The hype hasn’t settled since the sign was put up at Dunning Street Station, located at 2853 State Route 9. This little dining car has had quite the history, dating back prior to 1950.
Transitioning from a house into a small diner, Constantinos Dardas (Gus) purchased and converted the house into a diner by tearing off the second floor and front of the house. The Malta Ridge Diner (also referred to as Gus’s), offered staples like eggs and coffee, but was famous for their real turkey and roast beef meals.
The diner itself was known to all of Saratoga and even had a Hollywood appearance when My Old Man was filmed in there. After many years in business, Gus retired and closed the diner until Sam’s Place or Sam’s Italian Restaurant reopened in the space. With food that boasted reviews from even the New York Times, Sam’s Place had old Saratoga written all over it. With valet parking and a packed house every night, it was known for hosting many of the movie stars who would frequent Saratoga during the summer months.
“A new Italian restaurant called Sam’s Place is on the south end of town on Route 9 in a resurrected Art Deco-style diner. Dinner for two the other night was $82 with tax and tip. It included martinis, a liter and a half of imported wine, hot antipasto, lobster fra diavolo and a house specialty called Three Musketeers, which includes portions of braciola, chicken parmigiana and eggplant parmigiana. Bring an appetite.”
When Sam’s Place closed, one of the most memorable restaurants in the history of this location opened. I have a feeling you might remember the name, Chez Sophie. A restaurant that NY Times described as “a tiny bit of France 3,500 miles from Paris, the neighborhood bistro that every Manhattanite dreams of,” Chez Sophie came alive at night. Owned by Sophie and Joseph Parker, Sophie (of French descent), ruled the kitchen while her husband took reservations, greeted and helped to seat guests.
Several years after the passing of Sophie Parker, her son Paul and wife Cheryl Clark closed Chez Sophie to work on other projects. In 2010, Bloomers Restaurant opened for less than a year in the location, and quickly closed due to being seized by the NYS Tax Department.
Most recently, Quintessence was the final restaurant to enter into the diner, bringing their well-known and loved chicken teriyaki from their Albany location. Unfortunately, Quintessence never really got off the ground, and after struggling for a few years, went out of business.
The restaurant itself sat vacant for the past two years, until Bob McKenna and Scott Ringwood (owners of Lake Ridge Restaurant in Round Lake) saw the opportunity and jumped at it.
Bob and Scott purchased the property in 2015, and got to work completely renovating the exterior and interior, which I’m sure many of you have seen when driving by.
After a long enough wait, it’s exciting to announce that Dunning Street Station is set to open to the public this Thursday, June 30th! Luckily, I got a little preview of the menu and what they’ll be serving, and I even have some photos to share.
Among my favorite dishes that I tried (out of like… 10 different things), were the Deviled Eggs, Cuban Black Bean Flat Bread, Stuffed Zucchini, Tuscan Kale and Romaine Caesar, and the Tuna Sliders. Order any of those, and you will not be disappointed.
Here’s a peek at the full menu and some of the food I got to try (and more!)
Dunning Street opens officially tomorrow at 3pm, so make sure you get there early to get yourself a seat!