The menu at Max London's changes nightly because of a commitment to local, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant gathers its potatoes and produce from Sheldon Farms in Salem, and it stocks up on free-range, grass-fed beef from Long Lesson Farm in Buskirk, NY. This dedicated approach to using whatever's available enables Max London's chefs to unfetter their creativity meal after meal. They concoct artfully plated dishes to accompany organic wines and pints of local craft beer, all of which blends seamlessly into the restaurant's sophisticated, yet cozy ambiance.
Bruegger's bagels are culled from fresh, wholesome ingredients and then baked on a stone hearth, resulting in chewy centers with crisp outer crusts. Awaken your taste buds with a savory combination such as the sundried tomato bagel smothered with olive-pimiento cream cheese ($0.99 for bagel only, $2.29 with cream cheese). Or prove yourself to be a sweetie by adopting a family of special circles and washing them up and behind the ears in a tub of garden-veggie cream cheese ($3.39). Bruegger's deli menu is flanked by an array of breakfast sandwiches ($2.99–$6.79) and lunch fare; bury thoughts of the snarky snooze button with the Rio Grande Wrap ($4.89), or defuse your lunchtime hunger siren with a signature sandwich ($5.69–$6.79) such as the herby turkey or roma roast beef.
When restaurant-industry veterans Tim and Colleen Holmes bought The Wheat Fields in 2004, they felt that there was ample room to grow the business—in more ways than one. The husband-and-wife team knew that some aspects should remain unchanged: they still wanted their chefs to handcraft the nearly 20 daily shapes and flavors of pasta that Saratoga Springs residents had come to love, including gnocchi and tagliatelle. But they also knew that the venue and menu were expansion-ready diamonds in the rough. The duo invested more than $1 million to double the space, diversify the offerings, create a huge mahogany bar and lounge area, and attract high-caliber food and wine experts.
The Holmes' vision and hard work paid off. Today, Wheatfields Restaurant and Bar is thriving, serving local, farm-to-table produce, house-aged steaks, and, of course, fresh pasta. The site's ongoing success has prompted the Holmes to open a second location in Clifton Park—Wheatfields Bistro and Wine Bar—and the accolades keep coming. OpenTable diners gave the Saratoga Springs location Hot Spot and Vibrant Bar Scene awards and voted the Clifton Park location a winner in the Italian and Good for Groups categories. Also, both sites have earned Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator thanks to an impressive international wine list and the flocks of rare wine bottles that roost outside. These flavorful sips pair with an extensive assortment of gluten-free pizzas and pastas, and a helpful food-allergen chart assists diners in avoiding such common irritants as shellfish and peanuts.
A blue neon light illuminates the sushi bar at Izumi Sushi Asian Bistro & Lounge, its tint creating the illusion that the bar is floating atop a pool of azure water. Judging from the freshness of the octopus, tuna, and salmon, this might as well be the case. Sushi chefs slice these fish before delicately rolling them with sticky rice and seaweed and artfully presenting them on plates. Back in the kitchen, their counterparts sizzle steaks and lobster tails and deep-fry chicken and vegetables for crunchy tempura dishes. Their menu features a wide swath of pan-Asian cuisine, from Indian pancakes and general tso’s chicken to fortune cookies ensconced in Thai lettuce wraps.
Irish eyes smile in Niall Roche’s traditional Gaelic pub, at once cozy and grandiose with iron chandeliers and imported Irish furniture strewn throughout the many rooms of the 6,000-square-foot space. An Emerald Isle native with restaurateuring in his blood, Niall realized his dream of owning and operating a pub of his own in Saratoga. He's poured energy into The Irish Times Pub & Restaurant's tiny details: the hunter-green leather on the second-story furnishings, the serving staff of accented Gaels, and the wall-mounted fiddle painted as green as a three-leaf clover jealous of its four-leafed cousin. The bar and booths on the first floor form a cozy country-pub ambiance, and the castle-like second story takes advantage of the space and spills out over a rooftop terrace overlooking Congress Park.
As much care, if not more, is taken with the menus, which feature an all-day Irish breakfast, chicken with imported Irish curry, and Celtic fusion food that incorporates anything from egg rolls to nachos. Fresh haddock, broiled or fried, offers a taste of the North Atlantic, and a splash of Guinness improves menu items from the beef stew to the chocolate cake. While diners dig into hearty shepherd's pies or rasher-topped burgers, live musicians play anything from Celtic pub songs to contemporary radio jams.
Back in 1938, it was Hattie’s Chicken Shack, the pride and joy of Louisiana-born Hattie Gray. In those days, when ‘speakeasies and smoky jazz clubs’ were the norm, Hattie’s was open 24 hours at its bustling Federal Street location. After 30 years, the restaurant moved to Phila Street, where it continued to thrive, and Hattie’s stature in the community of Saratoga Springs quickly elevated to legendary.
Today, Hattie’s still embodies many of the same qualities that always made it a success—it was a place where everyone always felt welcome—and some of the recipes remain unchanged, including her famous fried chicken. Featured in the likes of The New York Times, Bon Appetit, and The Wall Street Journal, the Southern-style cuisine at Hattie’s has earned praise from near and far, lauded as a place that “epitomizes Southern charm” with its “authentic, lazy, slow Southern feeling” that even Northerners can’t get enough of.