Mio Posto moving into former location of 8 Tables/Sangwych

Well that didn't take long.
The Putnam Street space recently vacated by Sangwych (the former home of 8 Tables) is going to be an Italian restaurant called Mio Posto.
Mio Posto means "my place" in Italian and owner Danny Petrosino intends to make the restaurant very much his place.
"I'm gonna cook what I like to cook," he said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. What he likes to cook is Italian food with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. "I only use family-owned purveyors," he said, name-dropping John Fusco's Edelweiss Veal Co. and Reliable Brothers meat purveyors, both in Albany. Petrosino hopes to change his menu weekly — "I'm gonna use what's fresh and what's available," he said.
Opening Mio Posto is a bit of a homecoming for Petrosino, he is originally from Amsterdam and recently moved back there after a few years in Florida. But to say he's got deep local roots is to put it mildly. He worked for Angelo Mazzone for several years and was the General Manager at both the Hall of Springs and Glen Sanders Mansion and was the food and Beverage Manager at Saratoga National for a few years.
The CIA grad was profiled by the Times Union about a year ago, they wrote this: "The 53-year-old Amsterdam native worked at other upscale spots, but most of all he talks about his first job. He started in 1981 at Ecobelli's Restaurant at Ballston Spa, for many years, one of the best Italian restaurants in the region." Click here to read that full story.
Petrosino's most recent venture, Red Sauce in The Villages, Fla., was "an old school red sauce joint," he said. He sold his half of the restaurant to his partner a couple months ago, moved back upstate and began hunting for a place to start a new restaurant. 
The location for Mio Posto sort of fell in his lap, he said. He originally was looking for something in Amsterdam, but heard about the vacant space from his lawyer and thought it was perfect. The 22 or so people it will seat is a far cry from the 500 covers Red Sauce regularly does, and there's freedom in that.
"You don't have to worry about filling about 150 seats," he said. A small restaurant where he can cook only the things he wants to cook is something Petrosino, and probably most lifelong chefs, has always dreamed of having. 
"My food's kind of old school," he said. "I'm a big believer in buying good ingredients and not adding a lot to it."
The price point will likely be somewhere between Sperry's and Max London's he said and he plans to sign a multiple-year lease. Mio Posto will likely open in late March or early April, as soon as the liquor license comes through Petrosino said.

Once Petrosino has a firm date for opening, I'll give you an update.

-- Emily

Big thanks to @SaratogaShoots for the tip on this story!

Finally caught up with the owner of Virgil's and she's got good news

Hi folks,
At long last, I got to the bottom of the Virgil's mystery. I braved the SNOWPOCALYPSE (kidding) and walked over to the Henry Street cafe this afternoon to talk to owner Kathleen Quartararo (pronounced like quarter + arrow, fyi).
She says the 86 Henry St. location is, in fact, for rent, but she is not planning to close Virgil's. In December, Quartararo decided not to renew her five-year lease because she wasn't prepared to make  that long a commitment to the location. (She also owns the Inn of Ballston Spa which she has run alone ever since her mother died suddenly in '09 and her two high school-aged sons are heading to college soon, both factors contributing to her reluctance to sign a long lease)
So, her landlords (who she says are great) are keeping Quartararo and Virgil's on as a month-to-month tenant while they look for someone to sign a longer lease and she looks for a new space. She said she's got a few places in mind and hopes to have an announcement in the next couple weeks about a new Virgil's location, which will likely be downtown.
"We're here for as long as they don't sign someone else," she said.

She assured me that business at Virgil's is good, in fact the 5-year-old cafe is having its best February on record. Quartararo said business is picking up for a variety of reasons: she brought a restaurant consultant into the cafe over the summer who helped her streamline the look and feel of the front counter and the cafe rescinded its strict no-technology policy months ago.
The no cell phones and laptop rule was keeping some of her regulars from coming in more often and from bringing in their spouses, she said. The final straw was when one of her favorite customers told her she'd come in more often if her husband, an author, was allowed to bring his laptop to work on his latest book.
Since the policy change, "it's just been really chill," Quaratararo said. "People are still respectful ... I was surprised how nice it is."
Originally, Quartarao was desperately seeking respite from technology at Virgil's. A previous job at AT&T had left her feeling overwhelmed and over-saturated by technology. A few years later, though, she's ready to let technology into the cafe, as long as her cafe is still unique among downtown coffee/sandwich spots.
When Virgil's moves to its new location (she wouldn't give me any hints as to where that might be), Quartararo says her business model won't change much. She will continue "to try to make sure that we position ourselves a little bit differently" than other similar spots downtown.

So there you have it.

Care to weigh in on where you think Virgil's might be headed or what type of business would be well-suited to take over the Henry Street spot?

-- Emily


Whoopies are... gone.

Ballston Spa-based business Whoopies Are Good is closing as of tomorrow, co-owner Paul Brisson confirmed to me today.

Sad news because it really seemed like the business was taking off. Reporter Suzanna Lourie interviewed Brisson and his business partner Anne Marie Aubin in October when their whoopies were selected to be part of the swag bags given out at the News and Documentary Emmys.

Brisson did not want to get into specifics on what prompted the closure or what the future will bring, but I have no doubt we will be hearing his name again soon in connection with local businesses.

-- Emily


Elizabeth's Table, coming soon

I spoke to Liz Phillips, co-owner of the former Cupcake Lab and future Elizabeth's Table, today about the forthcoming Broadway restaurant. Steve Barnes' Table Hopping blog reported today a projected opening date for the restaurant.
Phillips told me she isn't ready to commit to an opening date yet, a few things like final permits and plumbing work are still outstanding, but she says the wait won't be long.
Click here to read our Jan. 2 report about the planned restaurant, it will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unlike the Phillips' last restaurant, the Cupcake Lab, the new Broadway location will also get lots of foot traffic.
I hope to have lots more to report on Elizabeth's Table in the very near future, so stay tuned.

-- Emily

Solved! Parillo plans to buy former Topper/ All Star dealership location

Frank Parillo's attorney, Bob Sweeney, confirmed to me this afternoon that his client is under contract to purchase the long-abandoned car dealership on South Broadway. Sweeney said an LLC Parillo owns, Saratoga Prime LLC, will likely complete the sale in April. He would not comment on the purchase price.

Sweeney said Parillo is "looking into possibilities" for the location but has not committed to anything yet. He added that the location — which was a Champion Pontiac-Buick-GM dealership until June 2009 and the Topper car dealership before that — will NOT be a car dealership again.

Parillo owns the Wilton Travel Plaza and Scotty's restaurant, both at exit 16. He is also an investor in the Hampton Inn/High Rock Ave condo complex.

I left a message for Frank, inviting him to comment on his plans for the location. I'll let you know what I hear. 

So, what do you think South Broadway needs? A committee has been formed to tackle that very question and is expected to issue a report in the spring. Managing Editor Barb Lombardo recently wrote an editorial about the possibilities for a South Broadway Renaissance.

Let me know in the comments what you think Parillo should do with that location, I"m curious to hear your suggestions. (I think we can all agree we hope it doesn't become more condos, right?)

-- Emily


What's happening at the former Champion Pontiac-Buick-GM dealership?

The Champion Pontiac-Buick-GM dealership at 135 South Broadway closed in June 2009.
This week an observant local photographer who I only know via his/her twitter handle @SaratogaShoots, pointed out that the For Sale sign once in front of the building is now gone.
Our photographer Erica Miller (@togianphotog) went by today and confirmed @SaratogaShoots' report... so now I'm trying to figure out what's going on there.
Without that For Sale sign, I don't know who had listed the property. The last information we had was that it was owned by GM, but that was in 2009 and may have changed.

Anybody know if it sold or have an idea about who I could talk to? Let me know in the comments or edonohue@saratogian.com

-- Emily

Virgil's for rent

Well it appears the rumor is true: Virgil's Coffee House is for rent.
I found several listings online, one with Realty USA, another on a website called LoopNet and a third on a website called Move That Block, offering the space for lease.
According to Move That Block, the 13,000-square-foot space is being offered for $2,625/month. Virgil's is located at 86 Henry St.
I put a call in to the Virgil's owner Kathleen Quartararo (that may be horribly misspelled, the person I talked to on the phone wasn't sure), but she is not at Virgil's today so I don't expect to hear from her until Friday.
I also called the listing agent, John MacAffer of CB Richard Ellis, and left a message with him.
As soon as I get a call back from either, I'll update this post.

No info on Virgil's facebook page. Bloggers Saratoga Idiots  received an email tip about the business being rented, which tipped me off (thanks guys!)

What a shame if Virgil's really is closing, they've been around for a while and offer a unique experience. They're also such a friend to local groups/clubs who use their space for meetings. Hopefully Virgil's is relocating, not closing.

-- Emily

p.s. Sorry  for neglecting the blog this week, I've been filling in for Assistant Managing Editor Betsy DeMars while she's on vacation and I've had to prioritize that over filling in for our still-not-hired-yet business reporter (for the love of God, send resumes to blomardo@saratogian.com!). Oh yeah, I'm still the online editor, too... and believe me, keeping the website commenters in line is no easy task.


Wilton, Clifton Park HSBC branches to close (updated)

Update (2:20 p.m.) Here's Betsy's story: 

BUFFALO — First Niagara Bank expects to complete its acquisition of 195 HSBC bank branches by May, and because a number of the HSBC branches being acquired are within close proximity to First Niagara branches, two Saratoga County branches will close and be consolidated with a nearby facility.

The HSBC branch at 3025 Route 50,Wilton Square, in Saratoga Springs will close and be consolidated with the First Niagara branch at 3057 Route 50, which is located in a plaza in front of the Wilton Mall.

In Clifton Park, the First Niagara branch at 843 Route 146 will close and be consolidated with the HSBC branch at 20 Park Ave. in Clifton Park.

According to a news release from First Niagara, 35 branches are being consolidated, most within one mile from each other. Eleven of those are in the Capital Region. The other HSBC branches that are closing are: 30 South Pearl St. in Albany, 335 Main St. in Catskill, 100 Mohawk St. in Cohoes, 492 Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham and 600 Second Ave. in Troy. The other First Niagara branches that are closing are 103 Wolf Road in Colonie, 3083 Carman Road in Rotterdam, 32 Second St. in Troy and 716 Hoosick Road in Brunswick.

Click here for EVEN MORE!


Two Saratoga County HSBC branches will close (11 will close in the Capital Region), consolidating business at nearby FNB/HSBC branches. The move is a result of FNB's purchase of nearly 200 HSBC branches.
The Albany Business Review has more info right now.  
We'll have more on this story in a few, Assistant Managing Editor Betsy Demars is slogging through a press release from FNB trying to eke out a story. (On a related note, we're still looking for a business reporter! Send your resume to blombardo@journalregister.com)


Note: I updated this two minutes after posting when I realized I mixed up a few HSBCs with FNBs... sorry about that.


New liquor store coming to town

WILTON – The town Planning Board has approved an amended site plan that allows for a new liquor store at the site of the former Bizbee’s Restaurant at 556 Maple Ave.

Melissa Brumley of Saratoga Springs plans to open the business, called Saratoga Wine & Spirits, this spring after obtaining a state liquor license.

Brumley’s husband, Brian, and business partner Anthony Gargano recently purchased the building.

However, Melissa Brumley will be the store’s proprietor.

She said this is her first venture in small business after working in corporate finance for many years.

Brian Brumley and Gargano do business as 2 Fat Boys Inc. and own the Spring Street Deli at 132 Spring St. in Saratoga Springs.

Tractor Supply headed to Greenwich

Got this press release in my inbox today:

BRENTWOOD, Tenn.  —  Construction is underway on a new Tractor Supply Company store in Greenwich, the company’s 65th New York location. (Tractor Supply has a store in Saratoga Springs off Weibel Ave near Hannaford as well as stores in Clifton Park and Amsterdam)
            Tractor Supply Company is the largest retail farm and ranch supply store chain in the United States and has been operating in New York since 1986. 
            The new Greenwich Tractor Supply store will be located at 1175 State Route 29, and will employ 12 to 17 full- and part-time team members. The store will include sales floor and support service space. A fenced exterior space will be used for storage and displaying items such as fencing, sprayers and livestock equipment.
            “Tractor Supply looks forward to being a member of the Greenwich business community,” said District Manager Peter Menzynski. “Greenwich is a great fit due to the part-time and hobby farmers, and horse owners in the area.”
The contractor for the project, Bast Hatfield Construction, LLC of Halfmoon, began construction on Dec. 19, 2012. A completion date has been tentatively set for early June.

What do you think? Good news for Greenwich?

New bus facility opens in Grande Industrial Park

Some news that will be in tomorrow's paper about a new bus facility that is open in the Grande Industrial Park on Geyser road...

Leonard Bus Sales opens new facility in industrial park
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Leonard Bus Sales Inc., a leading distributor of school and commercial buses in New York, has opened a full-service facility in the W.J. Grande Industrial Park in Saratoga Springs.
The 32,000-square-foot purpose-built facility provides bus sales, service and parts. This facility replaces Leonard’s former facility in Mechanicville, which is about 20 miles away and part of an area that is being developed for The Esplanade, a large mixed-use project along the Hudson River. Leonard had been located in Mechanicville since 1997.
The Saratoga Springs facility is significantly larger than the Mechanicville facility, which was about 24,000 square feet and had 12 service bays. The new facility occupies more than 16 acres and features 17 full-service bays (12 of which are drive-through), a 7,000-square-foot parts department, a 60,000-pound lift, and a parking lot that can accommodate 244 buses. The facility serves 14 counties in the Capital District and North Country and employs about 30 full- and part-time employees, including numerous certified technicians.
"Our Mechanicville facility was the busiest of our four regional full-service facilities in terms of the volume of bus deliveries and service. Being able to stay in Saratoga County was key to our strategy for serving important markets in the Capital District and North Country," Leonard Bus Sales President Mike Leonard said. "Customer support is the cornerstone of our business, so we look forward to providing enhanced capabilities and efficiencies to our customers here. We hope to grow along with the region."
Site preparation and construction of the Saratoga Springs facility took place between April and December of last year. Construction was overseen by Munter Enterprises Inc., a contractor based in nearby Middle Grove. Building-related products and services were provided mainly by local vendors.
Leonard Bus Sales, Inc. is a third-generation family-owned bus distributor of IC Bus, Trans Tech Bus, Champion Bus and General Coach America products. Since 1965, LBS has provided bus sales, service, and parts to clients in upstate New York. Headquartered in Deposit, Leonard now has full-service facilities in Deposit, Saratoga Springs, Rome and Bergen. For more information, go to www.leonardbus.com" www.leonardbus.com. The facility’s phone number remains the same: 664-9253.


Saratoga Idiots break local biz news wide open

***UPDATED WITH AN ENHANCED WARNING: The blog I link to in this post contains colorful language including, but not limited to, profanity. If you think you might find that offensive, I suggest you don't click on the links. Now back to our regularly-scheduled blogging...

If you're not reading the Saratoga Idiots blog yet, you're an idiot.

They're funny (ok sometimes raunchy, that was your warning, don't yell at me if your delicate sensibilities are offended) (delicate sensibilities? i think I've been watching a little too much Downtown Abbey). But, more important, they're on top of every downtown biz rumor and, more often than not, they're right (see: beer garden, sangwych, healthy living market... and that's just off the top of my head).

I'm not ashamed to admit that the Idiots sometimes beat us at stories and often tip us off to stories. Cut me some slack, though, I'm not even the business reporter (We're hiring! Send resumes to blombardo@journalregister.com) and I've got a website full of story commenters to deal with every day, no easy task. Oh and I've got other news to contend with, which just keeps breaking, even when I say 'uncle.'

Back to the Idiots, today they tracked down the truth behind rampant rumors that Virgil's House of Coffee was getting ready to close. It turns out the Henry Street cafe is here to stay but they've rescinded their draconian rule against cellphones, computers, robots and other 21st century accoutrement. Good news for those of us who are permanently attached to our blackberries.

Also, I just learned per Virgil's twitter account that they got an ATM machine last week, you go Virgil's! Next thing you know a robot will be serving you your morning coffee. 


Netflix killed the video store

The Blockbuster in Wilton Saratoga Springs, the one tucked back near Wal-Mart, is on its way out.
An employee confirmed that the store is closing (so did the giant Store Closing sign out front) but she did not know when exactly.

She said they are no longer renting but DVDs are on sale, some at pretty deep discounts. Really bad news for employees, best of luck to them as they start job hunting.

My first reaction when I heard this news: There are still Blockbuster stores that are open?

I really thought they had all closed, but I guess not. (You may recall that in October 2010 the Movie Store in Ballston Spa closed and in May 2010 the Drive In Movie Store in Saratoga Springs closed).

I've been using a combination of streaming Netflix, Redbox and the public library for a while now and actually recently cancelled my cable, I think my video rental account (the former Hollywood Video in Glenville) was last used in 2010.

Are  you going to be affected by this closure? Will your Friday night plans suffer? Or, like me, had you give up on the video store long ago?



Allstar acquired by H & V Collision Centers

Got the details on Allstar, here's the story we'll be running tomorrow:

SARATOGA SPRINGS — H & V Collision Centers has taken over the former Allstar body shop on Route 50 near Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
H&V Vice President Vartan Jerian Jr. said his company took over the Route 50 location Thursday night; the deal was in the works for several months.
Jerian said all 15 of the former Allstar employees were kept on and he plans to add about 10 additional employees over the next year.
He’s also planning to totally renovate the space.
This is H & V Collision Center’s fourth location — their flagship store in Troy opened 40 years ago and they also have locations in Colonie and Queensbury.
“We’re a growing company and we’ve been seeing the growth in the Saratoga market and we wanted to take advantage of that,” Jerian said.
“We’re looking to grow, become part of the community and add some new jobs to the market,” he added.
 Jerian said the company’s “major forte is to take care of customers who have been involved in collisions.”
Saratoga Portable Storage is located at the same property as H & V, Jerian said it has yet to be determined if they will stay there.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is also located there and will stay on. “They’re actually in a couple of our other locations, as well,” Jerian said.
H & V Collision Centers can handle all collision-related repair work as well as other mechanical work.
Allstar was a Chevrolet Cadillac dealer until the fall of 2009 when the owner decided to drop its affiliation with then-financially-troubled GM. The 40-year-old business became a Napa Auto Parts dealer and full-service body shop at that time.
H & V Collision is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.


The location soon-to-be-known-as Boca Bistro officially sold

Just saw this deed on the Saratoga County Clerk's website: Anthony and Janet Calvi sold property at 384-386 Broadway to DZ Restaurants Inc. for $1,850,000.
We knew that sale was imminent, Calvi closed both the businesses that were housed in that space — his own Pizza on Broadway as well as Raina's — in early January.
Dave Zecchini, owner of DZ Restaurants, confirmed plans to open Boca Bistro — a Mediterranean bistro and tapas bar — a few weeks ago.

So what do you think of that number, $1.85 million? My first reaction was that it seemed like a lot of money, but maybe I just make so little (are you reading this, boss?) that my perception is skewed...


BREAKING: Healthy Living Market and Cafe headed to Wilton Mall!

You've probably heard the rumors and this morning we got confirmation: Burlington, Vt.-based Healthy Living Market and Cafe is heading to Wilton Mall.

The market will fill the 35,000-square-foot space that used to house J.C. Penney.

According to a press release I got this morning:

"Healthy Living will offer shoppers a one-stop destination for natural groceries, including organic and local produce, meats, breads and cheeses. The market will also include a dine-in or take-out Cafe, with great freshly prepared options like paninis, a hot bar for lunch and dinner, and brunch; as well as a Learning Center for hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations.

The press release also says the market will bring 140 jobs and construction will begin this summer. The Healthy Living Market folks hope to open in Wilton — their second location — by mid-winter 2013.
The press release also says the market will offer wines and microbrews — I'm going to call to confirm this because I'm not sure how that fits in with New York's liquor laws.

In the release, Katy Lesser says Wilton Mall was chosen because of all the good vibes the Spa City gives off:  “We took a long time to find the ideal place for our second location,” Lesser said. “The energy and spirit I see in Saratoga Springs matches the kind of environment we love to support; a community that’s passionate about a certain quality of life, where good food and agriculture play important roles. We’re anxious to begin partnerships with businesses and farmers, schools and organizations in the area, and start working to become part of the community.”

Big hat tip to Mamatoga, who got this up on her blog really early this morning. She's got a newborn at home and she's still tearing up the breaking news, big round of applause. Another hat tip to Saratoga Idiots who posted this rumor weeks ago, alerting us to the possibility.

More on this later, I have to run to a meeting (that's a lie, photog Erica Miller just brought chocoloate-covered strawberries into the newsroom and I can no longer focus on writing)



Allstar changing hands (closing)?

We hear that Allstar — the GM-dealership-turned-service-station on Route 50 near SPAC — is closing but new information leads me to believe it might be just changing hands. I called the shop and the person who answered the phone (who declined to identify himself) said the shop's owner had a meeting with the owner of another body shop today but the phone answerer didn't know what the outcome of the meeting was. (So it sounded to me like the current owner wants to sell to someone else and that deal might be being negotiated right now, but that's a guess based on reading between the lines of my brief phone conversation)

The phone answerer suggested I call back tomorrow and speak to the shop manager, Rodney, which I will do.

Anyone got any information about that? Leave a comment, email me at edonohue@saratogian.com or call me 583-8729 ext. 213.

You may recall that Allstar was a Chevrolet Cadillac dealer until the fall of 2009 when the owner decided to drop its affiliation with then financially-troubled GM. The 40-year-old business became a Napa Auto Parts dealer and full-service body shop at that time.

So, if you've got any information about what's going on at Allstar, you know how to find me.


Sidenote: I'm really stumbling over the language in this post... what's a service center vs. mechanic vs. body shop vs. auto parts dealer? Help me out. Here's what I do know, when my car is making strange noises or behaving badly I call up Mr. Shaver at High Mills Garage in Burnt Hills (where I grew up) and he always helps me out. Not sure what exactly his title is... so I stick with "Mr."

"Hugs for Whiskas" (alt. title: the funniest picture in my inbox today)

I believe this is "Whiskas" Update: This dog's name is Brooklyn!

Got this press release in my inbox today:

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Starting Valentine’s Day drop off at Brooklyn Attitude Hair & Body, 135 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs; cat food, dog food, pet toys, treats and/or litter valued at $10.00 or more and a stylist will apply 1 Hair Treats, Reusable, Red Hair Extension. All collected goods will be distributed to our local animal shelters.

As a pet owner (12 cats and 1 dog) MaryAnn (Guerriero, of Brooklyn Attitude) is always thinking of ways to help in pet adoption. After reading about animal shelters struggling for funds and an overabundance of cats and dogs she came up with her idea. She hopes to collect over $2000.00 worth of goods and hopes to take “Hugs for Whiskas” to the national level next year.

MaryAnn has teamed up with BackStage Commerce. BackStage Commerce will be the official Hair Extensions sponsor of “Hugs for Whiskas” they have donated 200 Red Extensions.

Sounds like a good cause, so if you're an animal lover get over to Brooklyn Attitude next week.
Also, I could look at that picture of Whiskas all day. In fact, I plan to. I printed it out and taped it to my cubicle. 


Update: Got a comment from the Brooklyn Attitude folks, the pup's name is Brooklyn (not Whiskas as I mistakenly said), still cute thought!


Sangwych no more?

Last night I got a tip that Sangwych had closed so I walked over there a little while ago and, much to the chagrin of candied bacon lovers across the Spa City, the rumor appears to be true.
A man was at Sangwych clearing boxes out and into a trailer. He said he was 'with the eviction squad' and confirmed the Putnam Street sandwich stop had closed. He said he had taken 'everything of value' from the shop.
I called the number listed on their website and got a full voicemail box response.
We last wrote about Sangwych in September when the business, which opened in April 2011, changed hands. John Meyer, Jon Malm and Bobby Holt purchased the deli from former owner Ron Farber on Aug. 1, 2011.
Sangwych was having a tough couple months, it got a pretty bad review in the TU in December. 
I'm going to keep trying to reach the (former?) owner, so hopefully I will have some more information for you soon.

Emily Donohue


Spread the Valentine's Day love with baked treats from the Bread Basket

If you're looking for the perfect way to tell your favorite Online Editor (ahem, moi) just how much her blog posts mean to you, look no further.

The Bread Basket Bakery (65 Spring St.) is offering tons of tasty Valentine's Day treats this year, they issued this press release today :

Saratoga Springs, NY, Feb 2, 2012 – The Bread Basket Bakery at 65 Spring Street in Saratoga Springs NY wants to transform the way people shop for Valentine’s Day. You want an interesting treat for your special someone? You will find it at The Bread Basket Bakery.

Matthew Tallman, co-owner of the bakery explains, “I don’t think flowers will ever fall from the number one item on the valentine’s shopping list, but I do think this can be a huge holiday for bakeries across the country.”

This year the Bread Basket Bakery has expanded their menu to decadent chocolate covered strawberries and sweetheart cake pops. These little treats are in addition to the heart shaped sugar cookies, gingerbread men (hugging a candy heart) and the unbelievable cupcakes they already offer such as The Love Buzz (dark chocolate cupcake filled with coffee mousse, topped with mocha buttercream and drizzled with bittersweet chocolate) and The Chocolate Covered Strawberry cupcake (moist yellow cupcake, filled with strawberry mousse, topped with strawberry buttercream and dipped in dark chocolate ganache). These items are offered individually or in package deals.

“The $25 packages were created for the people who want a sampler of goodies we offer at a reasonable price. When a customer orders a package they receive almost 20% off the individual item’s retail price. This is a great deal for them and it allows us to manage the inventory as we get closer to the holiday. As we know, most people are last minute shoppers!”

So what exactly is a sweetheart cake pop? We have learned that this heart shaped treat looks and appears to be just like a lollipop – but without the hard crunch, the tootsie or the bubble gum center. Inside these little gems is a moist cake of various flavor combinations mixed with real homemade buttercream frosting. In the end it’s dipped in white or milk chocolate and allowed to dry for packaging.

“Cake pops are becoming the next cupcake. More versatile, more personal, less expensive. Oh, and less calories!” says one of the pop maker’s Kelly Rice.

If you are looking for a unique gift option for your sweetheart, your employees, or even your loyal customers, stop by The Bread Basket Bakery for a treat they will be sure to remember. Order your Valentine’s pops by February 10th OR order 100 or more and get 10% off the pops!

Yum! Definitely more creative than flowers or lingerie and certain to put a smile on your valentine's face. Especially if your valentine is me.


Mimosa Gallery moves to new Broadway home

We got the following press release from the folks at Mimosa Gallery yesterday (you'll recall that in December they found out their Beekman Street lease was not being renewed): 

After being located in the Arts District on Beekman Street in Saratoga Springs for over 7 years, Mimosa lost its lease at the end of 2011. Mimosa Gallery has now re-opened in a larger space at 489 Broadway.

To celebrate their opening and the 4th Annual “10x10=$100” exhibition, Mimosa will host an opening reception this Saturday, February 11th from 4-7pm. The public is invited.

The annual show is an exhibit of small works, no larger than 10”x10”, which will retail for no more than $100. It will run through March 18th. This customer favorite proves that “size does matter and small is good.” More than 75 artists responded to the gallery’s call for entries – yielding over 300 pieces of work. Landscapes, portraits, still life, collage, photography, and ceramics are included in this rich assortment of art. LaLonde states that “Purchasing the original art supports artists directly. Our artists are our community’s resource…………….our national treasures.”

Some of the local artists featured in this year’s 10”x10”=$100 include:
Ann Larsen

Gary Larsen

Elisa Sheehan

Michelle Winnie

Karen Elem

Randi Kish

Harry Wirtz

Amejo Amyot

Lynne Holstein


SPoT Coffee headed to new Market Center complex

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The first floor of the Market Center Apartments building Bonacio is now constructing on Railroad Place will house a coffee shop in addition to the long-planned Price Chopper.

SPoT Coffee — a Canadian company with coffee shops in Toronto, Buffalo, Rochester and Delray Beach, Fla. — confirmed Friday that they will open their 10th shop in Saratoga Springs.

The company says this is the first of three cafes planned for upstate New York. 

From the company's press release:

 SPoT Saratoga Springs, the Company's first cafe in this area, will highlight 2,460 square feet of space including 600 square feet of an indoor/outdoor atrium and additional outdoor patio space. The interior design will be aligned with SPoT's community-oriented cafe concept showcasing a unique wall sized mural capturing the culture of the surrounding community, dining and lounge style seating areas and a stage for live entertainment. SPoT's complete menu of gourmet food and specialty beverages will be offered including SPoT's famous Belgian waffles, freshly prepared gourmet pizzas, signature sandwiches, SPoT's own in-house roasted coffee and an assortment of freshly baked desserts and goods will be available.

Click here to read the full statement.

Sounds nice.

I have a call in to the folks at Bonacio to get their take on the plan and I'm also hoping to get some more information from SPoT (like a firmer open date, right now they're saying Spring 2012).

Bonacio held a 'topping off' ceremony at Market Center in December and construction is definitely progressing. 

Ok commenters, what do you think? Will SPoT be a welcome addition to the Spa City or are we already on enough of a caffeine buzz with several downtown coffee shops?

Emily Donohue


New store coming to downtown Ballston Spa

Photographer Erica Miller spotted this sign on Route 50 in Ballston Spa Monday... no one was in the store, but hopefully we'll have some details for you in the near future.