the confectionery exterior

the confectionery from front

the confectionery from front long

the confectionery espresso machine
The old-school espresso machine.

the confectionery espress machine forward

the confectionery front seating area

the confectionery fireplace

the confectionery interior mural

the confectionery skylights
Vic says they didn't realize the building had skylights when they bought it -- the windows had been covered over and hidden behind a drop ceiling.

the confectionery wine storage room
The wine storage room is constructed out of a cold room left over from the original confectionery.

the confectionery bar

the confectionery toward front long

the confectionery along bar

the confectionery vic and heather
Heather and Vic

The Confectionery

confectionery interior mural

Old is new.

By Daniel B.

On November 3, 2011 Vic Christopher and his wife Heather LaVine bought the building at 12 Second Street in Troy and began the work of restoring it that very night. It had most recently been the Troy Insurance Agency, but stood vacant across the street from the Illium Cafe for several years.

However, from 1863-1951 this had been the site of the Charles F. Lucas Confectionery.

Mr. Lucas, an Austrian-born emigre, brought the people of Troy something special, something sweet from the place he called home. Mr. Christopher is doing the same thing, but he's drawing from his roots in Brooklyn. After almost a year of renovations, soon the Charles F. Lucas Confectionery will re-open as a wine bar.

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with one of Troy's most passionate supporters about how this project began, what baseball has in common with operating a wine bar, and why Vic and Heather are hoping this will be your home away from home.

There are large-format photos of the space above -- scroll all the way up.

This is a love story

confectionery heather and vic

Vic explains: "Heather and I fell in love because we enjoyed working with each other." The two of them met on the job during his tenure with the Tri-City ValleyCats. He continues, "I can't work for anybody. I learned the lesson twice. I need to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to do it with my wife who is the most talented person I've ever met. And it's just time."

But there are a lot of ways to be an entrepreneur.

For a while the couple thought about leaving the area, moving to Brooklyn, and buying a piece of real estate. As they were scoping out potential properties there, they walked into a wine bar called The Castello Plan and fell in love with the environment. That's when it clicked. They wanted to do something like that.

"It didn't make sense to do it in Brooklyn. We quickly gave up on the idea of doing it anywhere else but Troy. We'd saved some money and could afford to do something really spectacular in Troy that we couldn't do anywhere else."

confectionery skylights

Since buying the building at 12 Second Street, the project has taken on a life of its own. In many ways it's a reclamation project using found and donated objects from throughout the city. Almost everything within the four walls of the building has a story. The marble table tops used to be the walls of the apothecary next door. There are 228 Troy bricks which Vic got from a friend at the Bruno Machinery demolition site. The railing came out of the Market Place building. A Washington Park resident donated an antique mirror.

the confectionery espresso machine

But the showstopper is the 1965 Faema President espresso machine.

Apparently it had been sitting in the basement of Minissale's since 1977. "I took one look at it, and I was just in love. That was it. I was hooked," Vic says, "And we've been working on it ever since."

The machine is now operational. How it will be used when the shop opens may depend on the choice of coffee provider. Vic and Heather are talking to Stumptown and Blue Bottle, both of which take a different stance to supporting antique machines. Regardless, there is going to be some seriously good coffee heading to Troy in the near future.

Not so far afield

"This is close to minor league baseball. It's entertainment. It's showing people a good time. You know what I mean? It's customer service," says Vic of their current project. "And that was always the thing we always appreciated about each other: making people feel special. When those gates opened up and 4,500 people came in, every one of those people is very important. And we're very good at making people feel that way. Making people feel like they got a lot of value for their money."

confectionery bar

For a wine bar, part of that involves finding special wines that are a bit out of the ordinary. The plan is to open with twelve wines by the glass: five reds, five whites, and two on tap. Yes, they are bringing wine kegs up to the Capital Region. And to try to curate a selection of wines that represents grapes and regions from around the world.

The task isn't an easy one. Vic explains: "There are many different distributors. Sometimes you have to work backwards. Sometimes you have to find the wine, call up the winery and play detective to figure out who carries it locally. So we're dealing with seven different distributors, which is unheard of for something this size. It's crazy. It's nuts. But that's the job and we're ready to do it."

Vic is also adamant that flights of wine have to offer customers a good value. These will be three three-ounce pours that are designed to help people discover new wines to love. For example, Pinot Noir from around the world: one from California, one from France, and one from New Zealand. But there will be multiple flights available, and they will change over time.

As for making people feel special, the couple wants to try to recreate the experience of buying a glass of wine at The Castello Plan. Vic describes how this plays out at this influential wine bar: "When you buy a glass of wine, you get the same feeling like when you are in Peter Luger and get a bottle of Dom Perignon. They come over, you taste it. Before you pour a glass, you get the opportunity to try a few other things. It's a special moment... the manual opening of a bottle, and the pouring from a hand, from the bottle to your glass, with care and love."

confectionery front area

But the aim for it to not be stuffy

Vic says he and Heather used to leave Troy on the weekends, "Because there wasn't the kind of place I was looking for to hang out. And we'd go down to Brooklyn... I'm an internet addict, I want to sit down in a cafe with my computer, order a glass of wine, a little cheese, and I want to stay there for two hours. That's my idea of a night out. And there's nowhere you can do that in the Capital Region."

To that end, not only are there power outlets all over the place for people to plug in their laptops, but there are also powered USB ports to plug in your phone or tablet chargers.

"Because we've put so much time into creating this space for people, we want people to use it." Vic speaks about the theory of the third place. The first two places are work and home. "The third place is the theory in community development that there is a space where you are just as comfortable as your two primary places... In order to be third place, I think you need to be open all the time. I don't want to be open seven days a week, because I'd like to have a life. And I don't want to be open day and night. But I want to create this third space so we're going to do it."

confectionery exterior

Unfortunately "all the time" does not mean from sunrise until the bars close. Vic and Heather are looking at 11 am to 11 pm hours (though they may start the first few weeks with evening-only hours) with panini, coffee and sweet treats from Sweet Sue's in the morning. In the evening there will be food. But the plan for food is simple and designed to complement the wine, with a focus on cheese and charcuterie. (It was great to hear that Eric from The Cheese Traveler has been helping with their selections.)

And the good news is that even if you don't like wine, there will be a place in Troy to enjoy a cup of coffee and hang out in the evenings. And if you do happen to enjoy wine, this confectionery is going to be even sweeter.
____

Vic says The Confectionery is waiting on the approval of its liquor license before it opens. He said this week he's hoping the SLA will approve their application by the end of October.

The Confectionery's Facebook page is now up -- and it includes a bunch of in-progress photos of the space, as well as historical details about the building and Charles F. Lucas.

Daniel B. is the proprietor of the FUSSYlittleBLOG.

Elsewhere: Over at KAB, Andrew recently posted a good photoset of the Confectionery.

Find It

The Charles F. Lucas Confectionery (opening soon)
12 2nd Street
Troy, NY 12180

Comments

This is awesome, and while I wish it were closer to MY home, it's perfect for Troy. I love the look of interior, and can't wait to go on my next Troy adventure.

after moving away from Troy a few years ago, I just started working near Troy again, I can't wait for Friday after-work happy hour here!

Loving that old school Expos hat...nice.

It's beautiful and unique! I can't wait to get inside, and finally buy some wine!

Looks cool, good for Troy.

just when I'm totally demoralized by another Rusty McGillycuddy's SportsArena Bottomless Pit of Breadsticks Margaritaville Clamsteam Bar "experience" chain restaurant opening in the area, I hear about/see something like this.
Just lovely.

"it's a reclamation project using found and donated objects from throughout the city."--yeah i guess you could call stealing building materials "found and donated".

quote from Times Union article in April 2012: "Christopher allegedly was discovered in the city's Dauchy Building on a weekend night with building materials in a pickup truck by undercover police officers working on another case. No charges were filed as the city decided to suspend Christopher from the civil service job and begin disciplinary procedures.
Christopher is renovating a storefront at 12 Second St. to be a wine bar with plans to open this summer." (he then resigned from the position)

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Troy-development-official-resigns-job-3480945.php#ixzz29fkCuuXO

"I want to sit down in a cafe with my computer, order a glass of wine, a little cheese, and I want to stay there for two hours. That's my idea of a night out."-- if that is your idea of a night out, you can do that at home. isn't the point of going out in public to be social? what have we come to if we think that being anti-social on computer (nevermind having a phone in your face) is a "night out"?

that being said the space does look nice...."found" objects and all.

side note: is "found object" the new phrase for garbage picking?

What an impressive space. And to think--power outlets all over the place? I love when somebody developing a place like this is thinking the way I do, encouraging people to sit and linger.

The Expos hat is great, too.

A bar more than a restaurant, then? Bummer... especially with those potentially-awesome hours (late night FTW), I was hoping it'd be a good dinner option.

After reading this article, I thought it was an interesting story. Then I saw "not a Vic Fan's" comment and it became even more interesting.

You're welcome hemerson.

@Not A Vic Fan...be careful about what you read, and blog about as fact. As someone who knows Vic and Heather, and their passion for this project, all I can say is the situation was blown WAY out of proportion and shouldn't overshadow the investment they are making in the Troy community.

Its too bad that something as exciting as a local small business owner creating a --unique-- venue, with their own money, has to be overshadowed by the negativity of something completely misunderstood. Its too bad Troy politics get in the way, sometimes.

When they officially open, you should stop in and check it out...enjoy a glass of wine and have Vic share the details of the place, Im sure he'd be happy to have you as a customer (seriously).

Expos... so hipster it hurts.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness - It depends on what you consider to be dinner. A bit of bread, with some great cheese and charcuterie, washed down with a glass of wine can totally qualify. Plus they will have dessert. You come there hungry at night, and it doesn't sound like there is any reason that you would walk away anything less than satisfied.

FINALLY a place to work in in the evenings without having to drive to Albany - can't wait for them to open, I've been peeking in the windows for months now..

I really don't get it -- curating the wine and cheese; having some degree of ceremony in uncorking the bottle to provide a special experience for the customer -- who then stares at a computer screen the rest of the evening. This place has some of the pretensions of the Slow Food movement (or Slow Vino, in this case): -- "...the manual opening of a bottle, and the pouring from a hand, from the bottle to your glass, with care and love." But the "slow" movement in its various iterations is about paying attention -- to the wine, to the cheese, to the companions, not to the shiny screeen. So I truly don't understand the ambience of this "third space."

And I completely forgot that news story about the, um, "found" building materials.

@JD--care to share "how" it was blown out of proportion? maybe I will stop in to give it a once over, but I am sure I will find Mr. Christopher to be just as abrasive and obnoxious as the last time I encountered him. It is nice they are taking this risk, I just don't like him as a person (and the record for wine bars in Troy isn't great so this should be interesting).

@J. Welf--its hilarious to see Mr. Christopher dressed in a hipster costume

@chrisck--I'm glad I'm not the only one who went "huh?"

Yay! Thank you for this update. I am looking forward to the opening!

Hope they open soon. Would like to stop by for a happy hour with work friends.

So two of those whites are going to be carbonated, right?

And what about rosé?

A couple of weeks ago, I wandered through Troy at 6pm on a Wednesday night, seeking a spot to sit and have a beverage (wine, coffee, tea). Ended up at a horrible bar with a nice interior but terrible beer selection and food. This wine bar is just the sort of thing Troy lacks. Just please stay open between 5-9pm on weekdays. Maybe you'll inspire some of those 3rd St coffee shops too!

@karamia - Where do you go in Albany in the evening to do work? I am always looking for quiet places to sit with a drink and some work.

Excellent, I have been walking past this place almost daily and I'm glad to see that it's almost ready to open. I'm not much of a wine drinker myself (I like whichever wine is pink and tastes like Kool-Aid) and we have no shortage of coffee shops in downtown Troy, but it seems like a lot of them are closed by the time I get home from work. It'd be nice to have a place within walking distance of my house where I can take my laptop on a weekday evening and relax.

@not a Vic Fan,

I may know you in "real life." And we may even be friendly.

But it's weasly of you to be smack talking Vic with an anonymous handle. He paid a price for his alleged indiscretion. And it was aired in public, with his real name. So consider yourself admonished.

Troy's a small town. And there's really nowhere to hide. (Troy = "Tell Right On You.") So the decent thing to do is put some effort into forgiving each other, letting go of grudges, giving people the room to get on with their life and do good things. You should do the same.

Best of luck Vic & Heather! I'm glad we didn't lose you to Brooklyn. See ya soon.

Great restaurant entrepreneur beard.

As for the discussed rumors & speculation, I am proud of our reclamation efforts, and this project is our tribute to the city's history. The politicians can say whatever they want about it.

We are putting our heart and soul into this thing, and we hope the people enjoy it.

Info on the wine keg system is here: http://bit.ly/S8lSpg

Thanks for the support. We love everyone.

Every night when I walk by, I slow down and try and peer in the windows like a creep. I'm suuuuuuper excited for the opening.

This is what Troy needs it great to see someone investing their hard earn money and sweat into something that puts another property back on the tax roll. Lets support local business not another Starbucks. I wish them all the best and look forward to enjoying a nice glass of wine with some great cheese.

That old Faema is stunning! I'd love to hear the about the "different stance to supporting antique machines" - what is that all about?

I simply can not wait for this place to open up! Beautiful!!!!

Good luck!! So very excited for this place to open.

I am primarily excited about this because it is a wine bar that happens to serve a little bit of food. I love The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark, for example, but if you want to split a bottle and a cheese plate with a friend it is not uncommon to get the stink-eye from the servers. I for one am extremely excited about this place, and I just love the space.

I am so excited for this place ... I used to live in Ditmas Park, and am beyond thrilled that Heather and Vic were inspired by The Castello Plan. That was one of my all-time favorite places, and I've been missing something like it since leaving Brooklyn. Yay!

Great job Vic and Heather. The swipes about found objects and alleged whatever are just bitter political nonsense. Ignore that stuff, true lovers of Troy and our great Capital Region!
Vic and Heather are great people, and Duncan has it right: we are lucky we did not lose them to Brooklyn. They have poured their heart and soul into this place and our community will be all the better for it. Thanks AOA for the positive coverage on a great addition to Troy.

This place looks UNBELIEVABLE. I had been following the construction on Flickr, then forgot all about it. It turned out beautiful. I can't wait to see it in person.

For anyone who can't understand why someone would go out to a place like this and sit with a computer - not everyone is the same. I don't understand why someone would go to a crowded, loud bar/club. Not being able to hear the person next to me isn't my idea of being social. Plus, I think the evening that Vic describes above doesn't replace 'social time'. It replaces the time you would spend cooped up at a desk at home. As someone who spends 8 hours a day in front of a computer at work, when I get home the last thing I want to do is sit at my desk, even if I still have more to do that requires a computer. I'd be at this place every evening if it was on the other side of the river.

I have to say, being an RPI student who enjoys wine. This will be a great place to hang out in the evenings. Typically we consume wine/coffee/cheese in the comfort of our apartments. While still being on the internet. This will become that 3rd place for many RPI students who want to socialize with their teammates while potentially getting some group projects done. I'm excited for No. 12 to be opened and will be sad to leave when graduation comes in May.

@lauren I go to either Uncommon Grounds or Prof. Javas when I want to work in the evening - so, still limited to coffee/tea drinks.. particularly excited about the wine option in combination with comfortable evening working place

Wonderful! I've been peering into the windows for months -- so excited that it's finally opening! Thank you for taking a chance with this, I hope it becomes tremendously popular!

Good idea, just wish the proprietor had a better bio.

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