“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” ~Henry Ford~
Walking downtown seems so different now.
Retail shops and favorite restaurants are shuttered, with signs about the Governor’s mandate posted on doors and windows every which way you turn.
No one expected this pandemic. And no one could have predicted the havoc it would play on lives, businesses, everyday joys in life – now on pause for the foreseeable future. No one ever would have guessed we’d have to wear masks out in public, staying six feet away from others.
At first, we thought it would be a week or two of inconveniences – we were sure things would return to normal quickly, and we could get on with our lives.
Of course, that, and more, proved untrue.
People lost jobs; businesses closed, folks of all ages passed away from Covid-19 alone in hospitals, away from family and friends. Only essential jobs with essential workers remained. Travel ceased, seemingly overnight. State borders closed – or discouraged visitors for the time being.
All of us wondered how long this could go on – when would we re-open – what would we do in the meantime?
If we weren’t in The Twilight Zone, it sure felt like it.
It still does.
Saratoga has always been a strong community. One of the things I love most about living here is that we’re a city full of people who rally together to help in times of need.
So, the moment restaurants began to think outside the box, determined to do everything they could to stay afloat-we were open to the idea-excited to help out.
Though some might have wondered if buying one or two meals curbside could even make a difference, there were more of us that said, “Our favorite place has a to-go menu, let’s order dinner.”
And the act of patronizing local places ignited hope for recovery – in me, at least.
Below are a few of my favorite places to eat in Saratoga. I’ve always loved the restaurant staff, the building’s atmosphere, the freshest food, and imaginative recipes out there.
Besides that, I’m a hugger – a big fan of greeting with a warm smile and handshake, leaving with a doggy bag and tight embrace. I’ve made friends in these places. I care about their livelihood.
And they care about me.
Hugs will have to wait, for sure. But I can still smile behind my mask, ask how everyone’s holding up during this pandemic, offer a warm greeting, and say thanks as I leave.
Olde Bryan Inn
An old stone house with Revolutionary-era ties, this restaurant serves sandwiches, steaks, and hearty American fare. They have the best French onion soup.
I was never so excited to discover this place. I’m from Boston, and seafood is a must there. I love their whole-belly clams, scallops, and super-thin battered onion rings.
Here, it’s all about crepes – savory and sweet. Don’t even get me started on their French fries and poutine! I miss going in to sit by the window. I’m grateful they offer their full menu, even though it’s a curbside pick-up.
A boutique bakery that’s still open. (Thank God!) The seats are put away for now, but they sell pastries, sandwiches, loaves of bread, soups, and more. The last time I was there, you could buy discounted wine and spirits with a purchase. They also ship. Pretty cool.
Hamlet and Ghost
Bottled cocktails to go? Packed with delicious food from the kitchen? Ummm, yes, please. Their take-out menu is pretty extensive, and their signature touches of imagination and originality are written all over it.
Whoever said serving tacos, rice bowls, salads, and doughnuts was a good idea? Yes, I said doughnuts. Personally, I think they should be one of the four food groups. At Taquero, it’s all about ‘fresh and delicious.’ You need to try this place out if you haven’t already.
This is a pretty neat restaurant, serving Japanese cuisine and Hibachi. When they re-open, I suggest you make it a date-night. Dine on the freshest sushi, sashimi, steak, chicken, and seafood dishes. For now, no cash or in-person orders. Curbside only.
I miss the atmosphere here. I miss playing shuffleboard with friends while our pizza is baking. Their take-out menu is pretty extensive, and they even have a drink menu - craft cocktails, bottles of wine, and growlers to-go. Love that!
While Wheatfields and 2 West are both closed, the WOW Restaurant Group offers up BWP for all my barfood faves… Wings, Pizza, Apps… yup!
These are only a handful of fantastic restaurants that have risen to the occasion in this unprecedented time – I’m sure you could add many to my list. I could, too. Here’s the thing – they all need our help. Not just in a monetary way, either. Seeing our faces, knowing that we haven’t forgotten they’re an integral part of our community means a lot.
I’m sure of it.