If there’s one thing Capital Region residents look forward to each spring, it’s when their favorite ice cream shop opens for the season. Sure, the frozen stuff’s fantastic—a vanilla-chocolate twist with rainbow sprinkles? Yes, please!—but part of the allure of going out for a cone in the summer is that you can’t during the winter months. And as a certain slice of foodie fandom will tell you, that business model also happens to work for Averill Park pizza joint and perennial Bestie winner Kay’s Pizza.
Open from early April to mid-October, Kay’s—which this year nabbed a first-place Bestie for Pizza, plus seconds in Kid-friendly Dining, Rensselaer County Restaurant and West Sand Lake/Averill Park Restaurant—is a pizza-lover’s paradise located on the shore of Burden Lake. Formerly an inn, the property was purchased by Kay and Vic Campagna in 1958 and transformed into a pizza restaurant (the couple lived on the second floor). Since then, Kay’s has changed hands several times, with current owners Tom and James Lilly, a father-son duo, taking over in 2011.
Despite the ownership changes, the original Campagna family pizza recipe hasn’t been lost. Sixty-three years later, Tom and James are still slinging pies crafted with the same house-made dough and sauce used by the shop’s founders, and Capital Region pizza-holics are still lining up in the parking lot by the dozens to get it.
But Kay’s pizza, which comes in varieties such as Hawaiian, Thai Chili Chicken, Capt. Bill Clam Steam and Everything (12 toppings!), isn’t the only reason people make the trek out to Burden Lake. Kay’s also serves plenty of Italian-inspired appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrées. Seafood, too, is in high demand—try the spiral shrimp, fish fry or fried scallops, or go with the seafood platter for a sampling of all three—and is best enjoyed on the restaurant’s lakeside porch.
What are you waiting for? Pizza season at Kay’s will be over before you know it.