Chef Chad Konopasek and Sous Chef Daishawn Wade share a taste for the flavors of New England. Each of the seasonally inspired dishes at Potters Restaurant at Sterup Square is filled with northeastern charm, whether it’s the organic Berleberg cheese from Berle Farm in Hoosick, the fresh Vermont vegetables, or the handmade Bennington pottery upon which they’re served. The restaurant’s menus reflect the changing of the year, spotlighting parmesan-crusted salmon and double-battered fried chicken with homemade gravy in the summer, and hearty stews and Vermont mac 'n' cheese in the winter. While an outdoor patio shelters patrons beneath umbrellas and mood-setting firefly orchestras whenever seasonally appropriate, Potters Restaurant's interior treats guests to carpeted flooring and a toasty stone fireplace year-round.
One step inside The Epicurean Bistro & Wine Bar and visitors are transported to a French village complete with tiled awnings, lampposts, and yellow-brick walls that ascend into a sky-like ceiling. The authentic French atmosphere was created by founding partner Claire, a French-Canadian and consummate traveller, and French-born executive chef Dominique Brialy, whose training has taken him all over the world. Working together, their restaurant was named named Best French by Metroland in 2012, won the Award of Excellence in 2013 from Wine Spectator, and earned a mention in the inaugural edition of Best Chefs America. They pour attention into the eatery's details, from the rustic wall sconces to the sage-scented parsnip purée that accompanies the roasted venison. Claire's husband and business partner Sandy has curated a wine cellar filled with 2,200 bottles from every region of France and internationally sourced varietals that complement every meal. Guests may also order from a full bar that features an extensive craft and imported beer selection, as well as an array of whiskeys, single malts, and bourbons.
Based on the numbers, one might think every member of The Sports Grill staff boasts 20/20 vision. Twenty televisions line the bar and the dining room walls, surrounding guests with the sights and sounds of sports broadcasts, and 20 available draft beers lubricate team trivia night on Tuesdays. Meanwhile, the aromas of slow-cooked ribs, grilled steaks, and spicy jumbo wings mingle in the room and give a brief olfactory preview of the menu's diverse offerings. The cooks effortlessly forge a variety of Angus burgers and familiar comfort foods, but they round out the menu's pages with items such as house-made kettle chips, sizzling fajitas, and the perennially popular crab cakes. The Sports Grill also maintains an expansive outdoor patio, presenting reprieve from the sensory stimulation inside—where there may even be rainbows emanating every hue of beer.
In the 1940s there were two places to spot Babe Ruth: knocking homers out of baseball parks around the country and knocking back cold ones at Albany Baseball Club meetings held in the upstairs room of what is now Franklin's Tower. Chefs commemorate his frequent appearances with their Babe Ruth Bubby Burger, a Swiss cheese- and bacon-topped patty that diners can eat with two hands or whack into their mouths with a bat. Burgers are one of many American-style items on Franklin Tower's massive menu, which includes grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade pesto and wraps with grilled chicken breast and homemade Caesar dressing. Wine, beer, and whiskey wash down each feast, which unfold in a dining room that maintains the building's 1920s atmosphere with art deco flourishes.
Since 1981, Lorraine-Michaels Dance Centre's cast of passionate instructors has been helping students of all ages and abilities confidently express themselves through the art of dance. They lead these students through sashays, shimmies, and kicks with an exhaustive roster of dance and fitness classes that ranges from ballroom dancing to Hip Hop to kickboxing. During dance classes, they teach students to perform fundamental moves with confidence and musicality, covering a variety styles—including the Argentine tango, waltz, swing, and salsa—tending to bites from the dancing bug or disgruntled dance partners. They motivate students into performance shape in dance-inspired fitness classes such as Zumba, a regimen of easy-to-follow dance moves set to high-energy Latin tunes. In kickboxing sweat sessions, they inspire students to kick and punch their way toward their fitness goals, effectively toning muscles and scaring away the ghosts of gladiators past, while pole dancing classes build strength and teach students how to spin and climb.
Sports-bar proprietor Maggie Smith got her start in the restaurant industry at 17, working as a server at local institutions such as the Bleeker, Mona Lisa's, and Alteri's before earning a coveted management position at Garlic John's. In the summer of '94, Smith hit the jackpot on a Pick 6 ticket at the Saratoga Track, winning enough to buy her place of work and add her victory to the annals of historic moments decided by horse races, alongside Secretariat's record-setting run in 1973, and Seabiscuit's elevation to the US Senate in 1936. After several years of building a successful business at Garlic John's, Maggie bought the old Son's Tavern building on Western, envisioning a warm, welcoming sports bar full of friendly neighbors, flowing beer, and crowd-pleasing pub fare.
Today, the restaurant entertains crowds of college kids, off-duty businessfolk and state employees, plying them with personal pizzas, Italian pastas, chicken wings, and burgers alongside frosty brews and cocktails. Visitors share hearty cheers and earth-shattering high-fives as they watch college and pro sports of all varieties on the array of LCD screens or pit their brains in gladiatorial combat with weekly trivia contests. Friday-night karaoke and Saturday-night live bands entertain multitudes with the sweet strains of popular music, and a tucked-away banquet room sequesters private gatherings of up to 100 from the welcoming revelry of the main bar area.