2020 was a year that tested all of us. We went through situations that we could have never dreamed of. We were forced to change and adapt to survive. We also showed compassion, went the extra mile to support our communities and paid it forward where and when we could.
Small businesses are one of the groups that have been significantly affected by the pandemic, forcing even some of the most treasured places to close their doors for good. One of my goals last year was to support small businesses where and when I could. In the Fall, I even started a social media series to feature some of the small businesses I’ve visited, showing their amazing offerings, products and establishments.
So, here we are in 2021, still navigating this altered environment we’ve been living in since last March. And yet it’s still so important that we support small businesses now more than ever. So, if you’re looking for a new place to try or enjoy with friends and family, I encourage you to check out one of these small businesses I visited in 2020.
𝗙𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶’𝘀 𝗗𝗲𝗹𝗶 & 𝗝𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗲𝘆 𝗕𝗮𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴
Location: Valatie, NY
Filli’s Deli and Bakery is a family owned bakery and deli that opened on Main St Valatie last Fall. All of their baked goods and breads are homemade with their recipes being passed down for generations. Their location gives you all the feels of being in an authentic bakery/deli.
When I had visited, their special was an old fashioned cookie filled between fresh vanilla bean creme. It would SO yummy and was a great alternative to a classic ice cream cookie sandwich. I also tried a few of their donuts, pastries and have had their breakfast sandwiches and subs. Everything is so good and Filli’s has become a staple in my household.
Stop in to grab their delicious rolls, donuts, pastries or a deli sub next time you’re in the area! Trust me, they won’t disappoint.
Valatie Bar & Grill
Location: Valatie, NY
Valatie Bar & Grill has great food, cold drinks, live music, quick draw, and your favorite sports team on the big screen. Their atmosphere is always so lively and fun. Now with the pandemic, you can pull up a seat at the bar next to a blow up animal or friend (hello social distancing)!
It is a place that me and my friends frequent because their food and drinks never disappoint. While my favorites off the menu are the fried pickles and the VBG boneless wings, when I visited back in November the specials were a Corn Beef Rueben and Blackened Salmon Tacos. Both of these options made my taste buds so happy. Even the French fries and macaroni salad left me wanting more! So, if you’re looking for a good time, good food and cold drinks… mosey on over to VBG!
Windy Hill Orchard East
Location: Schodack, NY
It’s tradition in my family to get our Xmas tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving with our family and friends. This year we decided to try out Windy Hill Orchard East, and I think it may be our new spot we go every year! It’s a family owned farm that has a lot of decision and fun offerings, including an on-site cider and winery.
When I visited in November, we picked out our tree, which was pre-cut, then we followed it up with some homemade ciders from their cidery and a hayride with Santa! And let me tell you… their cider donuts are no joke. They have fun things to all for all of the seasons, including a variety of events.
So, if you’re in the Schodck area, check out Windy Hill Orchard- East and the Windy Hill Cidery & Winery if you’re looking for something fun and outdoorsy to do – or if you’re looking for a place to get a Christmas tree for the holiday season!
Location: East Greenbush, NY
In December I had the pleasure of going to the soft opening of Nic’s Trattoria. This restaurant is owned and operated by two brothers who are family friends of mine – Rocco and Michael Nicoletta. From the decor, to the custom pizza oven, to the way the food was plated – there were no details that went unnoticed. Their menu consists of wood-fired pizzas, Italian-inspired plates and a craft bar.
We started off sharing the calamari that was hand tossed and breaded with spicy peppers. For pizzas we opted for the Ham, Egg and Cheese and the Honey Diavlo – both were out of this world. Then we topped it all off with a piece of their homemade lemon ricotta cake. Needless to say, their food did not disappoint. m so proud of these two and I can’t wait to watch their business continue to grow and flourish. I also can’t wait to go back to try more of the dishes and pizzas they have on their menu. Seriously… you have to check this place out .
Location: Chatham, NY
Chatham Brewing is my favorite little local brewery and restaurant. It’s a place that me and my friends frequent. The beer, the food, and the staff is what makes this business so great and keeps me coming back. The atmosphere is so welcoming and relaxed and they have outdoor seating all year round! They also have the most fun events, ranging from their Oktoberfest to the Ugly Xmas Sweater party.
My favorite brews are the Raspberry Wheat and their hard Seltzer, aka the “pfizz”. They are continuously switching up the hard seltzer flavor, which I always enjoy trying. Chef Zak also always has the best specials and is constantly switching up the menu. In the summer he focused on BBQ dishes and this winter he has some really good comfort food options. The cauliflower wings are SO good and their sandwiches and burgers are always killer. So, if you’d like to taste some new craft beers, enjoy some delicious food or are just looking to try a new place… Chatham Brewing is your spot!
The Crisp Cannoli
Location: East Greenbush, NY
The Crisp Cannoli is a cafe and bakery, owned and operated by siblings in East Greenbush, NY. Their breakfast, lunch and bakery items are all locally sourced, homemade, and made fresh daily. Their indoor space is so inviting and spacious. In the warmer months you can also sit and enjoy the outdoors on their patio, which I personally love.
I tried their Buffalo Chicken Panini and my husband got their Chicken Parm Panini. Both were absolutely delicious and the macaroni salad they serve on the side was outstanding. Before leaving I got a latte to go (the perfect pick-me-up) and a variety of their bakery items to try for later. Obviously I had to get some cannolis! They were all so delicious and you could just tell they were freshly homemade. So, next time you’re sweet tooth is kicking in or you’re looking for some good food, check out The Crisp Cannoli!
The Tipsy Moose
Location: Troy, NY
For my last small town Sunday of the year, I traveled to The Tipsy Moose and Tavern in Troy, NY with some friends. Their food and drinks were delicious and the atmosphere was so fun and outdoorsy. Tipsy Moose Tavern was established in 2016 and they have opened three locations in the Capital Region of NY since – Latham, Albany and Troy.
They had a large menu of delicious comfort foods, making you feel right at home with the ambiance of a laid-back cabin atmosphere. We shared the dip trio – Buffalo Chicken, Philly Cheesesteak + Spinach Artichoke Dip. Why choose just one dip when you can try them all? I had their Buffalo Chicken Wrap (my go-to classic) and my friends got the Pulled Pork Quesadilla and Sliced Brisket Sandwich. We all raved about how delicious everything was. Next time your in one of their locations and are looking for a good meal, cold drinks or a laid back atmosphere, visit the Tipsy Moose! You’re guaranteed to have a good time.
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