Walt & Whit­man un­veils cafe and brew­ery in former Sarato­gian build­ing

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Lau­ren Hal­li­gan lhal­li­[email protected]­i­tal­first­ re­porter

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.wal­tand­whit­man­brew­

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.

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