By William M. Dowd
After years of second-class-citizen mentality, Troy and surrounding Rensselaer County are wising up.
The fact that the city and the portions of the county above and below it were wise enough not to cut themselves off from direct access to the Hudson River — unlike Albany and Albany County with I-787 — is beginning to pay dividends.
Business development interest is on the rise, as shown in renovations to former factories as well as creation of condo complexes. Leisuretime activities, which also aid businesses, are way up. The next item on tap is this Saturday’s first-ever Troy Chowderfest, the brainchild of chef/restaurateur Larry Schepici (Tosca, Illium Cafe).
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a portion of River Street just north of the Green Island Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic while pedestrians stroll about, sampling all sorts of chowders from more than two dozen restaurants and other organizations: clam chowder, vegetable chowder, corn chowder, seafood chowder and any other kind of chowder you can think of.
Coming on the heels of the successful River Street Festival that attracted 20,000 people in June, the Chowder Fest is very promising.
Having judged all sorts of food competitions over the years, covering everything from chocolate to chili, I can attest to the fact that the best events are one part venue, one part enthusiasm and one part food. I can vouch for the venue and the organizers’ enthusiasm. When you have a field of competitors that includes the likes of such “name” chefs as Schepici, John Marzilli (Salty’s Pub) and Mike LoPorto (LoPorto’s Ristorante Caffe) among the competitors, you know you’re in for some inventive dishes.
(Full disclosure: Capital Region Living magazine is one of the event sponsors, and I’m one of the judges.)
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