OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Walt & Whitman unveils cafe and brewery in former Saratogian building
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> The Saratogian’s former home at 20 Lake Avenue is now open and operating as a brewery and coffee house.
The business, called Walt & Whitman, opened its upper floor cafe on Monday morning, and plans to debut its downstairs brewery at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
After about two years of planning and construction, founder and co-owner Will Crager is happy to finally reveal Walt & Whitman to the public.
“It’s been really exciting to see it come together,” he said, “just to see people in the space, enjoying it, seeing it come to life a little bit is obviously a pretty great step for our team.”
Walt & Whitman has a staff of more than 40 employees, who have been looking forward to and preparing for the opening as well.
“It’s just really incredible to finally have people in here, to hear them talk about the space, hear them talk about the food and beer and coffee,” Crager said. “I know it means a lot to all of us.”
For the past few days, the cafe has been busy serving Ceremony Coffee Roasters coffee, espresso drinks, avocado toast and baked goods including house-made pop tarts.
The cafe’s layout is meant to allow for dialogue between the customers and baristas, so they can explain the product, process and state-of-the-art equipment.
Soon, guests will also be able to order from the brewery menu, which features Detroit-style pizza, Korean BBQ wings, Maryland-style crab cakes and, to start, six different types of beer brewed right on site.
“There’s been a ton of excitement around the food,” Crager said, crediting executive chef Brandon Schatko for this success. “We’ve got a real mix of things, and the feedback has been that it’s a little bit different than you might see at a typical brewpub.”
As for the beer, Crager is proud of the brewing team too. “They hit it out of the ballpark on this first go around,” he said. “We’re really excited to share the beers with everybody.”
One brew that’s standing out as a fast favorite is the “I’m So, I’m So ‘Blanc,’” an American pale ale.
Leading up to this week’s opening, Walt & Whitman has seen a great amount of help and support from the community, Crager noted, and part of the entrepreneur’s plan is returning that generosity and kindness.
Looking ahead, the goal of the future of the business is establishing Walt & Whitman as a destination, “a place that you have to go when you come to Saratoga,” Crager said, “and further down the line something that is synonymous with Saratoga.”
He continued, “That, to us, would be an incredible step, and is really the goal that we’re going to drive toward in the long run.”
In addition to the current cafe and brewery areas, Walt & Whitman plans to open an outdoor beer garden next summer, and an event space in late 2020.
Paying homage to the site’s longtime role as a newspaper office, Walt & Whitman’s restroom decor features The Pink Sheet, The Saratogian’s signature pink summertime horse racing publication, on its walls.
“It’s very strange being in here and thinking about the history of this building,” said Andrea Costanzo, a former employee of The Saratogian’s advertising layout department who was checking out Walt & Whitman on Wednesday morning. While much has changed at the Lake Avenue property since Costanzo called it her workplace in the early 1990s, the Saratoga Springs resident is happy to see that it is still in use. “I’m glad the building didn’t get torn down. That’s what I’m most grateful for,” she said after enjoying a coffee and egg sandwich in the cafe.
Walt & Whitman’s cafe opens at 7 a.m. daily and the brewery opens at 11 a.m. daily.
A grand opening event is expected to be announced soon.
More information about Walt & Whitman can be found online at www.waltandwhitmanbrewing.com.
The business can be contacted by calling (518) 6823602.
The cafe at Walt & Whitman is now open at 20 Lake Ave. in Saratoga Springs.
Walt & Whitman Brewing brews its beer on site at 20 Lake Ave. in Saratoga Springs.