Miss Albany Diner building sold to Matt Baumgartner and partners

miss albany diner exterior

Miss Albany Diner.

Matt Baumgartner posted today that he and business partners Jimmy and Demetra Vann have bought the Miss Albany Diner building. The name "Miss Albany Diner" and its recipes are not part of the deal:

matt baumgartner 2012

Mrs. [Jane] Brown and her son Bill, are legally keeping the name "Miss Albany Diner" as well as their recipes, and they maintain the right to open another diner in another location, as well as having the right to sell the name Miss Albany Diner and it's recipes to an interested party at another location. As new owners of the property, we legally can not continue to operate the space as Miss Albany Diner or use their menu items. I'm only noting that because it is important to us that it is clear that we are not "closing down Miss Albany Diner". They sold us the property, and we are not legally allowed to re-open Miss Albany Diner in that space.

On a personal note, I would like to thank Jane and Bill Brown, for giving us the opportunity to care for a building that is considered by many to be one of the most iconic buildings in the capital region. I know the Browns hold the diner very dear to their hearts, and I promise we will respect the history, the memory, and the integrity of Miss Albany Diner.

Baumgartner told Steve Barnes they don't have immediate plans to re-open the place as a diner. [Table Hopping]

The diner had been for sale since 2009. Cliff Brown, who owned the diner with his wife Jane, passed away in 2010. [TU] [TU]

The diner was built in 1941 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It's had at least three names prior to being called the Miss Albany. [National Register] [Wikipedia]

Of course, Baumgartner and his partners own Wolff's, which is just next door to MAD.

photo: UpstateNYer via Wikipedia
Baumgartner photo via Matt Baumgartner

Comments

...and the new business will be called 'NOT the Miss Albany Diner'

How about a 24 hour diner? Pick up some of the drunks from the surrounding area. Seriously, who doesn't love diner food after a night of drinking? What Albany doesn't need is yet another bar. 24 hour diner!

EW! Matt is going to KILL it. I better go pay homage before he buys up the whole damn block. I will miss MAD Irish toast and curry eggs. I hope the family opens up another joint in town. Their food is off the hook.

I posted this over on FridayPuppy, but thought I would here too...

For some reason I thought that it was closing a while ago… But anyway, I think the booth in the diner used in the scene from Ironweed is a sort of local landmark. If you redo the interior, maybe a plaque or something? Donate it to a museum? I don’t know… I am a big William Kennedy fan, and Ironweed is one of the only true “Albany” movies.

I wrote a little about it and took some pictures here-

http://www.ridiculousfoodsociety.net/2009/11/miss-albany-diner-i-went-to-say-goodbye.html

@PG, really? MB is going to kill it? If this is your concern, perhaps you should have purchased it yourself. Or maybe you could wish for the alternative: that no one else would buy it (it's been on the market for years), and then Mrs. Brown would not be able to retire. She can work for 100 years in order to serve you breakfast. EW!

I really appreciate Matt Baumgartner's bars, beer halls, taverns, etc. They're pretty much my favorite places to go for a drink these days.

BUT, the food served at them has always been underwhelming at best and rage-inducing at worst.

I'm glad MAD will still be around in some form, but without those recipes I'm not sure how often I'll visit.

Baumgartner's stuff always seems "Disneyworldish" to me. I feel like I'm in Epcot with a bunch of people trying really hard to forget they're actually in Florida...

I vote for Misster Albany Diner.

Kinda seems appropriate. Matt is like Mr. Albany. It can be his diner. And then he only needs to add three letters to the name (that or remove two and modify one).

Disgusted. I wish the owners could have used some discretion regarding who they sold the place to, but perhaps that wasn't possible. Miss Albany Diner isn't just an Albany landmark, it is a national landmark. This place had real character, history, etc., Matt's places are all attempts at artificial, "manufactured character." PG and Jay got it exactly right. There are going to be a lot of pissed off people regarding this situation, but not as many as there will be Disneygoers, I'm sure. It's one thing to make-over a run down, decrepid, abandoned building and turn it into some cash cow for out-of-towners to flock to. It's another thing to rape history and culture for the same purpose. Where is the historical society on this matter? I'm reminded of the sad situation that transpired with the Ingersoll Home in Niskayuna recently. Oh, and I'm also reminded of that scene in It's A Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart sees his town all bought up by the local tycoon and transformed into "Pottersville," a true embodiment of the degradation of society: all bars and nightclubs!! "But it makes money for the city!!!" imbeciles are sure to spew. The same utterance we currently hear from pushers of the tar-sands pipeline and natural gas fracking. Yes, yes, it will all make money. Because that is all that matters in a society that is in decline.

I went today, to say my goodbyes. You can tell the employees are emotional right now. It's one of the first places I discovered in Albany when I moved from Frenchland, I will miss it a lot. I remember old Cliff ruining a date in a hilarious way (like I needed his help to do just that anyway), I remember one of my favorite, dedicated waitress being instrumental in a lawsuit I won against an insurance, I remember my first pancakes, and my mind getting blown by that curry sauce on the MAD Eggs.

@Kim: I think you are going too far here. Matt B is many things, but he has *always* mentioned his love for MAD, way before he bought all his businesses in the warehouse district. If you like the place, you have seen him there too. When I had breakfast this morning, I couldn't help overhear Jane Brown saying good things about him and recommending the patrons to check his Olde English Pub down the road. I think one could do way worse than sell the place to somebody who truly appreciated it. So chill :)

@PG, Jay and Kim D.

I am sorry that my restaurants fail to meet your standards. We try our best at Bombers, Wolff's and at the Olde English, and I can tell you that it's not easy running a profitable restaurant in this economy, with food prices the way they are (and having to manage 200+ employees). However, that is no excuse, and if I have failed to make your visits to my restaurants a good experience, then I am sincerely sorry.

Miss Albany building was for sale, and we bought it. We're not trying to "kill" it, and I can't promise you that it won't become another type of restaurant outside of what we already have. If that makes me the Walt Disney of Albany restaurants, then I take that as a compliment. He seemed like a pretty good guy :)

Regarding the authenticity of my restaurants, "Bombers" has been my nickname since I was 5 years old, the photos and artwork are from local artist Jeff Smith. At Wolff's Biergarten all the photos are of my ancestors from Germany taken over the past hundred years. And all the photos at the Olde English are either of Mark Graydon's family, or vintage pieces I personally chose up at Brimfield Fair. So to say it is has "manufactured character" I feel is not true.

Thanks for the feedback, and I will try to give you a great experience on your next visit.

Matt Baumgartner
Bombers, Wolff's, OE owner


Kim D,

If ignorance was money you would be filthy rich. Matt has always supported local causes. He has personally given thousands of dollars to a local sports league I am involved in. Not exactly something Potter would do.

J Mac

And the haters fall silent!

Nice response Mr. Baumgartner!

Your loyal customer,

Randy

MAD would have made a great Trader Joe's :(

@KimD First, MAD owners sold it because they wanted out, the new owners didn't force anything. Secondly MAD is a diner, A DINER! If you're looking to take some type of cultural high-ground, which it seems you do with your references to manufactured culture and Disney, then let me move up in elevation for you. A diner as a landmark? Are old diners America's greatest contribution to the human culture, that landmarks typically represent? If so, who are you to choose between what is celebrated? What are the factors? Age? Length of stay? Character? Local appreciation? IF so then why isn't Bombers, Price Chopper on Madison, Hoffmans on Central, or Hot Dog Charlies on Lark on the list?

And Matty B earns his name again! Too bad people hate on Bombers, they could always live in a city without people like Matt, try Pittsfield. I bet the Hot Harry's there is a real institution and force in the downtown. Seriously people, it's decent food at a good price with a fun atmosphere. It is manufactured, by creative people doing something different and have been things different for at least 8 years.

Also, Rape? Have you no shame? I think we should be a little more appropriate with our language, being quite so hyperbolic is both unnecessary and just rude.

I'm not sure why fracking and KXL compare to the sale of property for sale by owner and purchased by one of the few business men in our town, but it clearly shows you have a bone with Matt B and it goes beyond restaurant and bar concepts. Also I would like to ask, how is Matt the bad guy if the city only has restaurant and bars? Clearly you're expecting more than watering holes and burritos, but you lump that on Matt B's back as if it's his fault Albany is limited in other options. Maybe we should have arts, concerts, parks, public gathering places, and places to work? We do!

Again it seems Kim has a bigger problem with Matt B than the loss of MAD.

And if none of this suits you, then maybe some day your son can buy Bombers and hear all the rude and nasty comments from former Jimbo drinkers and Burrito eaters about the loss to our community and how Albany is losing Bombers, "a national landmark".

However, I doubt that by the time Bomber's changes hands KimD will have more grasp of reality and good nature than she does now.

@Joe, I agree that Kim's comments went over the top, but the diner is on the National Register of Historic Places, so that does make it a landmark. In that way, I would have issues if it was destroyed or moved, but I welcome any new restaurant plans Matt has for the place. Although Bombers isn't exactly "authentic", it is a very fun place to eat and gather with friends.

Also, Matt, very nice, classy response. I wish all restaurant owners (and everyone else, too!) received such harsh criticism as humbly.

Way to keep it classy, Matt. Keep doing what you're doing: investing in downtown and encouraging others to do the same.

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