Dining Out in 20th Century
Take a tour with us through Saratoga's old eating establishments as Carol Godette features a different one in each issue of Simply Saratoga Magazine - Enjoy!
Dining out or plating in? This option wasn't available for Saratogians of the '60s and '70s. Recently a friend boasted that although his wife didn't cook, she "plates a beautiful dinner" - referring to her ability to transform local take-out specials into artistic creations. The popularity of “Take out Tuesday” offerings has helped sustain year-round business and is a relatively new aspect of our local culinary scene. Although this particular phenomenon isn’t unique, Saratoga Springs’ mom-and-pop restaurants have had a rich history - from the purported invention of both the potato chip and the club sandwich - to the famous and infamous clientele that have savored their cuisine.
Perhaps due to zoning laws that limit fast foods chains with large footprints or the discerning tastes of the racing crowd and resident summer artists, local mom-and-pop restaurants have been the rule rather than exception within our city limits- a double edged sword for many mom and pop operators. Along with many choices comes stiff competition -within the last few months three once popular restaurants in the downtown area closed- One Caroline St, Park Side Eatery, and The Merry Monk.
Today, sidewalk cafes are essential elements of our local restaurant scene. This was not the case for the eateries listed in the Saratoga Springs 1963 Chamber of Commerce's Centennial brochure.
City Hall first approved an outdoor patio for Broadway's Triple Crown Restaurant in 1977. Permit laws loosened in the 1980s, paving the way for other restaurants to construct the patios we now associate with our local favorites.
In the "pre-café" days of the 1960s, dining at a full-service restaurant
was a rare treat for the average family. I remember what a special occasion it was every year when our family celebrated my parent's anniversary at The Trade Winds. Each of us dressed in our Sunday best. If a fellow patron neglected to wear a sport coat the Trade Winds staff was instructed to ask, "May I lend you a dinner jacket?"
For many locals of 2018, dining out is no longer a yearly or even monthly event etched in our minds. This series will focus on some of the mainstays of our local mom-and-pop full service restaurants. Each issue this year will explore a beloved establishment of yesteryear- the Ash Grove Inn, Lillian's, Lou's Luncheonette, Ma Demartino's, Mother Goldsmiths - and will finish with two remaining veterans - Pennell's and The Olde Bryan Inn.
Settle in and be prepared to once again enter into the world of the sparkling French-paned windows of the Ashgrove Inn, the Sy Wallick lined caricatured walls of Mother Goldsmiths, and the stone covered, cave like walls of the Trade Winds' vestibule. -SS
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