245 Lark Street
518.434.3861 Fax: 518.434.4052
April 3, 2013
on the Park Tickets on Sale Now
Tickets for Champagne on the Park, the Lark Street Business
Improvement District's annual fundraiser, are now on sale. The
event will be held on Thursday, May 9th
5:30-9:30 in Washington Park.
Lark Street Business Improvement District is proud to present its
annual event Champagne on the Park, a gala among the formal tulip
beds of Washington Park. Champagne on the Park honors members of the
Lark Street community, while also celebrating the people and
businesses that help make the community so distinctive and vibrant.
The event will honor the late Chris Schloss, former President of the
Lark Street BID, and former owner of Scratch Bakery. The event will
feature an evening full of complimentary champagne, fine wine, hors'
d'oeuvres from Lark Street BID merchants, and the Graham
on the Park
is a fundraiser that supports the year-round efforts of the Lark
Street Business Improvement District to continue the growth of the
economic and urban development and sustainability of this unique
neighborhood through programs including neighborhood safety and
marketing, street maintenance and beautification, as well as special
events and promotions. The success of Champagne
on the Park
and the ongoing programs of the Lark Street BID depend on the
generous support of our friends, neighbors, and other supporters.
can be purchased on the Lark Street BID website, www.larkstreet.org,
or by calling 518.434.3861 ext. 4. Tickets purchased in advance of
the event are $60 for an individual or $100 for a couple. Groups of
10-20, tickets are $35 and groups of more than 20, tickets are $30.
Tickets can also be purchased at the event for $70 for an individual
or $120 for a couple.
more information call 518-434-3861 or go to www.larkstreet.org.
In winter, spring, summer, and fall, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) releases its Downtown Digest, a quarterly publication that highlights Downtown businesses, news, events, properties, and more. The upcoming spring issue will be released in early April. You can find this publication in print at businesses located throughout the Downtown district (the general vicinity includes Madison to Clinton and Broadway to Eagle) as well as digitally at downtownalbany.org.
One of the articles slated for the publication is The Power of RE, which highlights re-inventions of Downtown businesses through marketing and business development initiatives. There were so many businesses to feature and not enough publication room in the print issue, so we are offering additional examples of RE here on Albany Buzz. For this post we will focus on local celebrity chef, Carmine Spiro, who recently made a return to his classic Italian roots.
© 2012 Julia Zave
"I miss the old place," was a nostalgic comment repeated to Carmine Spiro over the past year by devoted patrons. Originally part of a residential and retail conversion, located at 4-6 Sheridan Avenue in downtown Albany, Carmine made the leap back to his Italian roots and refocused on his expert cuisine. Now, the Italian Restaurant is reconnecting with patrons, both new and old, with beautiful plates of traditional classics with modern twists, true to the chef's signature style.
Looking after guests - whether from the bar, from the kitchen or at your table - it's clear that for Carmine (who can be anywhere in the restaurant at a given time), his patrons are the chief priority.
"I choose to listen to my customer's repeated requests and reconnected the business to Italian cuisine," says Carmine, "Giving the customer an experience they will be remember is at the heart of everything our establishment and I want to stand for. It's simple really - give people what they want."
Carmine's Restaurant | 4 Sheridan Avenue | 518.729.4477
Make sure to keep an eye out for the Downtown Digest and be in the know of everything that is happening Downtown.
See you Downtown.
Spotlight--Red Poppies: A Polish Pantry
With the hopes of bringing
Polish culinary and cultural traditions to Albany, Joanna Keblinski
opened Red Poppies: A Polish Pantry on Lark Street in October of
2012. Joanna moved from Poland to the United States during the
nineties, and brought her Polish roots and traditions along with her.
She spent years cooking Polish dishes in her own personal kitchen,
before deciding to open her own business and share her knowledge of
Polish cuisine with the world.
a long list of deli goods, soups, traditional Polish gourmet items
and a huge assortment of teas, at Red Poppies there is something on
the menu for everyone. Red Poppies: A Polish Pantry also offers their
services for special orders and catering. Open 6 days a week, from
Tuesday to Friday 11:00am- 6:30 pm and Saturday, Sunday from
12:00pm-5:00pm. Come on down to A Polish Pantry and experience a
traditional Polish meal.
How long have you been in business?
Our shop opened in late October 2012.
Describe your business.
Red Poppies is a gourmet deli specializing in foods of Polish origin,
be they deli meats, prepared meals, or imports from Poland. But we
are interested in selling more than just food - we hope to present
Polish culinary and cultural traditions.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
Red poppies have a historical and traditional meaning. Poppy seeds
are often used in Polish cooking, especially in preparing the famous
makowiec pastry. Traditionally, poppy seeds used to be kept in large
bushels in Polish pantries, their large number a symbol and good omen
of wealth and abundance. Historically, the red poppy recalls the
Polish forces that advanced on Monte Cassino in World War 2, where
they fought and died valiantly. The hill they charged, to this day,
is covered in red poppies. We chose this name to recall both the
traditional culinary and historical meanings. Both, we believe, are
easily identified with Poland.
What do you think makes your business stand out from others in the
While we like and frequent many of the shops around Lark St., Red
Poppies complements the neighborhood by supplying a few things that
are otherwise unavailable, that is, freshly cooked Polish food,
imported products, and delicious Polish deli meats made by famous
Polish-run firms in Brooklyn.
Since opened, what has been your biggest success for your business?
Our success accumulates in small doses. Every customer who lets us
know they enjoy our food and services gives us a boost in morale.
Taken together, the positive sentiments of our customers are our
As a small business owner, what are some of the biggest challenges
you have faced?
As a small business, and especially one renting a space, it is always
difficult to expand our services by upgrading our kitchen area and
hiring more staff to help grow the business. We're frequently faced
with external constraints that limit our capacity to provide for our
What is your favorite part about running your business?
My favorite part of running the business is interacting with
customers who are curious to know more about Polish food and culture,
and subsequently serving them foods they have never tried before but
discover that they greatly enjoy.
Did you have any education or prior experience before opening this
I have a degree in film criticism and I have worked as a journalist
in the past. My culinary experience comes from cooking for friends
and family and traveling around the world to learn more about various
How do you see your business growing in the future?
We're currently planning to expand our kitchen and hire more staff so
we can diversify our menu. If we're successful in this, then we will
think about the next step.
Looking back, is there anything you would do different?
Every day brings many decisions and challenges, there are really too
many to think about having done something differently. Nothing big
What made you choose Lark street as your businesses location?
We're residents of this neighborhood, and we chose Lark St.
specifically to cater to our local community. We enjoy living here,
and we hope our shop helps maintain the positive atmosphere of the
Out of the assortment of teas you sell, which is your favorite?
I think that the fruit teas are the most spectacular. The "Forest
Fruit" tea in particular, has a beautiful strong fragrance, even
before it has been steeped. When I'm heading to bed however, I like
to sip on chamomile tea to relax.
On your Facebook page, you posted about collecting money for homeless
animals. Are there any other charities you support through your
We set aside a large portion of our tips for charity. Each month we
contribute to a different cause. December's tip jar went to a local
veteran's association, January's to a dog in need of spinal surgery,
and February's to homeless animals. Each month we post these
charities to our Facebook page and ask our fans to suggest other
programs that we could support. Look for updates at the end of March.
All of your desserts sound amazing, which is your favorite to cook
All of them are quite laborious to make, I'd rather tell you which is
my favorite to eat. That would be our star product, the makowiec, or
poppy seed roll, because its complex flavors make it a luxurious
addition to afternoon tea.
If you could recommend one item off the menu to people who have not
tried Polish food yet, what would it be?
Everyone loves our stews, especially the Breton bean stew. Seems like
a safe bet for a recommendation.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Your questions have covered a lot! Nothing more to add.
Yesterday was supposedly the first day of spring. Why is it so cold? What is all this white fluffy stuff? What is going to happen to the tulips? These are just a few of the questions that come to mind when winter prevails in late March. This my friend, is what we call Global Weirding.
[glṓb'l weerding ]
1. odd weather occurrences: an alternative belief to global warming that climate change will result in weather related extremes, both hot and cold, becoming increasingly intense.
Although it doesn't feel like spring quite yet, we can still pretend. Here's three ways to get into a warm weather mindset and overcome your winter woes.
Nothing screams warm weather like an ice cold drink. Downtown's many lunch spots, cafes, or restaurants offer many frosty beverages: milk shakes, margaritas, smoothies, or whatever floats your boat (mmm ice cream float). I just had a milk shake at Dallas Hot Wieners and it hit the spot. The heat is on inside, who needs to worry about the temperature outside. Do yourself a favor, order your first iced drink tomorrow.
If you really want to be imaginative, book a hotel and pretend you are on a summer vacation. Put on a bathing suit under your snow pants and head to the pool. Hilton Albany, the Holiday Inn Express, and Steuben Athletic Club are all equipped with this amenity.
Switch your computer screen's desktop background to an exotic beach scene. Close your eyes, pretend you are at your favorite hot spot, and maybe, just maybe, it will feel like the weather is warmer.
Cross your fingers that this past winter storm was a fluke and that the weather starts acting less weird. Is it me or does it seem like the Groundhog is usually wrong? See you Downtown
St. Patrick's Day Weekend is going to fly by fast. Where do you plan to celebrate? With so much going on we thought it would be nice to gather a timeline of Downtown Celtic festivities for your disposal. From green beer at various pubs to a museum dedicated to Irish culture, if you are looking to celebrate your Irish heritage this weekend, downtown Albany has got you covered.
© 2012 Julia Zave
St. Patsy's Day | Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Freshen up for the weekend at Patsy's Barber Shop. This historic Downtown barber shop offers African ribbon mahogany paneling, cut glass mirrors, white marble stations with rose marble trim, brass fixtures, a waiting area with eight comfortable chairs, and a prime location to clean up for all of your St. Patsy's, I mean St. Patty's Day needs with rose marble trim, brass fixtures, a waiting area with 8 comfortable chairs, and a prime location.s with rose marble trim, brass fixtures, a waiting area with 8 comfortable chairs, and a prime locati
Pub Crawl | Friday March 15th Starting at 8:00 PM
One night of St. Patrick's Day not enough for you? Head over to downtown Albany for the Capital City Crawl - St. Patrick's Day Edition. Party with over 2,000 people at the following bars: City Beer Hall, Legends on Pearl, Blue 82, Buddha Tea House, Pearl Street Pub, Bayou Café, and McGeary's Irish Pub. $10 tickets for the crawl can be purchased at City Beer Hall and includes admission to all participating venues, a 12 oz St. Patty's Day Crawl Cup, green beer, a "Stay Calm and Bar Crawl" St. Patty's Day T-Shirt for those who complete the crawl, and more.
Family Fun at the Museum | Saturday March 16th from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Warm up for the St. Patrick's Day Parade at the Irish American Heritage Museum located at 370 Broadway. The museum is a great place to celebrate with family before the Parade. Get in tune with your heritage with great exhibits focused on Irish culture.
St. Patrick's Day Parade | Parade kicks off on March 16th at 2:00 PM
The peak of the weekend's festivities is certainly the 64th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, an Albany tradition whose route travels Downtown to the epicenter of Irish festivities. There will be music. There will be Irish pride. There will be a whole lot of green. Celebrate this must attend Albany event.
Post Parade Party | After the parade until ???
Music will be bumping throughout Downtown venues including the Bayou, McGeary's Irish Pub, Franklins Tower, Buddha Tea House, and more. Get your groove on to music from Celtic to Rock N' Roll. Visit downtownalbany.org and click on the business directory to find out where you want to celebrate after the Parade.
See you Downtown.
Architecture, Events, People, Places, Things... everything that is downtown Albany is covered in the Downtown Albany Instagram account, the newest social media platform utilized by the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID). Not familiar with Instagram? Let us break it down for you.
Users take photos with their mobile device or upload pre-existing photos, apply photo effects to make images replicate classic cameras through the use of filters, and then share them with their friends. It's as simple as that. You can view our Instagram account on the web (instagram.com /downtownalbany) or view and engage with the fun through a smart phone (search for @downtownalbany on the Instagram App).
Trends show that the public is becoming more attracted to visuals (photography/video) rather than text, and lucky for us, our
downtown is a beautiful place to photograph with its historic architecture, world class events, and general vibrancy. Instagram is a perfect channel to communicate Downtown via imagery.
One really cool aspect of Instagram is the "Photo Map" feature which allows users to geo-tag photos. Once geotagged, the app pins images to the actual location on a map. This allows users to take a virtual tour through Instagram and see all that Downtown has to offer through images of our unique District.
Follow us for daily shots of our beautiful city for an up-to-date perspective of what's going on Downtown. Currently, we are trying to hit 1,000 likes by the end of March. Help us out and check it out. If you like what you see, send it to a friend.
Bomber's Burrito Bar
Bomber's Burrito Bar was founded in
1997 by Matt Baumgartner. With locations in Albany and Schenectady,
Bomber's is most famous for their giant burritos and award winning
wings. Whether you're dining in, ordering take out, wanting delivery, or
catering, Bomber's has it covered! They also offer gift cards, and
plenty of daily specials including Wing Night on Mondays, Trivia on
Tuesdays, Bingo on Wednesdays, Acoustic Guitar Night on Thursdays, and
$5 Bloody Marys until 4:00pm on Sundays. Be sure to also check out their
happy hour specials every day from 11:00am-7:00pm which include $3
beers, $3 well drinks, and $5 margaritas!
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: We first opened on Lark Street on October 3, 1997.
Q: Describe your business.
A: Bombers Burrito Bar is a casual, full service Tex-Mex
restaurant offering counter-service, delivery, and a full service bar
& dining room.
Q: How did you come up with the name for your business?
A: My nickname all through high school and college was "Bomber"
because of my last name (Baumgartner). We also thought that using a
"Bombers Girl" type theme with the name "Bomber" would be a winning
Q: What do you think makes your business stand out from others in the area?
A: I think that our customers come to Bombers first for the
delicious food, but also come for the overall experience. The atmosphere
is fun! The drinks are tasty, and most importantly, the burritos and
other menu items are at a price point that is appealing to people on a
Q: Since opened, what has been your biggest success that your business has had?
A: I measure success in terms of how much is able to give back to
the community. I feel that our biggest success is that we have been
able to regularly donate to all the local/regional charities that have
Q: As a small business owner, what are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced?
A: Our biggest challenge as a small business has been to find a way to keep prices down while food costs continue to increase.
Q: What is your favorite part about running your business?
A: My favorite part of running a business has been meeting all
our customers over the years and developing friendly relationships with
everyone. I hadn't felt like an active member of the community until I
opened a business.
Q: Did you have any education or experience in the industry prior to opening your business?
A: No, I did not.
Q: How do you see your business growing in the future?
A: We are hoping to expand our Franchising division of Bombers
Burrito Bar. We have our first Franchise opening in Troy in 2013, and a
2nd location hopefully opening in New Paltz, in 2014.
Q: Looking back, is there anything that you would do different?
A: I prefer to look forward rather than through the rear view
mirror, and I am grateful for where I am currently in my life. So, I
would keep everything the same.
Q: Tell us about that lucky $15,000 hand of poker back in 1997.
A: I was dealt a Royal Flush playing a game called Let It Ride. I
was a broke 20 year old, and the money was a fortune to me at the time.
I am proud of the fact that I didn't spend it on something foolish and,
instead, invested it into Bombers Burrito Bar because it has proved to
be a good choice.
Q: Besides burritos, Bomber's is famous for offering a giant
margarita to customers on their birthday, how did you come up with this
A: I just figured that everyone wants to feel special on his/her
birthday, and not many bars were giving away anything for free on that
special day, so we decided to capitalize on that. Now, it seems like
every bar in Albany gives away a large drink on your birthday.
Q: Tell us how you came up with the ideas for some of your award winning wing sauces.
A: I like to utilize the talent that we have in the kitchen, and
most of our best sauces came from one of our employees experimenting in
Q: What is your favorite burrito on the menu?
A: My favorite burrito is the BBQ pulled pork.
The Albany Devil's current 2012/2013 season has been a special one. With increased overall attendance, season tickets numbers on the rise, and the largest crowd to date, the team has brought an incredible amount energy to the Times Union Center. We checked in with the Devils to get a firsthand account of how great the season has been. Who better to meet with than the team mascot? Lucky for us we bumped into the Albany Devil Dawg and chatted with the regions favorite pup about the excitement of this year's season.
© 2012 James DiBiano Jr.
How many Albany Devils games have you been to?
I have been to every Albany Devils home game. That's over 100 games and counting!
What got you into hockey in the first place?
Well, first of all, hockey is the coolest sport there is, so I was immediately drawn to it. I think I related to the game, since the players are always trying to put "the biscuit in the basket" and I love me some biscuits.
What do you think is the most exciting element of an Albany Devils hockey match?
The most exciting thing about going to Albany Devils games is that you get to see me.
In all seriousness, hockey is one of the most exciting sports out there. There is always action on the ice. Even when the game is stopped between periods, you get to see exciting fun on the ice in the form of youth hockey, broom ball, musical chairs, dress-like-a pro and other great intermission games. Oh, and how can I forget the always popular T-Shirt Toss. There is something for everyone.
What has been your favorite game this season? Why?
This is a tough one, because it is so hard because I enjoy them all so much. If I had to choose, I would say Saturday, January 26th. We had a record crowd of 10,218 people watching as we beat our arch-rivals the Adirondack Phantoms 5-2. With so many people there, the building was electric. Every time we scored everyone got so loud and so excited. The atmosphere was amazing, the game was amazing and the fans were amazing. This was definitely my favorite game of the year.
Do you ever play hockey with the team during practices?
I tried to play hockey with the team during practice, but my tail kept getting in the way. I kept tripping over it, and someone even stepped on it with their skates... OUCH! I decided then, that I had better leave the hockey playing to the professionals. As for me, I'm a pro at getting the crowd pumped up and making sure that they enjoy the games as much as I do. I love my job!
Haven't made it out to a hockey game yet? There are 13 more games left this season. For more information on the Albany Devils and other Downtown events visit www.downtownalbany.org and check out our comprehensive Things to Do section. Don't miss out on the action.
Need motivation? Email firstname.lastname@example.org by March 4, 2013 at Noon for the chance to win a pair of tickets to the March 9th home game against the Springfield Falcons.
See you Downtown.
This past Wednesday, with the help of a five minute Photoshop job (don't be too critical on my Magic Wand Tool chops), we posted the above image of the immensely popular Downton Abbey cast in front of SUNY Plaza, also known as the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Building (D&H Building / SUNY Administration Building) to our Instagram account (@downtownalbany). The photo was not only referring to the similarity in phonics, but also on the similarities that exist in the beautiful architecture present in both the show as well as our Downtown. The show takes place between 1916 and 1919 a unique period of history in both locations.
Highclere Castle, the stunning castle where the majority Downton Abbey's scenes are shot, is considered Jacobethan, a particular style of Renaissance Revival architecture. To the left is the official Downton Abbey cast photo in front of the PBS hit's filming location. The castle was also used as a main location for Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, music videos, and more.
I thought that the Old Albany Post Office, pictured to the right, had a striking resemblance to Highlere Castle. Downtown Albany is considered a Historic District noted for its wide array of architectural styles, 400 year's worth actually. The Old Post Office is also classified as a Renaissance Revival, not specifically Jacobethan, but the building has many similarities to the castle that houses PBS's hit show.
Albany, and it's Downtown in particular, promotes itself as a "film friendly" city. The architectural diversity that is present in our district is key in attracting the film industry to the area. In an effort to attract more film-making into downtown Albany, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) and the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACCVB) launched a video in summer 2012, titled Film Albany, designed to capture the attention of film makers world-wide.
Two major films, Salt and The Other Guys have had scenes shot in downtown Albany in recent years pumping nearly $5 million into to the local economy. According to the ACCVB, the two week filming period of Salt in May 2009 generated approximately $3.5 million of income into the Capital Region.
Who knows? Maybe our Photoshop job wasn't far fetch. To the producers of Downton Abbey, if you are scouting additional locations, downtown Albany is excited to take your call!
A new lunch spot, Dali Mamma, has set up shop on beautiful Maiden Lane in downtown Albany. The café is a committed localvoire (using only regional produce) and offers consumers a fresh and unique farm-to-table eating experience. Katrin Haldeman, the Dali Mamma herself, is sharing some information about some of her favorite and crucial ingredients used in her menu.
Warning: Don't read if hungry!
My chutney is a combination of apple, plums, tomato, onion, garlic, currants, spices and love - when it is cooking down it smells like every great holiday or family dinner. Warm, sweet and nostalgic. It makes me think of my grandma and my favorite place on Earth - my mother's kitchen table.
All of my bread comes from The Cookie Factory in Troy. Cibatta is a substantial roll that is nice and crusty on the outside, while soft and delicious on the inside. It's the way bread is supposed to be - hearty and wholesome from your local baker.
Anyone who has visited one of the Capital District's Farmer's Markets and has had the good sense to pop a sample of this green deliciousness into their mouth can tell you that there is no other pesto that even comes close to tasting as good as the BuddhaPesto. It's made by Maria Gandara & Gregor Trieste in Woodstock NY and if I were to have more children, I just might baptize them in it. It's a favorite of the Dali Mamma.
Now that we have worked up your appetite set some time aside to visit the Dali Mamma located at 36 Maiden Lane. You won't regret it. Swing by Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM for a taste explosion.
See you Downtown.