Where to eat like a state politician

dale miller exterior

The state Senate Democrats are apparently big fans.

After the Daily News mentioned that the state Senate Democratic campaign committee spent $26,000 in Albany restaurants over six months, we were curious about where these politicians were eating.

So we looked it up in the campaign finance disclosure reports. The lists -- for the campaign committees for both parties and chambers -- are after the jump.

You can count some of this stuff different ways, so our total is a bit different from the one compiled by the Daily News. We pulled these items from the disclosure report for the various campaign committees, including their "housekeeping" reports (the reports cover the first six months of this year). We only picked out restaurants in the Capital Region. It's entirely possible we missed a few items. And, as Ed correctly points out, this is certainly not a comprehensive tally of where legislators eat.

A few notes follow.

State Senate Democratic campaign committee

State Senate Republican campaign committee

State Assembly Democratic campaign committee

State Assembly Republican campaign committee

A few notes

+ The Senate Dems seem to stay downtown and eat pretty much the way you'd expect from someone who doesn't have to pick up the tab: Dale Miller, Marche, 677 Prime, Yono's, Jack's. We'd probably eat at those places, too, if we could expense it.

+ The Senate Democratic committee seems to be a fan of the Irongate Cafe.

+ Apparent pizza of choice for Democrats: Little Anthony's and (shudder) Pizza Hut. For Republicans: Pizzeria Sapienza, Paesan's.

+ The Senate Republicans appeared to frequently pick up food for meetings at either Price Chopper or Hannaford (presumably they weren't actually meeting in the supermarkets).

+ Republicans seemed to be willing to venture out of downtown Albany a bit more, to places such as: Creo, Barcelona, Bellini's in Clifton Park and the Recovery Room in Albany.

+ Though it's not an Albany restaurant, it's worth mentioning that the state Senate Dems spent money at the Times Square Olive Garden twice -- $334.71 one time, and $449.66 the other. Going to the Olive Garden in NYC? It's possible this is an impeachable offense.

Comments

If I was a republican I'd defect to the dems just for the food.


How is Le Sere (sp?) not on the list?!?

I think the Republican are "willing to venture" because the feel more comfortable in the homogeneous suburbs than in the dirty city. And yes, there is a subtext there.

I think the Republicans deserve some credit here (at least the Senate campaigners). They spend their contributors' cash much more responsibly than their Democratic counterparts. Kind of ironic considering how the Senate Republicans blew away so much taxpayer money like nothing for so many years.

Well, hey, these are just the 4 conference campaign committees. There are 212 legislative members that also have their own individual committees, whose expenditures could yet be pored over. :) After that, there's their per-diem expenditures, when they spend the taxpayer money they get by virtue of being an elected official on state business. None of that would show up in campaign filings, but maybe it could be FOIL'd. There are yet more restaurants--downtown and otherwise--that have been patronized, I'm sure!

@Ed: You're right. This is just a peek. We'd love to go over all that stuff.

We might have to clone ourselves to find the time, though. ; )

I have only slight difficulty with the morality question of using campaign funding for food, believing as that more can be accomplished at a common table than could ever be settled on the Senate or Assembly floor. This is particularly so when one party locks the doors and hides the keys from another.

My personal, albeit purely foodie complaint? They went chain restaurants. With all the great local food upstate and down, our loyal civil servants showed neither loyalty, civility, nor a willingness to 'serve' the public this last legislative session, sending our contributions to the corporate enterprises of Darden Industries and Brinker International instead of small business. In all seriousness, who goes to Olive Garden when Little Italy is only a cab ride away?

Would you all please stop being so condescending? It reeks of elitism. Yes, the Olive Garden is a chain, and given the choice I would support a local restaurant. However, I grew up in a lower-middle class family. The Friendly's and the Pizza Hut in East Greenbush were the places we went for a nice meal out (Pizza Hut especially, where my mom got a discount with her TU Source Card). And we felt welcomed there. So lay off the politicos -- they can spend their money at any restaurant they want, and if you don't like it, don't donate.

Let's talk about the good local places in East Greenbush. I can testify that Pizza Hut was always delish, especially when my brother was working there for a summer job, that the Wendy's buffet was wonderful after soccer practice and that Ponderosa was a great family meal out before they got shut down for E Coli.

In the meanwhile, though, if we're talking locally owned and operated: Chez Mike with local ingredients and a CIA chef. East Greenbush Diner with yellow glasses and a huge dessert selection. Rose's with their phenomenal meatballs. Cottage Cafe with tri color pasta salad and tea. Everybody's Cafe and their atmosphere. La Bella's Pizza and their garlic nuts. Elias' and their exquisite crust. Mercato's for simple, delicious Italian. Teagan's for good beer and award winning gourmet food. Alexis Diner with Gyros to die for. Off Shore Pier for some of the freshest fish fry in the area.

Now, wouldn't it be nice if our state senators and assemblymen patronized one of these fine establishments, instead of a national chain? To wish it so not elitist. It is simply economics and pride.

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