road, Greenfield Center. Sunday, July 24. 4-7 p.m. (893-6062). $24 adult/$14 senior/$10 student/FREE 12 and under.


More changes at Saratoga Race Course; Dunkin' Donuts to host grand opening event

More changes create extra "elbow room" for track goers.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Director of Hospitality and Group Sales for the New York Racing Association Stephen Travers led a media tour Wednesday morning to highlight some of the design and food and beverage changes at the Saratoga Race Course this season.

Travers and NYRA emphasized the reduced price of beer, which has been cut up to 33 percent, and also of other track staples like popcorn and lemonade.

In response to the Saratogian’s article published on Tuesday that highlighted many of the changes in the food and beverage offerings at the track, Travers pointed out that Jack O’Brien who ran the 22 lemonade carts last year, is not local and is based out of Miami. The kids, however, who staffed the stands were indeed local students.

“We eliminated them so that people have more room and can enjoy their space without feeling forced to buy something with a cart every 10 feet,” Travers said about NYRA’s motive to remove the lemonade stands. “Our five lemonade stands will also staff local employees.”

In addition, several other changes have been made this year to lower prices and create more open space for track patrons.

The Jim Dandy bar was renovated so that the room can now hold nearly 200 people and many waitress stations on the Clubhouse porch were relocated to create more “elbow” room for diners.

The Travers bar was also removed to help ease congestion. Travers said that the menu at Blue Smoke wasn’t “customer friendly” last year and the restaurant will expand its menu to offer customers more variety this year with a variety of boxed fries, or frites. Blue Smoke also added a newly renovated bar on its second level.

Low beer prices created a buzz in the community, but Travers said he does not think lower prices will lead to excessive drinking.

“People do not over drink because it’s cheaper,” Travers said. “They’ll drink what they drink and be delighted it’s cheaper.”

When media representatives asked Travers why NYRA chose to make these new renovations and dining changes Travers only said, “Because it was the right thing to do.”

Dunkin' Donuts to hold ceremonial "first brew" featuring high-profile execs.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The new Dunkin’ Donuts stand at the Saratoga Race Course will celebrate its official grand opening with a ceremonial “first brew” on opening day morning at 11:30.

Feelings in the community about the new Dunkin’ and other food and beverage changes have been mixed. In a story I wrote on Tuesday about NYRA’s decision to remove certain local businesses to enact lower prices, some welcomed the new cheap price of beer and others felt wary about NYRA going in a more “corporate” direction.

For those track goers who haven’t yet had their daily dose of java, perhaps an iced coffee at Dunkin’s “first brew” event will ease some of the nostalgia for the old Carvel soft-serve stand, which formerly occupied DD’s booth near the bandstand.

Jerry Burke, the Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee for the Capital Region, will be running the stand at the “first brew” event celebrating the first time track fans can purchase coffee and breakfast menu items at the Saratoga Race Course. NYRA’s Director of Hospitality and Group Sales Stephen Travers said in the past, visitors could only get coffee at the track if they paid $14.95 for the 7 a.m. “breakfast at the track” package.

In an Ed Lewi press release sent out on Thursday, Mark Bardack announced that Dunkin’ Donuts will also be offering Saratoga-themed DD rechargeable gift cards. On Mondays, cardholders can present their card at the gate and receive $2 off grandstand admission.

Dunkin’ will also offer the in-store “40 Days at Saratoga” sweepstakes where customers have the chance to win one of 40 VIP Clubhouse packages for a day at the track.

NYRA President Charlie Hayward and Dunkin’ Donuts’ Upstate New York Field Marketing Manager Eric Stensland will also attend the “first brew” event tomorrow at 11:30.

The Dunkin’ Donuts booth will open daily at 7 a.m. and will close after the day’s final post.

Verizon Wireless launches its 4G data network around Saratoga Springs just in time for racing season.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — This morning, Verzion Wireless announced it has activated its high-speed 4G LTE data network on 13 cell sites in and around Saratoga Springs.

The decision to give customers in the Capital Region the chance to sample Verizon’s 4G LTE mobile network is a part of a company initiative to eventually roll out its new advanced network across the nation.

As of today, Saratoga Springs Verizon customers will be the first in the Capital Region able to experience the company’s new 4G LTE data network, which operates up to 10 times faster than Verizon’s 3G network.

The activation of the new network in and around Saratoga was timed to roll out just in time for the influx of people coming to the area for both the 2011 racing season at Saratoga Race Course and concert goers gathering for Live Nation’s concert series at SPAC.

Russ Preite, president of Verizon Wireless’ upstate New York region, said that he was excited to lead the Capital Region into the 4G LTE wireless broadband world.

Preite said the ultra-fast download capacities and advanced network technology are, “Helping residents, businesses, media and local government connect faster and more fully with each other and with those outside the area.”

Verizon Wireless introduced its 4G network to the New York City and Rochester markets in December and is planning to bring full 4G capacity to the Capital Region, Syracuse and Ithaca areas in the near-future. The move is part of the company’s long-term plan to deliver 4G LTE to all of its 3G customers across the nation by the end of 2013.

For more information about Verizon’s 4G LTE data network visit www.verizonwireless.com/lte.


Green salon to make an appearance at the Saratoga Race Course for opening weekend

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Albany-based salon Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness will set up a branch at the Saratoga Race Course over opening weekend from Friday, July 22 until Sunday, July 24.
The Complexions tent is located just outside the clubhouse near the entrance to the paddock. This weekend the spa will be offering a variety of salon and spa services for fans who want to unwind during a long day at the track.

Complexions Spa is renowned for being the state's first and only gold-level LEED certified new construction spa, a certification that guarantees green and energy-efficient services. The spa specializes in organic treatments and also works with plastic surgeons in the area to help develop individually-tailored skin-care and post-operation treatment programs for customers. 

Complexions Spa Owner Denise Dubois said she is excited to offer her services this weekend in Saratoga for both men and women who might not have the chance to visit their permanent location in Colonie.
The Complexions tent will offer traditional hot shaves and neck trims for the men, chair massages, make-up touch ups, eyelash strip applications, nail polish changes and hair styling. In addition, guests will be able to browse racing-themed fashion accessories and jewelry for purchase while they enjoy their spa service.
Dubois announced that Complexions will also hold a drawing on opening weekend with the grand prize being a day of full-service pampering at the spa valued at over $300.

Another perk is that each visitor who comes to the tent will receive a $10 gift card for use at Complexions Spa located on Wolf Road in Colonie.


Track changes: Worth it? Let me know.

Hello everyone,

I wanted to quickly post a reaction in regards to today's previous post that featured the full article about changes in the food and beverage businesses at the Saratoga Race Course for the upcoming 2011 racing season.

They had me at $3 12 ounce Coors drafts. I'm sure there will be a lot of thirsty trackgoers who will rejoice in this news. In previous years, the cheapest domestic beer available was a 20 oz. draft for $6.75. This could mean that fans won't go through the effort of lugging a full cooler of beer into the track simply to save a few bucks.

But, on the other side, it's sad to see many of the local vendors go at the track. Granted, Carvel wasn't exactly local, but what about soft serve? Maybe Ben and Jerry's should look into that. I know I like my twist cone with rainbow sprinkles at the track just as much as the next racing fan. But the lemonade kids and P&H Popcorn, well they've been there forever, and although we have lower prices on all the same items, is it worth it?

I don't know the answer, but I'm curious as to what you out there in the Saratoga community think.

Please let me know any and all comments, feedback, response - Are cheap beers worth nixing our local staples at the track? Let me know what you think here or on Twitter @suzannaklourie or email at slourie@saratogian.com - I'd be happy to interview anyone who wants to chat about the food & bev. changes at the track this year.

I'll also be at the track's media tour of all the food/beverage and style changes tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. so if there are any questions you'd like me to ask let me know!



Big changes for Saratoga Race Track's food and beverage businesses this year.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — This racing season, fans at the Saratoga Race Course will notice two big changes in the track’s food and beverage offerings: the absence of many local vendors and new low price points.

The New York Racing Association has been working with its dining subcontractor Centerplate, a hospitality business that oversees the food at professional sports stadiums and entertainment venues across the nation, to reinvent the food layout at the track in order to follow a new strategy and cut costs.

“For a great many years, it seems people haven’t been paying attention to the customer base at Saratoga,” said Centerplate General Manager Drew Revella. “They’ve been asking for increased variety and lower price points — we have a new management team and that’s what we’re doing to meet those needs.”

One of the ways that NYRA and Centerplate have responded to these needs is an overhaul of the vendor line up at the track. Many familiar businesses like P&H popcorn and Jack O’Brien’s 27 lemonade stands staffed primarily by local students won’t be returning trackside for the 2011 season.

What the cuts do allow, however, is the implementation of new lower price points on staple items like beer, lemonade and popcorn.

Mark Bardack, whose Ed Lewi firm handles public relations for Saratoga Race Course, revealed some of the reduced prices offered this year at the track.

In 2010 the cheapest beer option was a 20 oz. domestic beer that went for $6.75. This year the cheapest beer on-track is a 12 oz. domestic that will go for $3.

When it comes to imported beers, the prices have been slashed even further. In 2010 a 16 oz. imported beer sold for $8, this year a 12 oz. imported beer will go for $4.

Both NYRA and Centerplate acknowledged the value of including local businesses at the track, but Revella said that many of the old local lemonade and popcorn vendors were coming at an additional cost for the race course.

“As a company we realize the importance of Saratoga and its history,” Revella said. “We are a concessioner so things like popcorn and lemonade we already sell at our stands so there was really no need to have a secondary contractor do the things we already do and do well.”

With Centerplate running the concessions this year, they have been able to cut prices on more than just beer. It might not be from one of Jack O’Brien’s lemonade kids or a P&H vendor, but this year fans will be able to purchase a 16-oz. lemonade for $3.50 and a 32 oz. popcorn for $3.75. Last year, both items ran for $4.50 or more.

Another new addition is the $5 value meal in the backyard, which includes a choice of hot dog or slider as well as chips and a soda.

Other changes include the Carvel ice cream stand, which will be replaced with a new Dunkin’ Donuts booth offering a variety of cold and hot beverages and breakfast items.

“Carvel was kind of one dimensional in my opinion with their soft serve and we think Ben and Jerry’s can service the ice cream well,” Revella said about why the company chose to drop Carvel and expand Ben and Jerry’s.

“We’ve spent money to build a beautiful new deck and patio area with fencing at our tent in the carousel,” said Pat Pipino, owner of the Ben and Jerry’s on 34 Phila Street in Saratoga Springs.

In previous years, Ben and Jerry’s operated two tents: one in the carousel and one in the paddock. This year Ben and Jerry’s will have its carousel tent as well as a full stand located on the second floor and various cart locations around the track.

“We’re so excited that NYRA is working with us because we are a local business,” Pipino said.

Other local businesses making an appearance include this year’s line up on restaurant row, which will feature the Irish Times, Cantina, Putnam Market and Saratoga Chicken. Revella also said that both Hattie’s in the Backyard and Carolina Barbecue will be back this year to represent local eateries at the track.

One other absence is the branch of the Saratoga Post Office, a decision made by the post office due to financial costs of operating their trackside stand.

NYRA President Charlie Hayward explained the reasoning behind many of the new renovations and dining options.

Hayward said that last year the track’s local advisory board conducted a series of interviews with fans, officials and local businesses and then presented the findings.

“One of the most significant findings wasn’t economic, but there was a feeling that the area behind the clubhouse and the grandstand had become very cluttered and felt more like a flea market than a race track,” Hayward said about the report. “We took a very hard look at our third party vendors and with Centerplate’s new management it created an opportunity to clean up some of that clutter and to address a secondary issue, which was the pricing.”

In terms of the improved aesthetic at the track, Hayward said that NYRA has standardized the tents in the area where local artists and vendors sell their products in order to make it look cleaner and more uniform.

“This year we have some nice new tent options, we have clear stand tents, which look a lot more professional that the old more carnival looking tents,” Revella said of the track’s new aesthetic. “It’s very neat, clean and organized as opposed to in the past when people see clutter and hodgepodge they think of carnies. This is much more streamlined.”

NYRA also works with Centerplate at Belmont Park, home of the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, where similar enhancements and changes have been made.

Revella said that Centerplate has been making significant renovations at Belmont where they renovated the old food court, now the Heritage Club to include a full service bar and expanded menu options.

Hayward said that NYRA is also working on larger capital improvement plans that would take place over four to five years at the Saratoga Track, which he stated, “Will be much more extensive than what we did at Belmont.”

Revella also agreed that both NYRA and Centerplate still have work to do to improve the Saratoga Race Course.

“We’ve addressed a lot of the things that need to be done, but we’re not finished yet — we’re not satisfied yet,” Revella said about the changes at Belmont and Saratoga. “We really want to make all of our venues a destination where people can get the ultimate experience.”


Make that 3 new lingerie shops...

More underwear!

Saratoga has truly gone from zero to sixty this month when it comes to lingerie boutiques. This morning, the same day that the Biz column ran in print with the story about Chic Underneath and Fiat Feminae opening in town, I learned that a third undergarments shop is opening on Caroline Street.

Ballston Spa's Torso Lingerie Studio located 55 Front Street, will open a second location in Saratoga Springs at 24 Caroline Street in between the former Club Shadow and Silverwood Galleries.

I've put in calls to Torso's owners and will let you know as soon as I receive more details about their Saratoga opening and (since it seems to be the trend with lingerie stores) any special events or parties that correspond.


7/18 Biz column: Two new boutiques in Saratoga to focus on the ladies

Chic Underneath owners Lauren Plasencia & Kailyn McLaughlin
SARATOGA SPRINGS — In less than a month, Broadway has gone from having zero options for women’s intimate wear to having two new lingerie boutiques.

The first to open is Chic Underneath on the corner of Broadway and Spring Street, followed by Fiat Feminae at 489 Broadway.

Mechanicville natives and childhood friends Lauren Plasencia and Kailyn McLaughlin are the faces behind Chic Underneath, a combination lingerie shop and waxing boutique located inside a historic building at 7 Spring St.

“Lauren and I have always lingerie-shopped together and we never really found anything we love or was good quality — and at Victoria’s Secret almost everything has ‘PINK’ written on the butt,” McLaughlin said of the owners’ motivation to open Chic Underneath.

When McLaughlin became a licensed “waxer,” or esthetician, she and Plasencia developed a creative business plan to open a full-service waxing and lingerie boutique in Saratoga Springs.

“We’ve always wanted to do this together and we thought it would be great to combine waxing and lingerie,” McLaughlin said.

The store carries more than 10 lines of undergarments and specializes in plus-size lingerie and maternity wear. McLaughlin also said that Chic Underneath will soon carry a line of mastectomy wear, in honor of her mother, who is a breast cancer survivor.

“We wanted to create a spot where women can shop in a judgment-free zone,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a place where women can get their lingerie, get a bikini wax to get set for the weekend and just feel comfortable about it.”

In addition to waxing services (McLaughlin does everything from bikini lines to eyebrows), Chic Underneath will also offer extras like bra fittings and personal shopping consultations.

After months of renovations, McLaughlin and Plasencia opened Saturday, marking the first in a series of local events that celebrate the women of Saratoga Springs.

Like the owners of Chic Underneath, Lisa Alden also helps boost women’s confidence by making them feel sexy with her new lingerie boutique, Fiat Feminae, which will begin its slow opening Friday. Alden will host an exclusive “first peak” event at 9 a.m. in which guests will be able to preview some of the products and collections that Fiat Feminae will carry.

Alden will also host a “Cocktail and Corsets” party that evening at Duo Lounge at 175 S. Broadway that will feature a cocktail hour followed by DJ entertainment and a fashion show where models will preview Fiat Feminae’s chic collections.

These two preview events will build up to the official grand opening

Aug. 5, where guests will receive a complimentary gift from the shop’s collections. Following the grand opening, Alden will also host a champagne-themed launch party called “Bustiers and Bubbles” at the Paddock Lounge on Caroline Street.

Alden, a Saratoga Springs native, first thought of the idea for Fiat Feminae three years ago, but it wasn’t until she hosted a June preview event that she realized it was time to follow through with her dream.

“I got inundated with emails and phone calls from women asking me to open in Saratoga, saying there was no place to shop outside of Victoria’s Secret,” Alden said. “I realized then this was a sign and I decided to go with it.”

Alden’s vision for Fiat Feminae is to go beyond ordinary and offer women high-end lines of intimate wear that they can’t get at other undergarment chains like Victoria’s Secret or Frederick’s of Hollywood.

“I wanted to bring in something you would see and go, ‘Wow,’ ” Alden said. “I want a place where the collections and the colors would pop and it almost makes you feel the sensuality just by looking at it. It’s sophisticated and classy, but has an edgy sexiness to it.”

Fiat Feminae will feature intimate wear, teddies, chemises, hosiery and a line of corsets designed by Alden, and will also carry exclusive European collections and designer brands featured on the hit CW TV show “Gossip Girl.”

Alden, who lives with her fiancé and two children, also finds time to balance her corporate career, managing a payroll company with her passion for lingerie design. But down the line, Alden said she hopes to leave the corporate world in order to focus on her new business.

“I feel that women are too often made to feel bad about wanting to dress a little sexy and feel good about themselves — they should dress however they want,” Alden said of the Fiat Feminae mission.

Between the Chic Underneath and Fiat Feminae openings, something will be available to meet every woman’s needs, and with Plasencia, McLaughlin and Alden at the helm, one thing is certain, these local entrepreneurs help women of all ages, shapes and sizes to find own their sensuality and walk with confidence.

“I want all women to feel good — I want them to try on the collections and leave knowing they have something that will make them feel good, sexy and confident whenever they wear it,” Alden said about Fiat Feminae.

Down the road on Spring Street, McLaughlin and Plasencia have a similar goal for Chic Underneath.

“We want all women to feel comfortable, confident and just have a great experience while in our store,” McLaughlin said.


Second lingerie shop to open on corner of Broadway and Spring tomorrow

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Last month Saratoga had no lingerie boutiques. But, by the start of August Saratoga Springs will have two new lingerie shops located right on Broadway: Fiat Feminae and Chic Underneath.

The first of the two shops, Chic Underneath, is set to host its grand opening party this Saturday, July 16, from 5-8 p.m. at its location on the corner of Broadway and Spring Street.

The shop is owned by Lauren Plasencia and Kailyn McLaughlin and has a different mission than Lisa Alden's Fiat Feminae. Chic Underneath will offer a unique combination of products and services as a combined lingerie shop and waxing boutique.

The shop specializes in lingerie, plus size lingerie and sleepwear products, but Plasencia and McLaughlin will also offer extra services like bra fittings and personal shopping consultations.

This Saturday, stop by Chic Underneath (located just across from Congress Park) for a complimentary glass of champagne and the chance to check out the new store and its collections.

It’s truly a summer celebrating the women of Saratoga and the list of events, parties and grand openings begins this weekend at Chic Underneath.


07/15—07/17 Weekend Insider Roundup

TGIF. Welcome to the weekend! It's going to be sunny and beautiful out so make sure you spend some time checking out these or any other fun events going on in and around Saratoga. Enjoy.



Take advantage of a special deal at Saratoga Polo
  • Saratoga Polo World Expo. The Saratoga Polo Association just kicked off their 2011 season and they’re offering a special $15 deal this Friday, July 15. The event, sponsored by Saratoga Saddlery boutique and Equicurian Magazine will feature an international crowd with players and fans from countries like Italy, Mexico, Argentina and Pakistan. There will be a tournament event and the $15 will give guests access to the exclusive clubhouse (normally $25) where there is a full cash bar and appetizer options from Lily and the Rose Gourmet Caterers. The Saratoga Polo Association, 2 Bloomfield Road, Greenfield Center. Friday, July 15. 5:30 p.m.(584-8108 www.saratogapolo.com). $15.

Dine on wood fired pizza at the Saratoga Winery
  • Live music, wine tasting & wood fired pizza. Get down to the Saratoga Winery & Tasting Room this Friday for a perfect summer evening. There’s no cover and guests can sip a glass of wine while watching live music by Ryan Jenson. Dinner is covered with wood fired pizza to go along with your cocktail. The perfect way to usher in a great summer weekend. The Saratoga Winery & Tasting Room, 462 Route 29 West, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 15. 6—9 p.m. (584-9463 www.thesaratogawinery.com). FREE admission.


Celebrate blueberry fest in Menands
  • Blueberry Festival. This Saturday at the Capital District Farmer’s Market in Menands is the annual blueberry festival. Spend the morning outside and check out the blueberry dessert contest complete with prizes for the best cake, pie, cobbler, muffin or other various blueberry delicatessen. Vendors will be selling blueberry pancakes along with their usual local produce, flowers, fruits, and other farmer’s market goods. There will also be live music from Tad & Mike to complement the event. Delicious. Capital District Farmer’s Market, 381 Broadway, Menands. Saturday, July 16. 9 a.m.—1 p.m. (465-1023 www.capitaldistrictfarmersmarket.com). FREE.

Take a food tour of Saratoga Springs 
  • Saratoga Food Tours. Take a unique culinary tour of the tastes of Saratoga. The tour begins at the Saratoga Farmer’s Market where participants will have the chance to sample a variety of fine cheeses, tapinades and homemade jams all manufactured locally. Next, head to the Olde Bryan Inn where appetizers will be served along with several talks by local experts about Saratoga’s unique food and farm history. Saratoga Farmers Market, High Rock Road, Saratoga Springs. Saturday, July 16. 12:30—3:00 p.m. (803-4181 www.saratogaspringsfoodtours.com). $40


Get in race season spirit at the track’s annual open house
  • Saratoga Race Course: 31st Annual Open House. Each year the Saratoga Race Course puts on a traditional open house fit for the whole family. The day will be packed with games, activities, live music and entertainment, as well as pony rides and non-betting horse races. There will also be a number of behind-the-scenes tours and all proceeds from the event will go to local non-profit organizations. Saratoga Race Course, 267 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs. 11 a.m.—4 p.m. (584-7064 www.saratogaracecourse.com). FREE.

Prove your beer drinking skills at Putnam Den’s first Beer Olympics.
  • Putnam Den's First Annual Beer Olympics. Join Putnam Den for their first annual Beer Olympics this Sunday. Local bars and independent teams are encouraged to participate. Some of events include: beer pong, crazy waiter beer carry, tricycle obstacle course, blindfolded beer taste tests, relay chug, limbo contest, beer can toss and a shotgun contest. The top two teams will go head-to-head in an all out water balloon dodge ball tournament… Should be interesting so if you’re not playing, at least come and cheer on your teammates (and take incriminating photos…). The Putnam Den, 63A Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs. 4—7 p.m. (584-8066 www.putnamden.com). $6 per person.


Lisa Alden hopes to empower women with the opening of her new lingerie boutique on Broadway

Last Friday I posted about a new lingerie boutique that is hosting a sneak peak event on Friday, July 22. Here is a little more about Fiat Feminae and its ambitious owner Lisa Alden. Read on to find out all about Alden's upcoming preview events and parties!

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Three years ago, Saratoga native Lisa Alden dreamed of making the women of Saratoga feel sexy. This August, Alden’s vision will come to life with the opening of her new Fiat Feminae Lingerie boutique at 489 Broadway.

After receiving an overwhelming response from women in the community following a June preview event, Alden, who graduated Saratoga Springs High School in 1998, decided to run with the idea in her hometown.

“I got inundated with emails and phone calls from women asking me to open in Saratoga saying there was no place to shop outside of Victoria’s Secret” Alden said. “I realized then this was a sign and I decided to go with it.”

Part of Alden’s vision was to bring her boutique to Broadway because she pointed out that there is no place besides Victoria’s Secret and Fredericks of Hollywood for women to shop for intimate wear between here and Albany.

“You get bored with the basic colors you see in Victoria’s Secret and in my opinion, some of the Frederick’s stuff is cheaply made,” Alden said of the idea behind Fiat Feminae. “I wanted to bring in something you would see and go, ‘Wow,’ where the collections and the colors would pop and it almost makes you feel the sensuality just by looking at it. It’s sophisticated and classy, but has an edgy sexiness to it.”

Fiat Feminae will carry exclusive European collections as well as designer brands featured on the hit CW TV show Gossip Girl. The shop will feature items like intimate wear, teddies, chemises, hosiery and a line of Fiat Feminae corsets designed by Alden herself.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 22, Alden will open the boutique for a “first peak” event where guests will be able to preview some of the products and undergarment lines that Fiat Feminae will carry. Following the sneak peak event Alden will also host a Cocktail and Corsets event that evening at Duo Lounge at 175 South Broadway. The event kicks off with a 9 p.m. cocktail hour followed by a DJ performance during a fashion show where models will preview Fiat Feminae’s chic collections.
Alden, who lives in Saratoga Springs with her fiancé and two children, somehow finds time to balance her corporate career managing a payroll company with her passion for lingerie design. But down the line, Alden said she hopes to leave the corporate world in order to focus on her new business.

Meanwhile, Alden hasn’t let her busy schedule slow her down as she prepares for a very grand entrance onto the Broadway retail scene. In addition to the sneak peak and cocktail party this weekend, Alden is also planning several special events for Fiat Feminae’s official grand opening on Friday, August 5. That day, each guest who walks in the door will receive a free gift bag complete with a free gift from the store and after regular business hours, there will be a champagne inspired “Bustiers and Bubbles” official launch party at Duo.
One thing is sure, Alden is helping pave the way for Saratoga women of all ages, shapes and sizes to own their sensuality and walk with confidence. 

“I feel that women are too often made to feel bad about wanting to dress a little sexy and feel good about themselves — they should dress however they want,” Alden said of her mission with Fiat Feminae.
“I want all women to feel good — I want them to try on the collections and leave knowing they have something that will make them feel good, sexy and confident whenever they wear it.”


Bettie's Cakes' grand opening tomorrow on Broadway

Bettie's to open on Broadway tomorrow. 

Just heard via Twitter (@suzannaklourie for those not already following) that Bettie's Cakes is finally moving to its new on-Broadway location at the former home of Maestro's Restaurant.

I did a quick story back in early June about Bettie's moving from the Downstreet Marketplace to 371 Broadway. Although they had planned the grand opening for June, looks like it got pushed back to mid-July, but hey we're not complaining...the old location was closer to our office!

Check out Bettie's new digs tomorrow for their first day of business. Beginning at noon they will be giving away free cake ball truffles and rumor has it that Bettie herself will making a special guest appearance. They had me at free cake ball truffles so join me tomorrow to see what all the excitement is about.




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.”


Regional online farmer's market FarmieMarket launches today

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Fresh produce online? It might sound counter-intuitive, but today's launch of the newly expanded virtual farmer's market FarmieMarket.com makes local food an online reality for customers across the Capital Region.

FarmieMarket.com previously operated within Albany area, but today the site will expand to cover Saratoga, Schenectady and Rensselaer County. 

The website allows customers to browse fresh produce and other natural goods from small family-run farms in the Capital District. Shoppers can gather information about each product and its corresponding farm and then add items to their shopping cart, pay by credit card and have their orders delivered to their home or workplace. Deliveries are made once a week: Tuesday in Rensselaer County, Wednesday in Saratoga County and Thursday in the Albany and Schenectady areas.

FarmieMarket.com currently has about 20 small local farms in its database that all work to deliver their produce fresh to customers in the area. 

Once customers enter the site, they can choose their individual market territory to ensure browsing only the closest farms to that given county. For example, customers in the Albany and Schenectady Counties will be directed to the Heldeberg Market and shoppers in the Saratoga region will order from the Turning Point Market. 

The site has established relationships with many regional farms in line with its mission to help sustain small farms by allowing them to expand their business and customer base. FarmieMarket.com is a pioneer in the new movement toward combining online services and technology with locally-sourced goods and produce.

The online store is always open for busy customers who have trouble making it to their own local farmer's market, which tend to run once a week on Saturdays or Sundays. The minimum order is $30 and there is a $5 delivery fee.

Check it out at www.FarmieMarket.com


Sperry's celebrates its first anniversary of new ownership with a garden party this Thursday & new brunch menu

SARATOGA SPRINGS This Thursday, July 14, Christel and Colin MacLean will host a garden party at Sperry's Restaurant to celebrate their one-year anniversary of new ownership and to thank the community for their support.

Last year on July 14, the MacLeans hosted a kick off garden party to mark the start of Sperry's new ownership when they purchased the historic Caroline Street bistro from previous owner Ridge Qua.
The garden party starts at 5 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. this Thursday outside on the patio at Sperry's on 30 Caroline Street. The event will features complimentary hors d'oeuvres by Chef Dale Miller and complimentary cocktails for guests.
Guests enjoy Sperry's first garden party on July 14, 2010.

While guests enjoy samples from the kitchen and sip some of Sperry's signature cocktails they can also enjoy  live music in the courtyard by the local favorites the George Boone Blues Band.

Following the one-year anniversary celebration, owners Christel and Colin MacLean will fittingly unveil Sperry's new brunch menu starting this weekend on Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17.

Starting this weekend, Sperry's will be serving up its scrumptious new brunch menu from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays.

The relaxed-vibe menu will feature some of Chef Dale Miller's favorites including signature dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes and baked cinnamon pecan French toast with banana caramel sauce. Other mouth-watering brunch specials include eggs Benedict of the day and a Louisiana eggs scramble.

Guests enjoying Sperry's new brunch will also have the chance to enjoy a beverage from the new brunch cocktail list to accompany their meals.

The garden party and new brunch menu are the perfect complement to the gorgeous summer weather we've been having so be sure to get in early on Thursday for your happy hour and check back this weekend for brunch!



Fiat Feminae to host a sneak peak event on Broadway

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Springs native Lisa Alden announced on Friday, July 8, that she will be opening Fiat Feminae Lingerie Boutique at 489 Broadway this summer.

Before the official grand opening, Alden will host an exclusive “first peak” event at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 22 at the store’s Broadway location. The event will give guests the opportunity to have an insider look at Fiat Feminae’s exclusive European collections as well as designer brands that have been featured on the hit CW TV show Gossip Girl.

In addition to carrying bras, underwear and other intimate wear, the boutique will also feature a unique line of shape wear and corsets. 

“My passion is to empower women by encouraging them to embrace their sensuality,” Alden said in a recent statement announcing the new store’s sneak peak event. 

A long-time resident of Saratoga Springs, Alden hopes that her boutique will help expand the blossoming sector of businesses owned and managed by women on Broadway.

I will release more details and information regarding the official opening of Fiat Feminae next week following a pending interview with Alden. Stay tuned ladies.  

(The Fiat Feminae website is currently under construction, but you can check out their Facebook page here.) 


07/08-07/10 Weekend Insider Roundup

Hello and TGIF.

I usually try to get the Weekend column up and running by Thursday, but with the short week it seems I've fallen behind a day. Forgive the tardiness of this post and hopefully this third installment of the Weekend Insider Roundup proves helpful if you're looking for something fun to do tonight or over the next few days. It looks like it's going to be a perfect summer weekend - sunny and beautiful - so enjoy and thanks for your patience.




Celebrate Putnam Den’s second birthday
  • Putnam Den’s second anniversary featuring Sister Sparrow, Folkadelics & Black Mountain Symphony. Celebrate the Den’s second birthday with a top-notch line up this Friday night. Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow) is back by popular demand accompanied by The Dirty Birds, her 8-man backup group to play their signature contemporary soul sound. Also playing is the Folkadelics, a reggae funk fusion group that played at the Den’s first anniversary last year. Black Mountain Symphony also returns for the second year with their eclectic, one-of-a-kind sound that samples from classic rock, jazz, bluegrass and blues. Putnam Den, 63A Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs. Friday, July 8. Doors at 8 p.m. (584-8066 www.putnamden.com). $10, $15 for 18 +.
Dance on the roof with Melick, Moody and McKrell
  • UpBeat on the Roof Concert Series — Melick, Moody and McKrell. Now in its 11th season, UpBeat on the Roof - Skidmore's TANGMuseum free rooftop concert series welcomes local favorites Melick, Moody and McKrell on Friday evening for an energetic performance on the roof. Melick, Moody and McKrell have a folky jazz sound with a tinge of Celtic and Americana influence and always put on a great show. Check them out this Friday at the TANG’s scenic rooftop venue. Tang Museum, Skidmore College, 815 N. Broadway. Friday, July 8. 7 p.m.  (580-8080 www.tang.skidmore.edu). FREE.


Enjoy Wilton's 2011 Park Fest
  • Wilton’s Community Day Park Fest 2011. This family fun-filled event runs all day on Saturday at Gavin Park in Saratoga. Some of the highlights include a unique craft fair, 5-k run, amusement park rides, food & drink vendors, contests, and prizes. In case you missed last week’s fireworks on the Fourth of July, the park fest will wrap up with a colorful fireworks display at dusk. Gavin Park, Saratoga Springs. Saturday, July 9. 11 a.m.—9 p.m. (www.townofwilton.com). FREE.
Catch an afternoon ballet at SPAC
  •  The New York City Ballet. Saturday afternoon is the NYCB’s mixed repertory featuring Valse-Fantaisie, Square Dance, Fearful Symmetries and the Magic Flute. Pack a picnic and sprawl out on the green to watch one of the world’s best ballet companies at the scenic outdoor Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This is a world class experience  you won’t want to miss before the NYCB packs up and leaves Saratoga next week. SPAC, 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs. Saturday, July 9. 2 p.m. (584-9330 www.spac.org). $20—$72.50
 Go back in time at SPAC's Gatsby themed gala
  • SPAC's Gala Lawn Party. Every year, to help bring the New York City Ballet back to SPAC, Saratoga Performing Arts Center's Action Council and Junior Committee puts on a gala that is always one of the best parties of the summer. Step back to the 1920s as you celebrate all things Great Gatsby at this year's gala, which features a cocktail hour at the Mionetto Prosecco Reception complete with a bathtub gin bar. After a few g & t's you can head to the roaring twenties gourmet dinner buffet, which will be followed by the NYCB performing Peter Martins' Thou Swell, Susan Stroman's For the Love of Duke and Benjamin Millepied's Plainspoken at 8 p.m. After the performance stick around for the swank after party featuring live music by Soul Session, dancing and a grand fireworks display. There will also be a prize for the best 1920s themed costume so dress to impress. SPAC, 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs. Saturday, July 9. 5:30 p.m. (584-9330 www.spac.org). $50—$55.
Check out live music at the Paddock Lounge
  • Super 8 Six at the Paddock. See Super 8 Six perform their alt-rock originals and covers live at the Paddock Lounge on Saturday night. If you like Incubus, Velvet Revolver, etc. you'll love these local rockers. Paddock Bar & Lounge, 6 Caroline Street, Saratoga Springs. Saturday, July 9. 9:30 p.m. (www.paddockloungesaratoga.com). FREE.

Celebrate the grand opening of One Yoga Saratoga
  • One Yoga Saratoga: Grand Opening Weekend. Click here for the weekend's full schedule of events and free classes and to learn more about Saratoga's newest yoga studio check out last week's in-the-biz article. On Sunday, the day kicks off early with a free Ashtanga class from 9—10 a.m. followed by a yoga blast class, which starts at 10:30 a.m. After working up a sweat at one of the two morning yoga classes, join the One Yoga Saratoga staff at the complimentary mimosa and light fare brunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. One Yoga Saratoga, 75 Woodlawn Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Sunday, July 10. 9 a.m.—1 p.m. (581-9642 www.oneyogasaratoga.com). FREE.
Try family bonding with peaceful family yoga
  • Family Yoga. It's an inner-peace Sunday with yet another great yoga event taking place at the Saratoga Tai Chi Center. Family yoga will not only help you relax in preparation for Monday, but will allow families to develop deeper bonds as they work together to try some new partner postures and spend time enjoying music and games. The Tai Chi Center, 36 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs. Sunday, July 10. 12:30 p.m. (583-9315 www.the-taichi-center.com). $15.

Enjoy your weekend and namaste.


Decrescente Distributing unites beer lovers online with launch of gotbeer.com

Beer, Beer, Beer.

MECHANICVILLE — A website dedicated entirely to beer? It might sound unusual, but Carmine DeCrescente III and his brother Matt have teamed up to form gotbeer.com, the number one meeting place for beer lovers in the Capital District. 

“The vision is to become a beer destination site,” Carmine said of gotbeer.com. “Anything to do with beer in the Capital Region — educational information, events, concerts — is on our site.” 

Gotbeer.com is the latest extension of the DeCrescente Distributing Company, a family owned distributing business founded by Carmine’s great-great-grandfather Angelo DeCrescente in 1948 out of a single truck. Today, the company is one of the region’s top distributors serving the 11 counties within 7,500 square miles. Four generations of DeCrescente family values guide Carmine as he enters the next phase of virtual beverage distribution online and through social media.

“Being involved with your dad and your brothers every day reinforces some of our family values,” Carmine said. “We strive for perfection in everything we do — it’s how I was brought up — so we want gotbeer.com to be the ultimate beer destination for anyone in the region.”

Gotbeer.com originally launched in 2003, but as technology evolved, the DeCrescente brothers saw a window of growth for the website. The site temporarily shut down in February and was unveiled last month along with the new GotBeer mobile app at a DeCrescente Distributing Co. launch party hosted by Jillian’s in Albany on June 9.

“We decided the site had a lot of room for opportunity so we blew it up,” Carmine said. “We custom made it according to what we thought people would like and completely redesigned it to make it more up to date and more of a beer destination.”

The new design includes full social media capabilities such as a live Twitter feed, Facebook connection and a community photo gallery featuring community snapshots of fans from local events, bars and concerts. 

“One of the biggest things we noticed was that people like the photos and people wanted to see themselves,” Carmine said. “We post photos from events and people can also submit their own photographs.”

Most of the site’s social photos come from the featured events promoted on gotbeer.com’s home page. 

“We post events, some that we’re sponsors of like Country Fest and concerts at the Times Union Center,” Carmine said. “It’s anything where beer is being sold because we want the site to become a place where people can come find anything to do with beer —  samplings, brewery tastings, tips for keeping your beer at top quality or for throwing a party, contests and other events.”

Another highlight is the beer finder, which lets visitors search for their favorite brew by brand or beer type and narrow the results geographically within up to a 50 miles radius from a given zip code. The finder also allows searchers to specify further depending on whether they’re looking for to get their beer in a carry-out package or as a draught at a bar or restaurant. 

 Although the site is a branch of DeCrescente Distributing Co., Carmine said the sole purpose of gotbeer.com is not to earn a major profit.

“I’d like to see it get better and maybe someday people will want to advertise on our site,” Carmine said of the site’s future. “We didn’t start it to make money; it’s more to generate excitement and traffic and educate people about beer and hopefully that will ultimately help us sell more beer.”  



Water with a kick - Saratoga man introduces caffeinated water

SARATOGA SPRINGS — There was a buzz on Broadway this weekend as people lined up outside the Hungry Spot Café to try a sample of Steve Gilbank’s latest product — Element caffeinated water.

“When people first hear the phrase ‘caffeinated water’ there’s a little confusion,” Gilbank said. “But once they realize it tastes exactly like water, people are really excited about it.”

Gilbank moved to Saratoga six years ago with his wife, Kristen, who grew up in the area, to start his other business, Innersourced, a manufacturing representative firm for consumer electronics.

It wasn’t until two years ago on a six-hour plane ride from New York to Los Angeles that Gilbank thought up the idea for a hydrating yet energizing caffeinated water.

“I was already three cups of coffee deep, and when I thought about my options, there were only energy drinks or coffee and nothing in between,” Gilbank said. “So I thought, ‘Why can’t I have a caffeinated water?’ ”

In the months that followed, Gilbank and his wife founded Mere Natural Inc., a start-up beverage manufacturer dedicated to creating inventive and purified products for busy but health-savvy consumers.

“It took nearly two years to get the water to taste exactly like water,” Gilbank said. “We used natural caffeine extracted from green coffee beans because it has no odor or taste in comparison to the synthetic caffeine a lot of products use today.”

In addition to purified water and natural caffeine, Element has one final ingredient that sets it apart from competitors.

“The final ingredient is theanine, which is an amino acid found in green tea leaves,” Gilbank said. “It’s part of why the Japanese are so fanatical about green tea, because studies show that theanine — especially when combined with caffeine — can increase focus and concentration and actually improve cognitive functioning.”

Element’s three ingredients are designed to meet three needs busy consumer have throughout the day, Gilbank said.

“The purified water hydrates, the natural caffeine motivates and the theanine helps you concentrate,” Gilbank said. “It’s a really simple combination, but it’s just that nobody has done it before.”

The basic, no-nonsense approach behind Element’s design and product mirrors the overarching ideology and strategy of Mere Natural’s business approach.

“The market for caffeinated beverages is so noisy,” Gilbank said. “It’s frustrating to pick up a drink with 30 ingredients and not even know what some are, but that turned into a market opportunity. We’re all about simplicity. We’re always going to have innovative yet simple products that remove all the noise.”

Gilbank only started receiving stock shipments of Element two weeks ago, but he has already made a splash in Saratoga Springs after making his mark on Broadway over the holiday weekend.

“The reaction was enormously positive,” Gilbank said of the local response to Element.

Right now, Element can be purchased online at Amazon.com or in town at the Hungry Spot Café above Mere Natural’s main office at 480 Broadway.

With a wealth of encouraging feedback and wholesale distributors nipping at his heels to get Element on the market, Gilbank and his team have big plans for the future.

“We want to have New York state covered by the fourth or fifth month and the entire Northeast by the end of a year,” Gilbank said. “We’re going to sell it in places that fit with our customer base. We love this town, and if we can get away with this in Saratoga, we’re going to do it here for the rest of our lives.”