After a difficult 2020-21 for most Saratoga Springs small businesses, let’s start off by giving them all—the shops, restaurants, firms, salons, practices, nonprofits, et al.—the big, honking round of applause they deserve. You made it! While we would’ve loved to have honored each and every one of them in this issue (after all, Saratoga is by no means a one-horse town), in the pages that follow, we’ll be highlighting only three businesses each (win, place and show) in 26 categories, which were deemed, via online voting, the Best of Saratoga by the people of this great city.
WIN Phinney Design Group
Phinney Design Group, a serial winner of awards for architectural design and construction, has nabbed yet another win here for its innovative work that focuses on sustainable and environmentally responsible construction methods. See Phinney’s designs at notable local establishments such as Yaddo, 550 Waterfront and The Sagamore Resort.
PLACE Saratoga Associates
SHOW The LA Group
WIN Adirondack Trust Company
Every Saratogian, whether or not he or she banks at the Adirondack Trust Company, has marveled at its white-marble headquarters on the corner of Broadway and Church Street in Downtown Saratoga. But that’s just one arrow in its quiver; the iconic, locally owned business, which has been serving the area for more than a century, has over 20 locations across Saratoga County and beyond. Now that’s the dictionary definition of bankable.
SHOW Saratoga National Bank And Trust Company
WIN Clothes Horse (tie)
In the more than four decades since it first opened in 1977, Clothes Horse has established itself as a downtown destination in Saratoga’s crowded shopping scene. The boutique carries a large selection of dresses, tops, jackets, jewelry, shoes and more, and serves customers hailing from all over the world.
WIN Lifestyles of Saratoga (tie)
Lifestyles of Saratoga, a longtime Broadway staple, boasts a “consciously curated” collection of women’s clothing and accessories that has made many a gift-seeking and shop-therapy-endorsing fan throughout the years. Lifestyles lives up to its name by outfitting Saratoga’s most fashionable women, from both its corner brick-and-mortar store and (seasonal) mobile boutique at Saratoga Race Course.
SHOW Chic Underneath
WIN Hamlet & Ghost
Raise your glass to Hamlet & Ghost, Caroline Street’s home to best-in-class handcrafted cocktails such as the popular Gin-Gin Fizz and Blackberry Basil Paloma. The restaurant-bar’s extensive wine and beer lists are nothing to shake a stick at either. Go for happy hour, a romantic meetup or just a good, old-fashioned night on the town. Added bonus: You can stay for an inventive dinner dish or app by renowned Capital Region chef Michele Hunter.
PLACE Whitman Brewing
SHOW 9 Maple Ave.
WIN Saratoga Performing Arts Center
It’s no surprise that the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Saratoga’s premier open-air amphitheater located in the Saratoga Spa State Park, took home the win in this year’s entertainment venue category. Since 1966, it’s been the summer home to the New York City Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra—plus a gaggle of perennial Live Nation acts such as the Dave Matthews Band, Dead & Company and the Zac Brown Band. In short, it’s everything Saratogians need to get their double dose of artistic goodness.
PLACE Universal Preservation Hall
SHOW Caffè Lena
Furniture/Home Décor Store
WIN The Furniture House
This year’s category winner, The Furniture House, which has locations on both Saratoga Lake and in Queensbury, offers an enviable selection of dressers, end tables, ottomans, chairs and much, much more for every home. (Hence, the big W.) And it has a winning customer service experience, too: Can’t find that perfect piece to fit your taste in either of its stores? The Furniture House’s expert in-house design team can create a personalized piece just for you.
PLACE Silverwood Home & Gallery
SHOW Taft Furniture
WIN The Fresh Market
Do you know what winning smells like? The freshest of fresh produce, meats, seafood, cheeses and just-out-of-the-oven baked goods, that’s what. Add in the delectable aromas of The Fresh Market’s pre-prepared soups, salads, sandwiches, entrées and sushi to that list, and you can understand why the Saratoga market topped this year’s Grocery Store category.
PLACE Price Chopper/Market 32
SHOW Healthy Living Market & Cafe
WIN Blended Hair Studio
Blended Hair Studio, a popular unisex boutique salon located in Saratoga’s historic Franklin Square, is a cut above the rest this year. Blended offers a variety of services for both men and women, including cuts, color and keratin treatments, blowouts and waxes. Yep, Blended truly has it all.
PLACE Solo Salon Suite
SHOW Classical Concepts
Amsure, the Albany- and Saratoga-based insurance affiliate of Adirondack Trust Company (this year’s Bank/Credit Union category winner), has been offering clients peace of mind since 1945. The company partners with leading casualty, surety, life and employee benefit insurance companies to customize creative risk management insurance solutions. Talk about a sure-fire path to victory.
PLACE State Farm
WIN deJonghe Original Jewelry
Want to give that special someone an unforgettable gift, the type that glints in the sun and gets a steady stream of compliments? Look no further than Saratoga’s deJonghe Original Jewelry. Owner and award-winning designer Dennis deJonghe has been selling his custom rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets—many of which pay homage to Saratoga’s local history—to happy customers since 1982. That’s nearly 40 years of winning.
PLACE N. Fox Jewelers
SHOW Silverado Jewelry Gallery
WIN Flatbread Social
Brick-oven pizza with a side of shuffleboard? That’s what you’ll find at Henry Street’s Flatbread Social, a Saratoga restaurant that’s perfect for a night (or day) out with the kiddos. Flatbread’s menu is stuffed with kid-friendly starters, salads, sandwiches and of course, its famous flatbread pizzas, and it even includes a little-ones-only 8-inch personal pizza. Sorry, adults (though the cocktail list is for you and you alone).
PLACE PJ’s Bar-B-QSA
SHOW 550 Waterfront
WIN D’Orazio Peterson, LLP
A few years after Scott Peterson and Giovanna D’Orazio met at Albany Law School in the early 2000s, they got married and began building individual careers with larger law firms. Eventually, they decided to, as Simon & Garfunkel might put it, marry their fortunes together. Nowadays, their law firm, D’Orazio Peterson, LLP, strives to represent people against the powerful—and at least in these pages, they win every time.
PLACE The Towne Law Firm, PC
SHOW Ianniello Anderson, PC
WIN The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
Since 1990, the Children’s Museum at Saratoga has been serving the Spa City’s knee-high residents with interactive exhibits, art programs, nature explorations and more. After 20 years on Caroline Street, the museum will expand to double its current size when it moves into the historic Lincoln Baths building. Bathing in excellence, we say.
PLACE Saratoga Automobile Museum
SHOW National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
WIN East Side
At least for this year, East is the beast. Saratoga’s East Side neighborhood’s quaint, traditional homes; multiple museums and elementary schools; easy food options (we see you, Little Market at Five Points, Spring Street Deli and Augie’s To Go!); and, of course, historic racetrack make living there easy. It truly is a winning combination.
PLACE West Side
WIN Benjamin Smile
Nothing says “winning” like a big, beaming smile—and who better to provide you with one that you’ll be proud of forever and ever than Dr. Gerald C. Benjamin of Benjamin Smile? Dr. Benjamin boasts 39 years of experience in restorative and esthetic dentistry and offers individualized attention to each of his patients. No wonder Saratogians voted in droves for Benjamin Smile.
PLACE Byrne Orthodontics
SHOW Saratoga Smile Care
WIN 550 Waterfront
The breezy, nautical-themed patio at 550 Waterfront’s seafood-centric restaurant is usually packed to the gills (see what we did there?) with customers sitting alongside Saratoga Lake in Adirondack chairs. Sure, the food and drinks are delish, but it’s that view—550 is the only place you can see the entire lake end to end—that won this hot spot the top slot.
PLACE Whitman Brewing
SHOW Druthers Brewing Company
WIN Uncommon Grounds
When you’re downtown and need a bite to eat, stat, there’s no denying that Uncommon Grounds, the Capital Region’s coffee-and-bagel mecca, is your winning bet. In addition to its doughy fare, Uncommon, as locals know it, also serves up salads, soups, pastries and house-made oatmeal in a jiffy.
PLACE Cardona’s Market formerly Roma Foods
Residential Real Estate Company
WIN Roohan Realty
Roohan Realty’s more than 50 years on the job is a big reason why it has taken home the win in the Residential Real Estate Company category. The family-owned and -operated real estate firm, which has been serving Saratoga and the Southern Adirondack region since 1969, is all about its customers. Located right on Broadway, Roohan focuses primarily on single-family homes—in other words, making Saratoga one of the hottest havens for happy homeowners in the state, hands down.
PLACE Berkshire Hathaway
SHOW Julie & Co. Realty
WIN Lake Avenue Elementary School
Serving more than 400 students in grades K-5, Lake Avenue Elementary School challenges children to get creative and develop as learners. Unique opportunities for its students include Project Lead the Way (the only elementary-level pre-engineering program in New York State) and a student-tended garden. Can you spell “win”?
PLACE Caroline Street Elementary School
SHOW Saratoga Independent School
Total Body Workout
WIN Haus of Stiel Fitness
If you’re still looking to lose that “COVID 19”—or have always wanted a body to go with your brains—certified elite personal trainer Shane Stiel can help. Through in-person workouts at Haus of Stiel’s Henry Street location, as well as virtual training sessions, Stiel carefully tailors workout routines to each client’s fitness goals. Sounds like a steal of a deal, if you ask us.
PLACE Metabolic Fitness
SHOW Pure Barre
WIN 15 Church
Since 2014, 15 Church has brought Saratoga’s dining scene unparalleled elegance and taste (pun intended a million times over). World-class chefs use the finest ingredients imaginable to create modern-classic dishes that are at once familiar, exotic and yes, delicious. Add in the restaurant’s open-air, waterfall-lined patio, open during the warmer months, and you have a culinary experience that’s worth every last penny.
PLACE Osteria Danny
SHOW Solevo Kitchen + Social
WIN Upstate Animal Medical Center
Your pet deserves winning care. Upstate Animal Medical Center has been serving Saratoga’s four-legged (and winged!) community members with progressive and preventative care for more than 20 years. Services include everything from allergy testing and dental procedures to emergency medicine and laser surgery. Your best friend is in good hands.
PLACE Saratoga Springs Veterinary Hospital
SHOW Just Cats Veterinary clinic
Wealth Management Company
WIN Sterling Manor Financial, LLC
When it comes to money matters, why not go with Saratoga’s best? According to this year’s voters, Sterling Manor Financial fits the bill. Its veteran financial advisors provide diligent, professional wealth management chops to help clients meet even their toughest goals. It all comes down to Sterling’s 3-D Process: New clients partner with an advisor to discover every facet of their financial life, design a plan that meets their goals and deploy that plan. Triple play, anyone?
PLACE Mosaic Wealth Strategies Group, Ltd
SHOW Adirondack Wealth Management
Saratoga’s collective hearts broke last year when Phila Street crêperie Ravenous closed its doors after more than two decades in business. The restaurant was known for its can’t-miss crêpes, both savory and sweet; pommes frites (thin crispy French fries); and laid-back atmosphere. If only Saratoga could wave its magic wand and bring this iconic eatery back.
PLACE Saratoga Shoe Depot
SHOW R&R/43 Phila
WIN The Hot Yoga Spot
From your first downward-facing dog to your final savasana, The Saratoga Hot Yoga Spot, one of five Capital Region studios, offers this year’s best yoga studio experience. And it isn’t hard to see why: With more than 40 weekly yoga and barre sessions from the area’s top instructors, The Hot Yoga Spot accommodates beginner benders and master yogis alike, and also offers special outdoor sessions in the summer. Ohmmm my.
PLACE Yoga Mandali
SHOW Yana Yoga
WIN The Saratoga Day Spa
What would Saratoga be without its spas? The Saratoga Day Spa checks all the boxes this year. The spa’s founding philosophy was to nurture the “whole person” by offering a blend of services that addresses clients’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs. To that end, the Broadway spa offers everything from skincare solutions, waxing and massages to medical treatments, holistic health services, reiki and energy healing. In other words, The Saratoga Day Spa has, and is, everything.
PLACE Breathe Salon & Spa
SHOW Complexions Spa for Beauty & Wellness
—compiled by Rose Merjos and Carmelina Albanese