One of the fixtures of the historic Saratoga Race Course season is going to be doing things a little differently this year. Siro’s, the historic restaurant and bar where upper-crust racing fans often congregate following the races, will not be opening its dining room this year, says the restaurant’s General Manager and Maître d’ Michael Stone. However, according to Siro’s Owner Scott Solomon, there are plans in the works to open the restaurant’s popular outdoor area.
The news comes after the New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced back in April that racing would likely happen at Saratoga, but without fans in attendance this season, due to the COVID-19 crisis. (A NYRA rep told Saratoga Living that its decision is based solely on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s mandate regarding “attractive nuisances” and crowd-size restrictions during the pandemic.)
“Social distancing, incorporated with the lack of fans, is just not going to enable us to be economically viable to open,” Stone says of the Siro’s dining room. “I’m sure we’re not the only ones—we’re all in uncharted waters.” Siro’s, which last year opened for the first time under new ownership, relies entirely on track clientele to fill its seats, only opening for the duration the track season before shutting down after Closing Day. Having first opened its doors in 1945, the restaurant would have been celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Stone wouldn’t comment on the status of this year’s Newton Plaza Siro’s Cup, an annual fundraiser for Albany’s Center for Disability Services held at the restaurant on the eve of Saratoga Race Course’s Opening Day. “To be perfectly honest, we’re still undecided,” says Anne Schneider Costigan, the Center for Disability Services senior vice president for communications and development. “We’re a little up in the air on what we’re going to be doing. I may have more information in a couple of weeks.”
An earlier version of this story reported that Siro’s would remain closed for the 2020 season. The restaurant’s ownership has since amended its initial statement.