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Friday, February 23, 2024

Besties 2013: All the Food & Drink Category Winners

The best of the best of food and drink in the Capital Region for 2013.

Appetizer
The Standard, 1 Crossgates Mall Road, Albany
Sometimes we just need a bite to eat with our drinks, while other times we want to warm up our stomachs for the meal to come. With classic choices like sliders and chicken strips, and fancier items like coconut shrimp lollipops and oven-baked goat cheese, The Standard has you covered.
2. Garden Bistro 24, 1839 Central Avenue, Colonie
3. Creo’ Restaurant, 1475 Western Avenue, Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany

Bagels
Uncommon Grounds, 1235 Western Avenue, Albany and 402 Broadway, Saratoga
Uncommon Grounds has grown from a quiet, single-person operation in 1992 to a bustling, full-service gourmet coffee and bagel shop with two Capital Region locations. Their bagels are made from scratch on site each day and are perfect as the base of a custom sandwich or paired with the soup of the day.
2.  Bagel Tyme, 1Broad Street, Kinderhook; 41 North 7th Street, Hudson; 389 Fairview Avenue Greenport
3.  Bagels and Bakes, 1927 Curry Road, Schenectady

Bakery
Bella Napoli Italian American Bakery, 672 New Loudon Road, Latham
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it! That seems to be your motto when it comes to the best bakery around, with Bella Napoli being voted number one again this year. Their assortment of pastries, cookies and cakes are almost too pretty to eat – almost!
2.  Villa Italia Bakery, 226 Broadway, Schenectady
3.  The Cookie Factory, 520 Congress Street, Troy

Beer Selection (tie)
Wolff’s Biergarten, 895 Broadway, Albany
Brown’s Brewing Co., 417 River Street, Troy
This year, Brown’s Brewing Co. in Troy is sharing top honors with Wolff’s Biergarten, located in the ever-expanding warehouse district of downtown Albany. While they may be on opposite sides of the Hudson River, they do have a few things in common like an extensive and robust beer selection and legions of devoted customers.
2.  The Bier Abbey, 613 Union Street, Schenectady
3.  The Merry Monk, 90 N. Pearl Street, Albany

Bistro
Garden Bistro 24, 1839 Central Avenue, Colonie
Since it opened a few years ago, Garden Bistro 24 has been a mainstay on our annual survey. Winning this year for best bistro, French fries (which they call pomme frites) and soup, it’s the perfect choice for a casual meal and a relaxing drink, all at an attractive price.
2.  New World Bistro Bar, 300 Delaware Avenue, Albany
3.  DP: An American Brasserie, 25 Chapel Street, Albany

Bread
Perreca’s Bakery, 33 North Jay Street, Schenectady
Since 1913, the coal-fired brick oven used to bake the famed Perreca’s bread has hardly had time to cool down. With an authentic thick crust and unique nutty flavor, their bread has turned the bakery into a Capital Region landmark. There’s nothing better than a loaf hot out of their oven!
2.  Bella Napoli Italian American Bakery, 672 New Loudon Road, Latham
3.  The Placid Baker, 250 Broadway, Troy

Breakfast (tie)
Latham ‘76 Diner, 722 New Loudon Road, Latham
Family owned and operated from the start and winning the best breakfast title ever since their doors opened.  Outstanding food and home town atmosphere.
Top’s American Grill Bakery & Bar, 351 Duanesburg Road, Schenectady
Schenectady reigns supreme for dinner but now Top’s with their fantastic food and great service extends the trophy case.
2.  The Iron Roost, 36 Front Street, Ballston Spa
3.  Café Madison, 1108 Madison Avenue, Albany

Burger
Juicy Burgers & More, 5 New Karner Road, Albany
and 15 Trieble Avenue, Ballston Spa
Juicy Burgers & More is a quick-serve restaurant that features fresh, never frozen steak burgers cooked to order in a specially-designed 1800 degree oven-fired broiler. Customers can even order from a computer terminal at the store or online from home. Once the order is placed, it is either delivered to your table or ready for take-out.
2.  (tie) Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In, 5 Schonowee Avenue, Scotia and Jack’s Drive-In, 24 Main Avenue, Wynantskill
3.  Main Street Grille, 857 Main Street, Clifton Park

Burrito
Bombers Burrito Bar, 258 Lark Street, Albany
and 447 State Street, Schenectady
From its’ humble beginnings as a small takeout restaurant in 1997, Bombers Burrito Bar has quickly become the go-to place when a burrito craving strikes. Served with a side of chips and salsa, they are packed with your choice of ingredients, from chicken or beef to pulled pork or bar-b-que tofu.
2.  El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant,144 Washington Avenue, Albany
and 289 Hamilton Street, Albany
3.  El Loco Mexican Cafe, 465 Madison Avenue, Albany

Cakes
Villa Italia Bakery, 226 Broadway, Schenectady
Villa boasts a delicious selection of specialty cakes and the ability to create your own, and more than 40 unique varieties of mini pastries, cookies and desserts. Bring them to your next party or gathering or pick up a box just for you. (we won’t tell!)
2.  Coccadotts Cake Shop, 1179 Central Avenue, Albany; 22 Clifton Country Road, Clifton Park;
3.  Fluffalicious Bake Shoppe, 1693 Central Avenue, Albany

Chili
The Hungry Fish Cafe, 615 Pawling Avenue, Troy
The Hungry Fish Cafe’s “Award Winning Chili” has certainly lived up to its name, claiming the top spot for the first time in this category on our survey. Theirs is an all-natural beef-based Chicago-style chili made from scratch and served with homemade bread, perfect for soaking up every last drop.
2.  Jose Malones Mexican Irish Restaurant, 405 River Street, Troy
3.  El Loco Mexican Cafe, 465 Madison Avenue, Albany

Cider Donut
Golden Harvest Farms, 3074 US Route 9, Valatie
Golden Harvest Farms has five machines that turn out their famous cider donuts every day. It’s hard to go wrong when you’ve got home-grown apples pressed fresh through an antique cider press to add that delicious flavor. The only question left is sugar or plain?
2.  Indian Ladder Farms, 342 Altamont Voorheesville Road, Altamont
3.  Lakeside Farms and Cider Mill, 336 Schauber Road, Ballston Lake

Coffee
Stewart’s Shops, various locations
With 324 convenient locations throughout Upstate New York and Vermont, Stewart’s Shops is at the rescue when you need that extra caffeine boost. They offer a variety of flavors for all coffee lovers, available in three sizes. The best part? You make your own so it’s just the way you love it.
2.  Uncommon Grounds, 1235 Western Avenue, Albany
and 402 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
3.  Tierra Farm, 2424 State Route 203, Valatie

Comfort Food
Hattie’s Restaurant, 45 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs and Hattie’s Chicken Shack, 3-57 Route 50, Saratoga Springs
Serving fine Southern home-cooking in a friendly, down-home atmosphere, Hattie’s has legions of fans that believe they serve the best comfort food around. Their famous fried chicken has been a favorite of locals since Hattie’s was established in 1938. Their long history of feeding Capital Region residents is sure to continue for many years to come.
2.  Comfort Kitchen, 454 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
3.  Blue Ribbon Restaurant, 1801 State Street, Schenectady

Cupcakes
Coccadotts Cake Shop, 1179 Central Avenue, Albany; 22 Clifton Country Road, Clifton Park
Salsa and chips, pepperoni pizza and beer with lime. No, that’s not the grocery list for your next party – it’s just a few of the creative cupcake flavors you can find at Coccadotts Cake Shop! They’ve got all the classic staples too, perfect for any occasion.
2.  Fluffalicious Bake Shoppe, 1693 Central Avenue, Albany
3.  (tie) Make Me A Cake Next Door,  378 Delaware Ave, DelmarBettie’s Cakes, various locations

Deli
Gershon’s Deli & Caterers, 1600 Union Street, Schenectady
For six years and counting, Gershon’s Deli has taken the top spot in the best deli category on our yearly survey. Their loyal customers know anything they order is as fresh as possible and thoughtfully-made. Have a big appetite? An over-stuffed sandwich with their house-made meats will fix that!
2.  Roma Food Imports, 9 Cobbee Road, Latham and 222 Washington Street, Saratoga Springs
3.  Nosh NY Delicatessen, 1645 Western Avenue, Albany

Dessert
Villa Italia Bakery, 226 Broadway, Schenectady
Villa Italia is the one place where you need to eat dessert first.  Forget the diets, forget your nutritional dinner and just eat their desserts.  I am giving you permission.
2.  Bella Napoli Italian American Bakery, 672 New Loudon Road, Latham
3.  677 Prime, 677 Broadway, Albany and Sweet Sues, 203 River Street, Troy (tie)

Diner

Latham ‘76 Diner, 722 New Loudon Road, Latham
40 years, 200 menu items, 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year – what do these numbers all add up to? The best diner in the Capital Region, of course! Latham ’76 is the perfect gathering place for family and friends who want a great meal for a great value.
2.  Blue Ribbon Restaurant, 1801 State Street, Schenectady
3.  (tie) Bob’s Diner, 929 19th Street, Watervliet and Alexis Diner, 294 North Greenbush Road, Troy

Dining on a Budget
Kay’s Pizza, 10 Walsh Lane, Averill Park
Just because you’re pinching pennies doesn’t mean you can’t eat like a king. Seasonal restaurant Kay’s Pizza in Averill Park has a dedicated fan base that can’t wait until April rolls around when they open for the summer. Bring the family and you’ll see how far, and how much food, your money gets you.
2.  Ted’s Fish Fry, various locations
3.  Don & Paul’s Coffee Shoppe, 68 Broad Street, Waterford

Fine Dining
Angelo’s 677 Prime, 677 Broadway, Albany
It’s no secret that Angelo’s 677 Prime is the place to go for the best-tasting steak in an upscale dining atmosphere. The attention to detail and only the highest standards make it a no-brainer and sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.
2.  Yono’s, 25 Chapel Street, Albany
3.  (tie) Jack’s Oyster House, 42 State Street, Albany and Athos Restaurant, 1814 Western Avenue, Albany

Fish Fry
Ted’s Fish Fry, various locations
Ted’s Fish Fry has again been voted the best around for the 8th year in a row and counting. They have perfected the art of the fish fry and have made themselves conveniently available to Capital Region residents with five different locations. And don’t feel too guilty about the fried food – they use zero percent trans-fat cooking oil.
2.  Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry, 1007 Central Avenue, Albany
3.  Gene’s Fish Fry, 300 Troy Road, Rensselaer

French Fries

Garden Bistro 24, 1839 Central Avenue, Colonie
Pomm Frites in paper cones….there truly is nothing quite like it.  Whether you eat them with the marvelous mussels or with a steak at Garden Bistro, you will be in French fried heaven.
2.  The Brown Bag, 156 4th Street, Troy
3.  Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In, 5 Schonowee Avenue, Scotia

Happy Hour
The City Beer Hall, 42 Howard Street, Albany
Happy hour in the Capital Region has just been kicked up a notch. The City Beer Hall, our winner this year, boasts 16 craft beers on tap, a huge outdoor area, a mechanical bull and no cover charge, ever. Not to mention, patrons get a free personal pizza with every beer or cocktail purchased. We know where we’re headed after work!
2.  Creo’ Restaurant, 1475 Western Avenue, Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany
3.  Albany Pump Station, 19 Quackenbush Square, Albany

Hot Dogs

Gus’s Hot Dogs, 212 25th Street, Watervliet
Established in 1954, Gus’s has been serving up the best hot dogs with all the fixings ever since. Their business thrives off of word of mouth, and their loyal customers can’t seem to stop talking about how great they are. One look at the line of people down the street waiting to order is proof enough.
2.  Mike’s Hot Dogs, 1135 Erie Boulevard, Schenectady
3.  Hot Dog Charlie’s, various locations

Ice Cream
Guptill’s Coney Express Ice Cream, 1085 New Loudon Road, Latham
Located right next to the largest indoor roller skating arena in the world, Guptill’s Coney Express is the perfect place to go for a chilly treat on a warm day. There are so many flavor choices that it might be hard to choose. Good thing you’ll have the whole summer to try them all!
2.  Kurver Kreme, 1349 Central Avenue, Albany
3.  The Snowman Ice Cream, 531 5th Avenue, Troy

Kid Friendly Restaurant
Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In, 5 Schonowee Avenue, Scotia
With fireworks, a view of the river and a nearby park to keep them entertained, Jumpin’ Jack’s is a Capital Region institution for children in the summer. Add their Jack burger and a tall cone of soft serve, and it’s the place your kids will love to make memories.
2.  KOTO Japanese Steakhouse, 260 Wolf Road Extension, Albany

Late Night Dining
The Brown Bag, 156 4th Street, Troy
Open from 6pm-6am, The Brown Bag in Troy solves the problem of where to get a great burger when you’re out past closing time. Perfect for students and night owls alike, it’s also a must for burger enthusiasts. Where else will you find a bacon burger on a glazed donut with peanut butter?
2.  Latham ‘76 Diner, 722 New Loudon Road, Latham
3.  Bob’s Diner, 929 19th Street, Watervliet

Lunch
Pepper Jack’s, 192 North Allen Street, Albany
Thirteen years old, Pepper Jack’s offers everything from salads and wraps to paninis and authentic Philly cheesesteaks. It’s the perfect place to grab lunch on the go or have it delivered to the office to help get you through the day.
2.  Garden Bistro 24, 1839 Central Avenue, Colonie
3.  Halfmoon Sandwich Shop, 1615 Route 9, Clifton Park

Mac & Cheese (tie)
Mingle, 544 Delaware Avenue, Albany
At Mingle, there is a variety of mac and cheese options to choose from including lobster mac, chicken and spinach mac, or kimchi and pork belly mac.
Druthers Brewing Company, 381 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
Druthers’ “Loaded Mac and Cheese” features bacon, smoked chicken, ranch, house BBQ and house-blended cheeses. That sound you just heard was our stomach growling.
2.  Hattie’s Restaurant, 45 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs
3.  Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 377 River Street, Troy

Martini
Bangkok Bistro, 1619 Central Avenue, Colonie
and 268 State Street, Schenectady
Unique to the Capital Region, Bangkok Bistro is more than just an array of Thai dishes and sushi rolls, it’s a martini bar as well. Stop in on Wednesday nights for $4 martinis until midnight. It’s also karaoke night, which might make those drinks come in handy!
2.  The Standard, 1 Crossgates Mall Road, Albany
3.  9 Maple Avenue, 9 Maple Avenue, Saratoga Springs

Meatballs
Testo’s Italian Restaurant, 124 Street & 4th Avenue, Troy
It’s hard to have one without the other, so it’s no surprise that Testo’s won for best meatballs and sauce. And if you can’t make it to their restaurant, you can enjoy their sauce in the comfort of your home by purchasing it locally stores. Eat in, or takeout, you won’t be disappointed with these Italian classics.
2.  Saucy Mama, Amsterdam
3.  Canali’s Restaurant, 126 Mariaville Road, Schenectady

Sauce
Testo’s Italian Restaurant, 124 Street & 4th Avenue, Troy
Sauce is the true mothers’ milk for Italian food.  Thick and wonderfully seasoned, Testo’s sauce rocks in their restaurants and on the shelves at our local food markets.
2.  Villa Valenti, 369 West Sand Lake Road, Wynantskill
3.  Saucy Mama, Amsterdam

Takeout
Testo’s Italian Restaurant, 124 Street & 4th Avenue, Troy
Pizza is terrific for a night of no cooking but at Testos you can pick up and take out everything on their comprehensive menu.  Why not take out  a night out of relaxion by not cooking
2.  Pepper Jack’s, 192 North Allen Street, Albany
3.  The Purple Pub, 2 Cohoes Road, Watervliet

Outdoor Dining
The Waters Edge Lighthouse, 2 Freemans Bridge Road, Glenville
One of the main attractions for dining al fresco is a great view, and that’s just what you get at the Waters Edge Lighthouse. Located right on the Mohawk River, patrons enjoy gazing at the water and boaters passing by as they eat. Excellent service only adds to the overall atmosphere.
2.  Wine Bar and Bistro, 200 Lark Street, Albany
3.  Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In, 5 Schonowee Avenue, Scotia

Pizza (tie)
Kay’s Pizza, 10 Walsh Lane, Averill Park
The pizza ids the same wonderful pizza but as of 2012 there are new owners who pledge that they will never mess with success.  The pizza recipe will always be the same and why not. The pizza maker is now one of the owners!  Stop by for some new  appetizers additions to the menu.
The Fountain Restaurant, 283 New Scotland Avenue, Albany
Conveniently located for everyone in Albany but, worth a trip from outside too.
2.  Romo’s Pizza, 397 Feura Bush Road, Glenmont
3.  (tie) The Purple Pub, 2 Cohoes Road, Watervliet and DeFazio’s Pizzeria, 266 4th Street, Troy

Pub
The Purple Pub, 2 Cohoes Road, Watervliet
Open since 1972, The Purple Pub’s customer base has grown with each passing year. After 40 years, they now see past customer’s children and grandchildren dining with them. We’re sure their legacy will carry on with future generations.
2. Swifty’s Restaurant and Pub, 367 Delaware Avenue, Delmar
3. Beff’s, 95 Everett Road, Albany

Pulled Pork
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 377 River Street, Troy
Make sure you have your napkins ready when you order at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Their ribs are covered in their signature sauces and the pulled pork sandwich is too good not to devour. The messier, the better!
2.  Capital Q Smokehouse, 329 Ontario Street, Albany
3.  Iron Pig BBQ, 134 Saratoga Avenue, South Glens Falls

Ribs
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 377 River Street, Troy
The ribs are Dinosaur are covered with their signature sauces and smoked to absolute perfection. They will fall away in your mouth in blissful chewing joy.
2. Capital Q Smokehouse, 329 Ontario Street, Albany
3. Iron Pig BBQ, 134 Saratoga Avenue, South Glens Falls

Most Romantic (tie)
Prime at Saratoga National, 458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs Angelo’s 677 Prime, 677 Broadway, Albany
If there’s one thing Mazzone Hospitality knows, other than fine dining, it’s how to make their restaurants romantic. After all, they operate both winners in this category this year. Searching for the perfect place to take that certain someone? Look no further than these two establishments.
2.  Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark, 200 Lark Street, Albany
3.  Longfellows, 500 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs

Sandwich/Sub (tie)

Gershon’s Deli & Caterers, 1600 Union Street, Schenectady
Gershon’s Deli & Caterers is an area winner year after year.  Close your eyes and you will swear you are in a deli in the Big Apple with a big sandwich!
Positano Importing, 1202 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham
Positano Importing shares the title this year. Postiano Importing uses only the freshest of ingredients and super creative combinations.
2.  Halfmoon Sandwich Shop, 1615 Route 9, Clifton Park
3.  Deli & Brew, 64 Vandenburgh Avenue, Troy

Sports Bar
Recovery Sports Grill, various locations
With seven current Capital Region locations and one more on the way, sports fans have their pick of Recovery Sports Grills to choose from on game day (or any day!).You can even put your football knowledge to the test with trivia nights on Mondays and Thursdays.
2.  Wolf’s 1-11 Restaurant & Games, 111 Wolf Road, Albany
3.  Graney’s Bar & Grill, 275 New Scotland Avenue, Albany

Steak
Angelo’s 677 Prime, 677 Broadway, Albany
Hands down, whatever type of steak or cut, whatever size you wish to eat, you will be blown away with what a great steak tastes like.  It tastes like 677 Prime.
2.  The Barnsider, 480 Sand Creek Road, Albany
3.  (tie) Garden Bistro 24, 1839 Central Avenue, Colonie and The Log Jam Restaurant, 1484 U.S. 9, Lake George

Soup
Garden Bistro 24, 1839 Central Avenue, Colonie
There are soups and there are soups that are so delicious that you are happy to have them as your meal.  The later is what is spooned out at Garden Bistro.
2.  Bountiful Bread, 1475 Western Avenue, Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany
3.  Chris’s Café, 1048 US-9, Valatie

Sushi
KOTO Japanese Steakhouse, 260 Wolf Road Extension, Albany
KOTO’s sushi bar features a variety of delicious choices, all of them off-the-boat fresh and beautifully crafted by their skilled chefs. Your dining experience will stay with you for days, just like their catchy theme song!
2.  Sushi X, 710 New Loudon Road, Latham
3.  Shogun, 457 Madison Avenue, Albany

Tapas/Small Plates
Risotto, 360 Northern Boulevard, Albany
Risotto has a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere and offers a unique blend of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Their expansive tapas menu includes items such as eggplant roulade, stuffed shrimp and mushroom napoleon, all served with warm, herbed pita.
2.  Boca Bistro, 384 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
3.  The Charles F. Lucas Confectionary and Wine Bar, 12 2nd Street, Troy

img src=”http://crlmag.com/images/articles/2013-April-BO-Wine-large-mioVino.jpg” alt=”” style=”padding-left: 10px;” align=”right” />Wine List
Mio Vino Wine Bar & Bistro, 186 Main Street, Altamont
The owners of Mio Vino had a vision of an environment in which people can share an evening with friends and family, enhanced by fine wines in a cozy atmosphere. Not only do they have an eclectic list of red and whites to choose from with your meal, they also offer personalized wine storage lockers, designed to allow you the flexibility of housing your very own personal collection within their restaurant.
2.  The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark, 200 Lark Street, Albany
3.  The Charles F. Lucas Confectionary and Wine Bar, 12 2nd Street, Troy

Wings
Ale House, 680 River Street, Troy
The Ale House in Troy has been well-known and loved for their wings for decades. They’ve got your traditional mild, medium and hot, but they also offer garlic parmesan and unique tequila chipotle wings. There’s a reason they are consistently voted the best of the best, but don’t just take our word for it, try them yourselves!
2.  Side Door Café, 1656 Western Avenue, Albany
3.  (tie) The Rusty Nail, 1781 US 9, Clifton Park and The Towne Tavern, 2850 NY 43, Averill Park

Yogurt
Plum Dandy Frozen Yogurt and Toppings, 419 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
Plum Dandy boasts a loaded toppings bar with a wide selection of seasonal fruits, candy, nuts and more sweet treats to top your favorite frozen yogurt. Each time you visit can be a new experience. They say that once you get a taste of their fro yo, you’ll be hooked. We have to agree!
2.  Dante’s Frozen Yogurt, 274 River Street, Troy
3.  Lemondrop Frozen Yogurt, 65 Wolf Road, Albany

Top 3 New Restaurants
The Charles F. Lucas Confectionary & Wine Bar, 12 2nd Street, Troy
Mio Posto, 68 Putnam Street, Saratoga Springs
Iron Roost, 36 Front Street, Ballston Spa

It seems like new and exciting eateries are popping up all the time in the Capital Region. This past year has been no different, with these three newbies proving that you don’t have to be around for very long to attract a following. Whether you are looking for a happy hour spot complete with wine and candy, a petite American Italian restaurant showcasing local and seasonal products, or have a hankering for a gourmet waffle, you can’t go wrong with small businesses like these.

 

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