Saratogian Of The Month: 10 Questions For Scallions’ Living Legend, Maria Daviero

If you can believe it, I only first ate at Scallions this past spring. Throughout my childhood in Saratoga Springs, it was a fixture on Broadway. Now at its perch on Lake Avenue, Scallions has become a go-to spot for the healthy, light-dining crowd—and we here at saratoga living can’t get enough of it.

We wanted to honor one of our favorite Saratogians in this “Best Of Everything” issue—and we chose Scallions’ own Maria Daviero, who’s waited on many of us, and just exudes everything we love about this town. Maria embodies the very best of what Saratoga has to offer.

How did you end up Saratoga?
I grew up in Rotterdam, and then, when my husband retired from the fire department in Schenectady, he said to me, “Maria, I don’t think I want to retire in the middle of five-and-a-half acres; I want to be around people and have some activity and life.” I kidded him and said, “Well, if you can take me to water, I’ll move,” meaning the ocean. But then he came home one day and said, “How about Saratoga Springs?” And I just looked at him and said, “OK.” Saratoga Springs is just so full of life and culture and beauty and it’s clean and the people are kind. We live on Saratoga Lake, so we have the best of both worlds.

How long have you worn your signature hairstyle?
My hairstyle is just something I did that made me feel good and yet, was back and out of the way for serving. I’ve probably done it for 15 years.

Who’s been your favorite celebrity encounter at Scallions?
I just met two members of the Dave Matthews Band, and if you were to ask me my passions in life, first of all, my family, and secondly, Dave Matthews Band. I waited on saxophonist Jeff [Coffin], and then [drummer] Carter [Beauford] also came in, and they were kind and caring.

Do you have a mantra you live by?
“No regrets.” That means the world to me. I don’t want to look back and wish I’d done it or said it. My mother taught me when I was very young that if something’s on your heart, you tell somebody that, you share it with them. You don’t know if somebody’s having a good day or a bad day, but that little bit that’s on your heart could change everything.

What’s something customers would be surprised to learn about you?
That I’m a Dave Matthews fanatic. My husband has a joke: I’ve been with him for 43 years, but if somebody asked him, “Would it be Bobby or Dave Matthews?” it’d probably be Dave Matthews.

What’s the best thing about Saratoga?
The people. I really mean that. I’ve met people from all walks of life, whether they be in a store or customers or walking down the street or sitting in the park—it doesn’t really matter. People are kind and caring, and I see that all over Saratoga.

What do you do better than anyone else at Scallions?
Tough question, because we’re a true team. We really, really do work together. I don’t know if I do anything better, but I certainly care so much about each individual. I don’t care if somebody comes in this restaurant and orders a coffee and a dessert. Or a dish of spaghetti or a filet mignon. They’re out treating themselves, and I know that no matter what they’re out for, I’m going to make that experience the best one that I can for them. That’s just how I feel about every individual who comes through this door.

What’s your favorite after-hours place in Saratoga?
There’s a few of them. We like to go to Bailey’s, the Saratoga City Tavern rooftop, The Wine Bar. We like to just walk around and see where there’s some action sometimes, and sometimes, where there’s quiet. There’s nowhere that we don’t like to go.

Who’s your hero?
My mother. And I mean that with all my heart. If I had met my mother as just a person, I would be as in love with her as I am—except for her being my mother, if you know what I mean. She lived with values of loving life, and I love life the way she does.

If you could be doing anything else in life, what would it be?
I think I’d go back to nursing. I was at St. Clare’s Hospital [in Schenectady]. Nursing gave me such joy. When people are down at their lowest, they need someone to bring them up and care and give them support and kindness and understanding. Sympathy’s one thing, but empathy’s another. That’s what I had for them, and it brought me joy. That’s my word of the day: “Joy.”

A shorter version of this story ran in saratoga living‘s “The Best Of Everything” issue. 

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