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Monday, April 15, 2024

Besties 2013: Capital Region Masters of the Art of Lunch

'Capital Region Living' digs into the best lunch spots in the area.

“Let’s do lunch” is an often-mocked phrase that is stereotypically attributed to women who are wealthy and bored. But that is certainly not the case here in the Capital Region.

Europeans eat lunch as their heavy meal of the day and leave lighter fare to the evening hours. Here, we work, eat, go back to work or hold meetings during lunch to multi-task our busy lives. Because of this, many of us appreciate “The Art of Lunch” and we are here to recognize the restaurants that are favorites among our readers.

Whether you work to eat, eat to work or just enjoy lunch out (as you should) you will enjoy our list of favorite places to “lunch”.

In downtown Albany, Jack’s Oyster House and Angelo’s 677 Prime seem to be the places to work and lunch, while enjoying great food. These were the picks of executives we heard from on social media. They were willing to spend longer than the average 30-minute lunch break and combine important conversations with higher-than-average lunch entrees. Cocktails were an important part of what we heard as well. Ahhh, I can hear the deals being made as I write this.

Garden Bistro 24 and KOTO Japanese Restaurant (both in Colonie) appear to be our mid-range choices on price, but certainly not on quality. People rave about the sushi lunches at Koto and the soups and salads (especially the Caesar) at Garden Bistro 24. Business is conducted, but with a lighter touch. Intermingled with the executive group are friends getting together and enjoying excellent food.

We were let in on a little secret located on 28 E Main Street in Johnstown – Forever Young’s. We were  also told to try the wonderful omelets. We’re on it!

One place that I always seem to find myself on a Saturday afternoon is another favorite – the counter at Bella Napoli Bakery  in Latham. Yes, you will have to eat next to the most delicious Italian pastries and exercise extreme will power, but it’s well worth it. The cappuccino, soups, subs and fresh hard rolls are out of this world.

Two of the more interesting picks were The Ugly Rooster Cafe in Mechanicville and The Whistling Kettle in Ballston Spa. Both culinary gems have some fantastic choices for lunch.  The Whistling Kettle has a great Afternoon Tea with your choice of soup or salad, a savory item and dessert, along with a pot of tea to carry throughout the rest of your day.  At the Ugly Rooster, chef Ariel Pagan does a great job with some spicy favorites as well as a choice of Moos or Clucks items (not kidding ..see their menu).

D’Raymonds Restaurant in Loudonville is another popular spot and the portion sizes are massive;  more than most will eat for lunch, but that makes D’Raymonds a cost-effective, as well as a delicious one. And you won’t have to cook dinner that night.

Several people noted about missing lunch from Platt’s Place in Colonie. Well, my goodness, that has been gone for ages and we really need to move on after all these years. So let’s move on to the new Positano Importing in Latham where we hear the sandwiches and subs are outstanding.

More Perreca’s was another choice, and of course, we all know that their bread is legendary. For years, the Capital Region has looked to Perreca’s in the Little Italy section of Schenectady for the BEST bread, but now the family has opened a restaurant next door for us to enjoy all their other homemade  recipes.  It is truly outstanding.

In Watervliet, two perennial favorites in our “Best Of the Capital Region” issue recieved many mentions. I’m sure you can guess: Gus’s Hot Dogs and Bob’s Diner.  You can eat a lot of lunch for a small amount of money at each place. You better dine alone at Gus’s, though.  The “loaded” hotdogs are great, but I doubt a business lunch would be appropriate.

Four Corners Luncheonette in Delmar is the “go to” place for the staff at CRL, but we are not the only folks who appreciate their homemade entrees. You feel like you’re entering your friend’s kitchen when you walk through the doors and see the familiar faces. It is a combination of comfort food and eclectic healthy choices that keeps regular patrons coming back for more.

If you like sports 24/7 and want to munch a little lunch while watching your favorite team, then you will want to head to the Recovery Room Sports Grill on Hoosick Street in Troy. The food is good and the service is quick…you can literally veg out on your favorite game before heading back to the office for REAL LIFE.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Casola Dining Room at Schenectady Community College. This wonderful college has been turning out great cooks for many years and many aren’t aware that you can eat at the restaurant where training takes place each and every day under the direction of great chefs and teachers.

Reservations are taken for ALL meals beginning at 10am exactly two weeks in advance of the desired date that you would like to dine.  I love that Casola was chosen by many as a great place for lunch because it is also a great place for education, banquets and dinner.  It is an all around winner for the Capital Region!

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