Looking for a quick bite on a tight lunch break? Downtown Saratoga Springs has no shortage of options, but it’s about to add one more: The Spa Café, which will be located at the corner of the Collamer Building on Broadway, where the Hungry Spot Café was for more than two decades. The Spa Café will be open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday and is planning on offering a similar menu to its predecessor. “We’re not reinventing the wheel,” says Spa Café Owner Darin Palmetto. “We’ll have a nice variety of stuff, and as we get busier and figure out what sells, we’ll adjust and add to the menu that way.”
The new cafe is slated to open sometime in early June with a menu catered to the on-the-go crowd. That means for the morning hours, breakfast sandwiches, muffins, yogurt and granola, fruit salad with, of course, coffee, tea and juices; and for lunch, a classic combination of soups and sandwiches and a changing lineup of daily specials. “We’re also going to do a take-home ‘meal of the day,’ so people can leave at three or four and get their meal for the night—for four people even—and dinner’s done,” says Palmetto. “It’s trending right now at other places, so we’ll see if it takes off.”
Palmetto is hoping to capitalize on all the businesses in and adjacent to the Collamer Building. He also believes that faster service will equal more customers during those hectic lunch hours when it’s near impossible to find an empty table on Broadway—especially come summertime. Though there’ll be some counter space and a few places to sit at the Spa Café, the new restaurant will be designed mostly for takeout. “Our biggest thing is shooting for very little wait time,” says Palmetto. “Nobody wants to take a 30-minute lunch break and wait 20 minutes for a sandwich.”
Palmetto knows the ins and outs of running a restaurant. He grew up working at his parents’ business, Palmetto Fruit Co., which for nearly eight decades was a fruit and veggie distributor located on Phila Street here in Saratoga. After completing culinary school, Palmetto gained experience working at a number of restaurants in the Capital Region, including Wheatfields, Panza’s and D’Andrea’s on Caroline, which Palmetto owned for almost seven years.
After selling D’Andrea’s in 2009, Palmetto took a break from the restaurant industry. The Spa Café is his first venture back into food service since then, and for his big return, he’s planning a total redesign of the takeout spot’s interior. “New paint, new floors, new equipment, new lighting, stainless steel in the kitchen—it’s going to look very different,” says Palmetto. As for the grand opening in a few weeks, Palmetto believes the renovations and faster service will help make it a big hit. “There are dozens of people in the Collamer building alone,” he says. “So we’re going to get very busy very quickly.”