April 03, 2013

Champagne on the Park Press Release

245 Lark Street
Albany, NY 12210
Ph: 518.434.3861 Fax: 518.434.4052

Date: April 3, 2013
Contact: Meghan McGrath,
Director of Operations
(518) 434-3861 x2

Champagne on the Park Tickets on Sale Now

Albany, New York- Tickets for Champagne on the Park, the Lark Street Business Improvement District’s annual fundraiser, are now on sale. The event will be held on Thursday, May 9th 5:30-9:30 in Washington Park.

The Lark Street Business Improvement District is proud to present its annual event Champagne on the Park, a gala among the formal tulip beds of Washington Park. Champagne on the Park honors members of the Lark Street community, while also celebrating the people and businesses that help make the community so distinctive and vibrant. The event will honor the late Chris Schloss, former President of the Lark Street BID, and former owner of Scratch Bakery. The event will feature an evening full of complimentary champagne, fine wine, hors’ d’oeuvres from Lark Street BID merchants, and the Graham Tichy Quartet.

Champagne on the Park is a fundraiser that supports the year-round efforts of the Lark Street Business Improvement District to continue the growth of the economic and urban development and sustainability of this unique neighborhood through programs including neighborhood safety and marketing, street maintenance and beautification, as well as special events and promotions. The success of Champagne on the Park and the ongoing programs of the Lark Street BID depend on the generous support of our friends, neighbors, and other supporters.

Tickets can be purchased on the Lark Street BID website, www.larkstreet.org, or by calling 518.434.3861 ext. 4. Tickets purchased in advance of the event are $60 for an individual or $100 for a couple. Groups of 10-20, tickets are $35 and groups of more than 20, tickets are $30. Tickets can also be purchased at the event for $70 for an individual or $120 for a couple.

For more information call 518-434-3861 or go to www.larkstreet.org.

March 28, 2013

Business Spotlight—Red Poppies: A Polish Pantry
          With the hopes of bringing Polish culinary and cultural traditions to Albany, Joanna Keblinski opened Red Poppies: A Polish Pantry on Lark Street in October of 2012. Joanna moved from Poland to the United States during the nineties, and brought her Polish roots and traditions along with her. She spent years cooking Polish dishes in her own personal kitchen, before deciding to open her own business and share her knowledge of Polish cuisine with the world.
         Offering a long list of deli goods, soups, traditional Polish gourmet items and a huge assortment of teas, at Red Poppies there is something on the menu for everyone. Red Poppies: A Polish Pantry also offers their services for special orders and catering. Open 6 days a week, from Tuesday to Friday 11:00am- 6:30 pm and Saturday, Sunday from 12:00pm-5:00pm. Come on down to A Polish Pantry and experience a traditional Polish meal.

Q: How long have you been in business?
A: Our shop opened in late October 2012.

Q: Describe your business.
A: Red Poppies is a gourmet deli specializing in foods of Polish origin, be they deli meats, prepared meals, or imports from Poland. But we are interested in selling more than just food – we hope to present Polish culinary and cultural traditions.

Q: How did you come up with the name for your business?
A: Red poppies have a historical and traditional meaning. Poppy seeds are often used in Polish cooking, especially in preparing the famous makowiec pastry. Traditionally, poppy seeds used to be kept in large bushels in Polish pantries, their large number a symbol and good omen of wealth and abundance. Historically, the red poppy recalls the Polish forces that advanced on Monte Cassino in World War 2, where they fought and died valiantly. The hill they charged, to this day, is covered in red poppies. We chose this name to recall both the traditional culinary and historical meanings. Both, we believe, are easily identified with Poland.

Q: What do you think makes your business stand out from others in the area?
A: While we like and frequent many of the shops around Lark St., Red Poppies complements the neighborhood by supplying a few things that are otherwise unavailable, that is, freshly cooked Polish food, imported products, and delicious Polish deli meats made by famous Polish-run firms in Brooklyn.

Q: Since opened, what has been your biggest success for your business?
A: Our success accumulates in small doses. Every customer who lets us know they enjoy our food and services gives us a boost in morale. Taken together, the positive sentiments of our customers are our greatest success.

Q: As a small business owner, what are some of the biggest challenges you have faced?
A: As a small business, and especially one renting a space, it is always difficult to expand our services by upgrading our kitchen area and hiring more staff to help grow the business. We’re frequently faced with external constraints that limit our capacity to provide for our customers.

Q: What is your favorite part about running your business?
A: My favorite part of running the business is interacting with customers who are curious to know more about Polish food and culture, and subsequently serving them foods they have never tried before but discover that they greatly enjoy.

Q: Did you have any education or prior experience before opening this business?
A: I have a degree in film criticism and I have worked as a journalist in the past. My culinary experience comes from cooking for friends and family and traveling around the world to learn more about various food cultures.

Q: How do you see your business growing in the future?
A: We're currently planning to expand our kitchen and hire more staff so we can diversify our menu. If we're successful in this, then we will think about the next step.

Q: Looking back, is there anything you would do different?
A: Every day brings many decisions and challenges, there are really too many to think about having done something differently. Nothing big stands out.

Q: What made you choose Lark street as your businesses location?
A: We're residents of this neighborhood, and we chose Lark St. specifically to cater to our local community. We enjoy living here, and we hope our shop helps maintain the positive atmosphere of the neighborhood.

Q: Out of the assortment of teas you sell, which is your favorite?
A: I think that the fruit teas are the most spectacular. The "Forest Fruit" tea in particular, has a beautiful strong fragrance, even before it has been steeped. When I'm heading to bed however, I like to sip on chamomile tea to relax.

Q: On your Facebook page, you posted about collecting money for homeless animals. Are there any other charities you support through your business?
A: We set aside a large portion of our tips for charity. Each month we contribute to a different cause. December's tip jar went to a local veteran's association, January's to a dog in need of spinal surgery, and February's to homeless animals. Each month we post these charities to our Facebook page and ask our fans to suggest other programs that we could support. Look for updates at the end of March.

Q: All of your desserts sound amazing, which is your favorite to cook and why?
A: All of them are quite laborious to make, I'd rather tell you which is my favorite to eat. That would be our star product, the makowiec, or poppy seed roll, because its complex flavors make it a luxurious addition to afternoon tea.

Q: If you could recommend one item off the menu to people who have not tried Polish food yet, what would it be?
A: Everyone loves our stews, especially the Breton bean stew. Seems like a safe bet for a recommendation.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Your questions have covered a lot! Nothing more to add.

For More Information on Red Poppies
Click Here 

March 05, 2013

Business Spotlight – Bomber's Burrito Bar

      Bomber's Burrito Bar was founded in 1997 by Matt Baumgartner. With locations in Albany and Schenectady, Bomber's is most famous for their giant burritos and award winning wings. Whether you're dining in, ordering take out, wanting delivery, or catering, Bomber's has it covered! They also offer gift cards, and plenty of daily specials including Wing Night on Mondays, Trivia on Tuesdays, Bingo on Wednesdays, Acoustic Guitar Night on Thursdays, and $5 Bloody Marys until 4:00pm on Sundays. Be sure to also check out their happy hour specials every day from 11:00am-7:00pm which include $3 beers, $3 well drinks, and $5 margaritas!

Q: How long have you been in business?
A: We first opened on Lark Street on October 3, 1997.

Q: Describe your business.

A: Bombers Burrito Bar is a casual, full service Tex-Mex restaurant offering counter-service, delivery, and a full service bar & dining room.

Q: How did you come up with the name for your business?

A: My nickname all through high school and college was “Bomber” because of my last name (Baumgartner). We also thought that using a “Bombers Girl” type theme with the name “Bomber” would be a winning combination.

Q: What do you think makes your business stand out from others in the area?
A: I think that our customers come to Bombers first for the delicious food, but also come for the overall experience. The atmosphere is fun! The drinks are tasty, and most importantly, the burritos and other menu items are at a price point that is appealing to people on a budget.

Q: Since opened, what has been your biggest success that your business has had?
A: I measure success in terms of how much is able to give back to the community. I feel that our biggest success is that we have been able to regularly donate to all the local/regional charities that have needed help.

Q: As a small business owner, what are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced?
A: Our biggest challenge as a small business has been to find a way to keep prices down while food costs continue to increase.

Q: What is your favorite part about running your business?
A: My favorite part of running a business has been meeting all our customers over the years and developing friendly relationships with everyone. I hadn’t felt like an active member of the community until I opened a business.

Q: Did you have any education or experience in the industry prior to opening your business?
A: No, I did not.

Q: How do you see your business growing in the future?
A: We are hoping to expand our Franchising division of Bombers Burrito Bar. We have our first Franchise opening in Troy in 2013, and a 2nd location hopefully opening in New Paltz, in 2014.

Q: Looking back, is there anything that you would do different?
A: I prefer to look forward rather than through the rear view mirror, and I am grateful for where I am currently in my life. So, I would keep everything the same.

Q: Tell us about that lucky $15,000 hand of poker back in 1997.
A: I was dealt a Royal Flush playing a game called Let It Ride. I was a broke 20 year old, and the money was a fortune to me at the time. I am proud of the fact that I didn’t spend it on something foolish and, instead, invested it into Bombers Burrito Bar because it has proved to be a good choice.

Q: Besides burritos, Bomber’s is famous for offering a giant margarita to customers on their birthday, how did you come up with this idea?
A: I just figured that everyone wants to feel special on his/her birthday, and not many bars were giving away anything for free on that special day, so we decided to capitalize on that. Now, it seems like every bar in Albany gives away a large drink on your birthday.

Q: Tell us how you came up with the ideas for some of your award winning wing sauces.
A: I like to utilize the talent that we have in the kitchen, and most of our best sauces came from one of our employees experimenting in the kitchen.

Q: What is your favorite burrito on the menu?
A: My favorite burrito is the BBQ pulled pork.

For More Information
Click Here 

December 11, 2012

Winter WonderLark

Winter WonderLark 2012 was a great success!

Festival visitors enjoyed the outdoor holiday market and the delicious treats from Chefs Consortium.

The gingerbread funshop was a huge hit with the kids and adults alike!

Sax O Claus was seen strolling up and down lark serenading Winter WonderLark attendees.

Everyone’s favorite race in Albany, Santa Speedo Sprint, took off at 2pm and raised laughs, spirits as well as money for the Albany Damien Center and Albany Med HIV/AIDS.

The Lark Street BID held their first ever scavenger hunt. Participants were seen scouring Lark Street for answers to local businesses fun facts. There was also a raffle at the BID’s booth that included over 12 prizes featuring Lark Street businesses.

Last minute note...If you are looking for a souvenir from Winter WonderLark, mugs are available to purchase at larkstreet.org. They are great gift ideas for last minute holiday shoppers!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the success of Winter WonderLark 2012!

June 07, 2012

Parking Notice for Art on Lark

Art on Lark 2012

Please be advised of StreetClosures for Art on Lark: 7am to 8pm, Saturday, June 9th :
         Lark St (Between Washington and Madison)
  Lancaster St (Between Lark and Willet)
 Hudson Ave (Between Lark and Willet)
                         State St (Between Lark and Willett – Localtraffic only between Henry Johnson  Blvd and Willet, hard closure at Willett)

Parking Restrictions: 8am to 5pm,Saturday, June 9th:
                Lark St (Both sides from Washingtonto Madison)
           Lancaster  St (Both sides from Lark to Willett)
                       Hudson  Ave (3 spaces each side going East from Lark to Dove)
  State St  (Both sides from Lark to Willett)

Tag & Tow will begin at 6:00am on Saturday, June 9th
Please have your vehicles off of the above mentioned streets before 6:00am.

Thank you,
Lark Street BID

Art on Lark Performer Biographies!

Mike Grutka

Mike Grutka has a sound like no other. The Saratoga Springs based musician wishes to share his message with the world. His music has become increasingly hopeful and inspirational after the death of his mother. After her young death, he now tells himself, “You’ve got to do this now. No one else is going to do it for you”. This attitude helped him release February Sessions, which he believes will be his most successful album yet. Grutka describes his sound as “acoustic based funky modern roots rock-n-roll.” The power and energy in his music will move you as it carries a strong message: never give up hope.

Ashton Williams Band

The Ashton Williams Band is composed of five incredibly talented members known for making covers of popular 90’s songs. Keith Dobbs, Adam Carey, Chris Duffy, Mike Hugo and Andrew Lasher make up the Indie rock/ alternative band. Based in Schenectady, the band is eager to share their talent with the world. Aside from recreating 90’s rock songs, they have three exciting alternative original pieces that they plan to debut at Art on Lark.

Betsi Krisniski

Betsi is all about standing out and being different. She describes her lyrics as “experimental poetry with wit” and her sound as “alternative-tuning” harmony. Her music is experimental in both the metaphorical and literal sense: she writes about chemistry and failing physics, inspired by her being a chemistry major in college. Her unique sound and music topics will capture your attention and surely make you smile. As much as she wants to share her talent with the world, she does not long for attention. After all, words Krisniski lives by are “Once you stop looking for acceptance, you are forever immune to rejection.”

 Matthew Carefully

Mathew Carefully is a gifted musician from Upstate New York known for merging modern sounds with traditional instruments. He frequently uses the mandolin, banjo, acoustic/electric guitars, drums and percussion instruments. His innovative “sound marrying” technique is a refreshing spin on both modern and traditional sounding music as it merges the two into one sound. Carefully also is a speedy songwriter- he sends new songs to his friends every week and recorded an entire album in one month.

Babe City

Being a brand new band doesn’t mean they’re any less awesome. Babe City is a band based in the Capital District and is made up of four young and talented women: Olivia Quillio, Mary Leigh Roohan, Meaghan Duffy and Caroline Corrigan. Prior to forming the band they were all independent performers. As a band, they put spins on their own songs and do covers of already popular songs. As they like to say, “Get weird with us” at Art on Lark.

The College Farm

The three man band known as The College Farm is consisted of Andrew Pelletier, Matthew Pelletier and Josh Herzog. The band is currently on tour around the Capital District. Their folk rock music about ghost stories and love legends is both thrilling and unique. The College Farm has already created one phenomenal album titled Northeast of Nowhere. Their lyrics will catch your attention, while the passion and power of it will move you.

May 23, 2012

Art on Lark!

Albany's Arts Festival, Art on Lark, will be held Saturday, June 9th! Come join the Lark Street Business Improvement District and the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) for a day filled with vibrant art and music in support for the local arts community.  
This arts festival encompasses a green theme wherein environmental awareness, clean air initiatives, and the three Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) are celebrated. Artist-led projects selected for the event range from public transportation advocacy-inspired to sculptures constructed from reused neighborhood materials. The Capital Districts very own, Chip Fasciana, will be constructing a mock shelter harvested from recycled bus and shelter materials. This one of a kind project represents the community-level dedication to art and environment.

New to the festival is the Yarn Bombing project by local fibre artists. For those of you that don't yet know about the work of world's young fibre artists, this should be an enchanting experience! All around the world these craftsman are combing street graffiti with knitted patterns of yarn, making breathtaking installations over everything from billboards to buildings. Art on Lark will feature locally constructed installations that capture the beauty of the growing form of urban art.

Local musicians have been selected to perform at Art on Lark, making this an event you don't want to miss!  EXIT 97.7fm, WEXT presents The Music Stage 2012 lineup:

Ashton Williams Band
Mike Grutka
Betsi Krisniski
Matthew Carefully
The College Farm
Babe City

Come down to Lark Street between Madison Avenue and Washington Avenue on Saturday, June 9th for some fun in the sun, art, and awesome music. We expect to see you at Albany's premier arts festival!