It was Cohoes’ popular Eat in the Street program, which last summer closed the city’s Remsen Street on Friday evenings, allowing bars and restaurants to expand seating out into the road, that sold Robilee McIntyre on opening a restaurant in the Spindle City. In September, McIntyre, who co-owns Troy bar Footsy Magoo’s, went with her friend and business partner to check out some available retail space on Ontario Street. “We went around the corner onto Remsen, and it was packed,” she says. “There were maybe 150 people in the street—good-looking, laughing, well dressed—and we said, ‘What the…?'”
The next day, still thinking about the impressive community showing she saw the night before, McIntyre asked her friend (who is choosing to remain a silent partner in their endeavor) what she thought about the space. “She said, ‘All I can think about is slingin’ eggs.’ And I said, ‘Oh my God, me too!’ And that’s kind of it.”
Now, four months later, the pair is getting ready to open up The Tiny Diney, a diner that’s, well, tiny, in the old Uncle John’s Diner building. “I’m 50—I’ve got a lot going on,” says McIntyre, who, in addition to Footsy Magoo’s, owns her own art studio in Troy. “I’m busy, and it’s small—it’s tiny—so it didn’t seem like it was gonna blow our brains off in terms of work.”
But that doesn’t mean McIntyre and her partner are taking the easy street on this venture. In addition to breakfast classics—which include house-made sausage and corned beef—the diner will have a lot of weekly specials, featuring “funkier” breakfast options, such as “curried eggs and whatever other concoctions I can come up with,” McIntyre says. They’re also setting up their business model to be extra COVID-safe. There will be contactless pickup available and even a 1950s-style carhop servicing the two parking lots behind the diner. “My business partner is an ex–Albany All Stars roller-derby girl, so we’re talking about her skating the food to the car. So you’ll text us—we’ll have a website up and rolling—and you’ll say, ‘Car number seven needs more coffee.’ So that’s kind of fun.”
The Tiny Diney will celebrate its grand opening at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, January 22, and then have a soft opening weekend (or “practice,” as McIntyre calls it) on Saturday and Sunday. Its regular hours (Thursday through Sunday, 7am–1pm) will begin the following week.