Newer Eateries Liven Up the Region’s Dining Scene

Berkshire Mt. Bakery, kru Coffee, and Burger Fi in Saratoga; Superior Merchandise in Troy

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A barista at Superior Merchandise Co. in Troy.   Photo Courtesy of Michael Valiquette.

A new burger joint, coffee bar, bake shop and café-design combo have livened up the local and regional dining scene, offering more places to meet friends, grab a quick bite or bun, and linger over the newspaper or computer. Moving from java to bread and meat, new places include:

Superior Merchandise Company
147 Fourth St., Troy

Located in downtown Troy, Superior Merchandise Company on Fourth Street is a new breed of coffee shop. A “lifestyle design shop and specialty coffee bar,” SMCo., as it is known, supplies more than your average baked goods and coffees. Here you will find a modernly designed, open space that competes with any hip coffee shop you’ll find in any city. Mike Romig, co-owner, says, “We try to be a one-stop shop and carry a little bit of something for everyone, and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that we have hot drinks and beer to sip on while you shop.”

SMCo is also considered a “community gathering space.” Felicity Jones, co-owner and director of retail, says their philosophy is “to bring in beautiful, fun, extremely high-quality products that are true to SMCo’s modern aesthetic, and also not available locally, or for the most part, even regionally.” Along with cleverly designed office and display of home goods, succulents, and “apothecary” items from artists and companies nationwide, you can also stop in at the coffee bar to try a new “expertly crafted” drink from the baristas on staff.

According to Matthew Loiacono, SMCo’s director of coffee, “These drinks are really important because, for people who aren’t super into specialty coffee, we want to sort of meet them halfway with flavors that they may have not tried before, combined with a level of craft that shows that we care about it.”

superiormerchandise.co

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Berkshire Mountain Bakery on Broadway.

Berkshire Mountain Bakery
422 Broadway, Saratoga Springs

After the owner/baker, Richard Bourdon, opened the original bakery in Housatonic, Mass., which is still the main facility, Berkshire Mountain Bakery’s success has continued to grow. A second bakery/pizza cafe was opened in Pittsfield, Mass., and his third shop has opened on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. Berkshire Mountain Bakery is located in The Washington building, which is shared by Northshire Bookstore and Kilwins, with luxury apartments on the upper floors.

Bourdon, a Quebec native, opened his first Massachusetts shop after practicing his trade with “top bakers throughout The Netherlands, France and elsewhere in northern Europe,” and running his own bakery for six years in Amsterdam. The Saratoga bakery features several types of breads, including sourdough bread made in the “natural sourdough breadbaking” style, along with baked goods and even pizza. With a “commitment to bring the most nutritious and delicious breads” to their customers, the bakery offers a plethora of baked goods, different pizza doughs and ciabatta bread. The Saratoga location is co-owned and managed by Bourdon’s business partner, Jay Olliverierra. With a daily shipment, the Saratoga bakery will receive a wide assortment of fresh items shipped directly from the Housatonic location.

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kru Coffe, a new Saratoga coffee bar.

kru Coffee
46 Marion Ave., Saratoga Springss

A coffee bar that describes itself as “an unapologetic approach to quality and taste,” kru Coffee brings a new type of coffee experience to Saratoga. Located adjacent to the “The Hamlet,” a new apartment complex, kru Coffee is across the parking lot from Fresh Market, Smashburger and other new stores. Owned by business partners Kristi Brock, Jarod Fields, Luke Rock and Ryan Miller (owner of Spektor Coffee in Glens Falls), the newest coffee shop in town serves a variety of coffee beans from farmers who are “socially responsible towards workers.” All of the coffee they serve is Fair Trade, Direct Trade or Rainforest Alliance Certified.

The large space features plentiful seating, a coffee bar and “BRUBENDER,” which is an area of  the shop where “seasoned baristas utilize all facets of ingenuity and machinery available to them to create beverages where coffee can be presented in a multitude of manners… using a wide range of techniques.” The growing business now offers a food menu with a wide selection of “toasted artisanal breads topped with delicious locally sourced ingredients.” Introduced in October, the Tartine menu features such toppings as “Roasted Apple and Ricotta, “Avocado and Hard-boiled egg,” and “Goat Cheese and Marmalade.”

krucoffee.com

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BurgerFi came to Broadway in the fall, joining the growing ranks of gourmet burger chains.

BurgerFi
460 Broadway, Saratoga Springs

The lime green outdoor cafe tables and bright sign stood out on Broadway when BurgerFi joined the collection of restaurants in downtown Saratoga this fall. A classic burger chain with a twist, BurgerFi serves only 100 percent certified Angus beef, with no added hormones or antibiotics. Although located in many areas across the U.S., the new Saratoga restaurant is the second in the Capital Region.

Located in the former Saratoga Saddlery, which moved a block north on Broadway, the new BurgerFi in Saratoga and the BurgerFi at 860 New Loudon Rd. in Latham are both owned and run by the Lia family, who also owns the Lia Auto Group. Due to the popularity of the Latham location, the family decided to expand the franchise with partner Angelo Mazzone, of Mazzone Hospitality.

The menu features all kinds of signature burgers, from a “Double Wagyu and Brisket Blend Burger” to the “Breakfast All Day Burger” with “natural Angus beef, American cheese, bacon, maple syrup, fried egg, hash browns,” and more. Accompanying the all-natural burgers are other options, including hot dogs, all-natural fries, craft wine and beer selections, and frozen custard. The restaurant officially opened on Oct. 24 and features indoor and outdoor patio seating, which will accommodate around 80 guests.