On the Things We Miss (Albany)

Miss Albany Sold Sign Madeo.jpg

The Miss Albany this week

By Rob Madeo

soapbox badgeThe Miss Albany Diner has been closed for more than a week now. Is it too soon to stop mourning? Let's hope not.

Much ink was spilled over shuttering the iconic diner... oh, wait, I'm sorry! It was not merely a diner, it was a treasure. It was a slice of history served up with your slice of pie. A step back in time, for God's sake. You did not go there for breakfast, but to partake in the Feast of the Gods.

Miss Albany was good place. It had decent food. The people who ran it were nice. And apparently it held great sway over writers, because locking its doors unleashed a torrent of words twice as sweet as the MAD Irish Toast but a hundred times harder to digest. Unfortunately, all of them missed the point.

The real truth about the Miss Albany Diner -- and I know this from experience -- is that going there made you feel cooler than everybody else. Settle down, I'm not calling you poseurs, but admit it: you like being in on something exclusive.

Miss Albany was also the sort of place you'd bring someone if you wanted to make a statement. Look at this? Isn't it cool? See, Albany is awesome! And then after brunch you might take them to a matinee at The Spectrum, but not to one of those films also playing at Crossgates.

Don't get me wrong, it's quite an accomplishment to sustain that sort of cachet for more than 20 years -- a remarkable accomplishment that's worthy of applause. Most things jump the shark way sooner, but the Miss Albany remained cool.

Someday people will mention the Miss Albany Diner in the same way they drop the name 288 Lark to establish their cultural heritage. To that I silently snicker, because I was more of a Chateau Lounge guy -- and the Chateau Lounge was way cooler than 288. It was gritty and raw and more authentic than any other bar. Oh, you never went there? Sorry.

So, one question remains: where are you going to eat breakfast now?

I'm no food blogger, but allow me to suggest the iHop on Wolfe Road. Going there is like stepping back into the '70s, a throwback to earlier times with its retro blue roof and A-frame construction. Let me tell you, there are some unique things on the menu, international things, like crepes and Belgian waffles. And get this: they have like five types of syrup on the table. Can you believe that?

One thing though: hurry. Get to iHop quickly before everyone finds out about it and ruins the vibe. Something like that can't last forever.

Rob can be found at lunchtime in downtown Albany huddled near a wi-fi hotspot.

Rob on the Soapbox:
+New Year's Rulin's
+ Jeffrey and Me
+ Something wicket this way comes
+ Growing where the cows come home
+ The Albany parking lot district
+ The Earl of Pearl


I see what you did there.

We like Cafe Madison, and Peaches Cafe.
I miss the cheese blintzes at I Hop, and the crepes at Peaches .
The food was excellent at Jack's Diner on Central.
Have heard Dan's had a good breakfast.


Rob must have missed the memo.

These are the amazing breakfast places with style all their own, that fly below most people's radar:

Peter Pause - Schenectady
Dewey's Diner - Albany
Dan's Place Two - Albany

And while Famous Lunch in Troy is more widely known, it isn't famous for its breakfasts. But dammit, they should be.

For those who put style over substance, there is always Quintessence. And for those who like sweet and sticky stuffed French toast, there is always Mike's in Guilderland.

A few dishes have left a hole in the market. Curried eggs and peanut butter eggs, to name just two. Surely someone will pick up the slack. But there are too many great places for breakfast around here to spend more than a few weeks wallowing in the loss of the MAD.

Because frankly, it's not gone. It's just going to change. And change is neither good nor bad. Change just is.

Id try Uncle Dan's Diner down on South Pearl

I can't advocate enough for Sam's Home Cooking on Lark.

I would not recommend the iHoP on Wolf Road. Although I used to enjoy breakfast there as a kid in the '70s, I stopped going there years ago because the service was consistently terrible.

IHOP on Wolf is where there was a dead fly in the pancake syrup I poured all over my deeply desired pancakes. I know that can happen anywhere but I have been skeeved out by the idea of the place ever since.
I echo the Sam's Home Cooking love, even though I haven't eaten there in ages. And Manory's is my number one spot.

Sam's Home cooking on Lark is great, an icon for some of us. Check out the ancient coffee pot, the holy cards and crucifix on the wall, and order the grilled cheese with bacon. Sam is from Italy. It is the diner compliment to the old Palais Royale...when Rocky was still with us.

@Ellen: "I would not recommend the iHoP on Wolf Road". Rob was making an attempt at being a smart ass, a week too late. It failed. Like the rest of his post.

I've been to Miss Albany, 288 Lark, and the Chateau -- oh, and the iHop on Wolf Rd. I win?

@S Oh, well... If I can't even succeed at being a smart ass anymore I know it's time to call it quits.

In attributing to ever other Miss Albany customer the desire to appear cool, the author says more about himself than about them.

I live in Vermont now, but whenever I'm in Albany on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I like to go to Wolff's for breakfast. Eggs over easy, bratwurst or whatever the wurst of the week is, potato pancakes, coffee, and a half liter of Warsteiner Dunkel.

Best breakfast in Albany is Cafe Madison, it will take a lot to change that. Quintessence has gone so far downhill I don't even consider it anymore. Last time I went there it was because the wait was too long at Cafe Madison, huge mistake. Cold food, bad service, the prices were reasonable but not after I saw what came out of the kitchen.

Is it true that Matt B. bought Miss Albany? I hear that rumor circulating. If he did, some things don't need a major overhaul, just keep pumping out good old fashioned breakfasts. If you call it Matt B's favorite place to eat breakfast there will be a line 2 hours long to eat there. :)

chateau lounge.I worked there in the last 2 years of its life.Drinking age was 18,i was 20.Greatest time of my life(besides the birth of my daughter)Getting paid to meet bands,get drunk for free and other benefits.Albany area was hopping then;J.B.s,hullabalooh,288,bogies

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For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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