As the Capital Region began the first step of its phased reopening last week, a number of Saratoga restaurants followed suit, themselves reopening for takeout and/or delivery. The beginning of May saw the Spa City’s first round of restaurants, including Druthers, Seneca and Cantina, as well as Walt & Whitman, reopening after temporarily closing due to the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, other Saratoga-based restaurants have started offering pickup and delivery options, including Solevo Kitchen + Social and Wasabi. And, starting on Friday, May 29, Saratoga’s famous Southern fried chicken spot, Hattie’s, will reopen for curbside delivery and pickup.
“This whole thing has been very emotional,” says Beth Alexander, who co-owns Hattie’s with her husband Jasper, about having to shut down during the outbreak. “It’s just so good to be back with everyone [in the restaurant], but we have no idea what to expect.” Other Saratoga-based food businesses who will reopen with their own takeout menus in the near future will include Saratoga Coffee Traders, opening on Monday, June 1; Three Vines Bistro and Bar, opening June 2; and Spot Coffee, also opening in early June.
Hattie’s, which has storefronts on Phila Street in Downtown Saratoga and near the Wilton Mall, closed to pickup or delivery more than two months ago. Though the local restaurant hasn’t been serving any food in that time—with the exception of Hattie’s Crawfish Day on Memorial Day, served to-go this year—Alexander says that she and the staff have been concentrating on perfecting Hattie’s new takeout model. “Our downtown location is very well suited for the takeout format,” she says. “We’re offering curbside delivery and setting up a pickup spot in front of the restaurant so no customers will have to go inside.”
When it opens back up this Friday, the restaurant’s new to-go hours will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 4-8pm. Customers will be able to order by phone or online (Hattie’s is even implementing a new online ordering system to deal with the traffic). On the updated menu will be Hattie’s staple Southern entrees like fried chicken, jambalaya and “Jasper’s Mac and Cheese.” It’ll also be offering family-sized meals, like the Fried Chicken Family Pack (10 pieces of chicken, chef’s choice, served with mashed potatoes, green beans and biscuits); as well as some cocktails to-go, including pint and quart-sized mojitos, Hurricanes (light and dark rum with Hattie’s own special hurricane mix) and Back Porch Lemonade (Stoli Razberi vodka and house-made lemonade).
“If all goes well, we hope to open to dine-in by the end of June or early July,” says Alexander. “We’ve already started measuring tables and making sure everyone’s six feet apart in preparation for that.”
As for a summer without shows at SPAC or fans at Saratoga Race Course, Alexander says that she and other restaurant owners don’t really know what to expect. “People will look forward to getting out and sitting outside, but I don’t think we’ll see as many people as we’re used to,” she says. “The best we can do is to adapt to our changing industry and hope for the best.”