Wheatfields Restaurant & Bar
From local fields to your plate

 Written and photographed by Theresa St. John

Wheatfields Restaurant and Bar couldn’t agree more, as they’ve been the place for homemade pasta for over 30 years.

Walking into Wheatfields feels like a warm welcome home where everything is familiar – from the cozy window-seating area, its four tables covered in gold, to a larger room with pieces of fine-art covering the walls, to the long wood bar offering plenty of seating in the back of the restaurant, there isn’t a space that’s not inviting.

“It feels like family here,” says Nicci Miller, general manager. “It’s so great to come out of my office to greet guests of the restaurant. Some of them I’ve known for years – we hug and spend a few minutes catching up with each other. Others are coming in for the first time. We want to be sure it’s an enjoyable experience for them as well.”

If you happen to spot a small sign on your table that reads “WOW,” Nicci will smile when you ask what it stands for. “It’s the idea behind the brand,” she’ll tell you. “We want people to feel special when they’re here, and we want them to say ‘wow’ when they leave!”

Tim and Colleen Holmes, owners of the WOW group of restaurants, met in Chicago when they both worked for the restaurant enterprise "Lettuce Entertain You.” They fell in love, came looking for a property in Saratoga – a place Tim’s family was familiar with – and the rest is history.

They purchased Wheatfields during a busy dinner in the spring of 2004. "They walked into the bank, signed the papers, crossed the street then carried on for dinner – as new owners – without skipping a beat. It was great!” Nicci tells us, smiling through the whole conversation.

Visit the restaurant on a gorgeous spring, summer, autumn, or early winter day and find seating outside under the awning. Try their seasonal cran-apple martini, made with Tito’s apple-pucker vodka, cranberry juice, and fresh cranberries for garnish while you watch people passing by with their dogs on leashes and their babies in carriages.

For anyone who tells you cranberries taste both bitter and sour, this cocktail begs to differ. Rolling the drink around on the tongue brings out the tart flavors of apple, complimenting rather than submitting to the stronger flavor of cranberries. 

Are you a sangria type? If yes, you will love the white sangria, dubbed ‘Legends’ Little Sister,’ after their red version, the year-round specialty. This is a seasonal drink, so don’t miss it! Made with Three Olives Raspberry, Bacardi Peach Red, plenty of fresh fruit, and Vino Blanco, it’s a super-smooth-not-too-sweet, very refreshing drink. A sip or two lets you in on the secret of why it’s already a hit with the happy hour crowd.

Here in Saratoga, everyone loves food. Every day it seems like another new restaurant is opening its doors to clientele anxious to visit and try out items on the menu.

Wheatfield’s Restaurant and Bar is a staple, for sure, but that doesn’t stop the chef from adding or changing items on the extensive menu to accommodate the changing seasons.

For instance, their flatbread appetizer changes daily. Ours was made with fresh-ground sausage, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella cheese, arugula, and a savory white bean spread. Served on a long wooden board, piping-hot, with the sausage still sizzling. The piquant flavor of arugula is so fresh you’ll taste the ‘nuttiness’ of its leaves. 

“We cut and lay-out our herbs to dry seven days a week,” anyone working at the restaurant will say when asked. “It ensures they’re fresh-fresh-fresh when added to the dish for garnish.”

As we all know, eggplant can be bitter if not prepared properly.  At Wheatfields, the Eggplant Napoleon is perfection! Stacks of thickly-sliced, panko breadcrumbed, crispy eggplant – topped with ripe, juicy tomatoes, slabs of mozzarella cheese, homemade pesto, balsamic glaze drizzled over the top, a few pinched-off leaves of arugula to finish it off – mmm! Take one bite of all those flavors and you won’t need to wonder why the appetizer disappears so quickly.

Theresa, our lovely, attentive – and knowledgeable - waitress, deftly explained our salad choices and when you ask which one is her favorite she’s willing to tell you.

Take her suggestions to heart and try the Arugula Salad, with tender-sweet roasted beets, fresh goat cheese, complimented by their homemade citrus vinegarette.  We also had a second salad made with fresh spinach and kale, thinly-sliced crispy green apples, cubed Cabot cheddar cheese, walnuts, and dried cranberries tossed in a cider vinegarette – both were delicious and we could’ve stopped there. …but when you’re in a place known for it’s pasta, you carry on.

Another great thing about Wheatfields and the wait-staff; they encourage the pause between courses. To enjoy your drinks and great conversation, letting the magic of your surroundings sink in.

It’s a great venue to catch up with old friends. Picture the sun going down while you talk about kids and work and life in general. Time seems to stand still here, which is just what people need in an otherwise super-busy week filled with too many ‘to-do lists.’

Getting back to that fresh pasta… The sausage and chicken Scarpetta entrée was phenomenal. Made with the freshest meats, marsala sauce, bell peppers, and perfectly cooked ziti, this meal spells ‘comfort.’

The ziti, soaked in marsala sauce, would make any Italian grandmother proud. Scarpetta – a much-loved and often-used word in Italian means “make the little shoe.”

The term refers to the small piece of bread used to mop up the last of the sauce on your plate. In this case, you may resort to asking for a few more because all of Wheatfields' sauces are prepared à la minute, so the marsala sauce is made to order.

One side note: ziti is only one of the nearly twenty shapes and flavors of pasta made in-house daily. Yes, you read that right. Daily.

“We still have our pasta machine,” Nicci will tell you. “We’ll never get rid of it - it’s part of our history. When people ask, we let them know that it’s in our Clifton Park location.”

We’d hate to dispel their reputation as the place for pasta, but their steak was divine! We had the bone-in ribeye, also known as a Delmonico. Because it’s highly-marbled, much of the rich flavor comes from the fat. It is melt-in-your-mouth-tender. Grilled to order, then served with creamy mashed potatoes, a subtle garlic demi-glaze, and fresh asparagus, the dish becomes a fast favorite of many.

 On to our desserts…

In Italy, Tiramisu translates to ‘a pick me up.’ This rich treat blends bold flavors of cocoa and espresso with mascarpone cheese and wine, spread between layers of biscuits known as ladyfingers. It’s an after-dinner indulgence to satisfy any sweet tooth, a perfect ending to any meal. 

Biting into their three-layer cake made of vanilla, raspberry, and chocolate heaven is a real surprise. Each stands on its own, for sure, but sampling the three together delivers a delightful wallop of flavor. Finish with a hot
coffee and you’re good to go.

Here’s the thing – no matter what you choose from the menu, you’re bound to be pleased, and don’t be surprised if a warm smile and hug goodbye accompanies the doggie bag you take home at the evening’s end.

You may have entered as a stranger, but you’ll always leave as a friend.

Visit any one of their four locations:

Wheatfields Restaurant and Bar
440 Broadway, Saratoga
70 Weibel Ave, Saratoga
2 West Bar and Grill: 
2 West Ave, Saratoga
Wheatfield’s Bistro and Wine Bar:
54 Crossing Blvd M, Clifton Park.
Gift cards are honored at all locations.

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2254 Route 50 South, 
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

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