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Christopher says they can seat 50 people in the downstairs dining area.

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Looking through the window to Collar City Hard Pressed juice counter that occupies a portion of the building.

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Stairs in the back lead up to a bar area called The Tavern, again named after one of the building's former lives.

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The bar manager is Scott Colehamer (that's him on the left), who's worked at both The Speakeasy and New World Bistro Bar. Colehamer says the bar will be focused on small, craft liquors and bartenders will be looking to help customers branch out and try something new.

"Scott's menu is very unique to his persona as well," Christopher told us, smiling. "He has a drink called The New Brooklyn that I think will be very popular."

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Looking downstairs from the second floor.

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A look into the kitchen from above. The chef heading up the kitchen is Nick Ruscitto, who had previously worked at the Wine Bar on Lark in Albany. He describes the restaurant's cuisine as contemporary American, with a focus on small plates.

One of the ways Peck's Arcade is hoping to distinguish itself is through its use of vegetables. LaVine recommended trying Ruscitto's celery root dish -- an inch-thick slice of the root is braised in olive oil and then grilled, served with a barbecue sauce. "Nick's celery root rocks."

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Looking toward the front.

A look inside Peck's Arcade

peck's arcade troy kitchen overhead

Peck's Arcade -- the new venture from Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine, the people behind The Confectionery and The Grocery -- is set to open Wednesday.

The casual fine dining restaurant is in the building at 217 Broadway in downtown Troy, which also houses the Grocery and connects with The Confectionery via a covered patio. The duo say the restaurant will focus on small plates and meticulous service in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. (The name comes from one of the building's former lives as a 19th century department store.)

"We want people to feel like they're well taken care of," LaVine told us Thursday as the restaurant team was finalizing things ahead of the opening.

Here's a quick look at the space Tuesday, along with a few more bits and a conversation with Christopher.

Photos

They're above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Interview

Here's a quick interview with Vic Christopher on Tuesday amid the whirl of final prep ahead of the opening.

In a nutshell, what are you trying to do in with this new place?

Casual fine dining. A unique menu, a very eclectic menu. [Our chef] Nick [Ruscitto] has a pretty good resume -- he was with the Wine Bar on Lark Street for six years. We think the world of his cooking. He's incredibly creative and he's assembled a really good staff. And they pretty much have carte blanche to do what they want.

The service staff that we've assembled, I'm really excited about. We went through service training last night and our service is just going to be meticulous. Heather has assembled an incredible team.

But back the casual part -- fine dining I think is changing in big cities. When you think of fine dining, you think of white linen and you think of low-key environments. And to me that's boring, for me personally. There's a place for that certainly. But I get excited by rooms that have energy. I want people to show up and it's approachable. I want it to be inviting. People can wear whatever they want and relax. We've got a DJ booth over here and we'll play vinyl records, we'll keep the energy real fun.

So, the objective is fun. The objective is great food and precise service in just a real fun environment.

So this is the third big part of what you have going on at these buildings. Now that you're on the third phase, what are you learning this time?

I thought about this a lot last night as we had server trainings. The staff met and served each other. And we all sat around, sampled the menu, and everyone was excited about tomorrow. And somebody brought up The Confectionery and the first day of that and the nervousness associated with it. And Heather made me realize, it was only the two of us back then. And between the two of us we had four days of experience working at my uncle's restaurant in Brooklyn, that was it. We had no restaurant experience. When the doors opened up, we had no idea what we were doing. It was a learning process that was difficult, you know.

But these people here -- this staff probably has a hundred years of restaurant experience when you add it all up. And to be able to have a team like that that has the confidence is the big difference. And that's probably the greatest change from when we first started this thing. We've somehow been able to attract a staff that has incredible talent.

I was just talking about some other organizations I've been part of in the past last night. And I was just looking around the room and thinking this is the most the talented group I've been around.

No matter what you're doing in the world, if you surround yourself with people with heart, you can't fail, you're going to achieve your objective. And this group has incredible heart.

No matter what you're doing in the world, if you surround yourself with people with heart, you can't fail, you're going to achieve your objective. And this group has incredible heart. I saw that when we did the Tavern Noodle pop-up -- it was unexpectedly popular. And I was a nervous wreck, but the staff here, they weren't -- they were calm. And that's the difference. Coolness under pressure. And hopefully they'll be tested with a big turnout and they'll be able to showcase their skills.

I just think the world of them. I can't even believe I'm in the middle of something like this. We never intended... the Confectionery's ambitions were extremely modest initially, just a coffee/wine shop, a place where people could come in and relax.

There's been a lot going on in downtown Troy over the last few years. You guys have been a big part of that. And there's a lot of talk now about Troy being the new whatever. And talk about a downtown Troy aesthetic, again that you've been a part of creating. So what do you think the state of things is here?

Well, the state of things is on this incredibly optimistic apex. And it's euphoric for the people that are here. And everybody gets caught up in that, and it's magic. I wake up in the morning and I can't even believe that this is what's being discussed on a daily basis. And I'm still in a state of disbelief at how the momentum in Troy just seems to continue to grow.

Troy was perfect to me five years ago. I always liked it. I didn't like it in terms of a potential -- I just liked it. I liked it from the minute I got there. But this is far beyond my expectations. And I'm an optimistic person.

Troy was perfect to me five years ago. I always liked it. I didn't like it in terms of a potential -- I just liked it. I liked it from the minute I got there. But this is far beyond my expectations. And I'm an optimistic person. But all of this has far exceeded anything I could ever fantasize about it. And for me personally, in my career, I've exceeded my own expectations for myself. And I was always kind of, I got something prove, something in my heart, and this is just better than I ever would have imagined.

In terms of the Troy vibe, I just think it's going to get better. There's a lot of room to grow, maybe not necessarily within a two-block radius, but I think so, there is opportunity here to continue to grow. And I love Little Italy -- I think that neighborhood is gonna be amazing. I think we're going to talk about that neighborhood in a year or two. I really feel strongly about that.

So, you see some of the momentum here spreading out to other parts of the city?

Specifically Little Italy. When you think of Little Italy, you have Washington Park and downtown and then you have Little Italy. It's in walking distance and it's affordable. I think you just need one, two, three little cool, catalyst-type things happening there.

That used to be the hub of commerce for the entire city, that was the marketplace, between Hill and Fifth and Washington and Division. It was where farmers would set up their produce and people would shop there, it was like an early shopping center. And I could really see that vibe happening down there again.

And there's cool stuff happening in North Central, too.

Growing up in Brooklyn, I saw these neighborhoods just flip, flip, flip. It seemed like it happened in just a blink of an eye. Huh, they're opening up a thing where?

You know, I think in terms of community improvement and neighborhood revitalization there's a lot of talk about a lot of things that are complicated. But I don't think it's a complicated thing at all. There are a lot of focus groups, and committees, and people talking and it just doesn't take a whole lot of talk or meetings, it just takes a catalyst of something cool and then everyone wants to be around something cool.

It doesn't take much. You know, I think in terms of community improvement and neighborhood revitalization there's a lot of talk about a lot of things that are complicated. But I don't think it's a complicated thing at all. There are a lot of focus groups, and committees, and people talking and it just doesn't take a whole lot of talk or meetings, it just takes a catalyst of something cool and then everyone wants to be around something cool. To me, it's just so simple. I wish had the resources to do something cool there, but my hands are full now.

Man, if I was just somebody looking for an opportunity now, I'd pick up a building in Little Italy now and just do something crazy. I don't see this thing slowing down, this Troy thing.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Details

Peck's Arcade is set to open Wednesday, January 7. The initial schedule:

Wednesday, Thursday: 5-10 pm
Friday: 5-11 pm
Saturday: 4-11 pm

Reservations are available via the restaurant's website.

Find It

Peck's Arcade
217 Broadway
Troy, NY 12180

Comments

The same but different.

Excited to check this out - I think it adds a nice option on to the Christopher Compound they have working over there.

It's so nice to have lots of choices in the area to hit after work. Had a chance to enjoy some cocktails at the soft opening (hot buttered rum was my winner!) last night. The upstairs space is really nice and roomy - perfect for gatherings with folks coming and going. Congrats to Vic, Heather and team!

It's so refreshing to hear positive comments about this on AOA. The local food blog has some has some very negative comments that are really unnecessary. Wishing all the best to Vic and Heather and their efforts to make positive changes in Troy!

Had dinner at Peck's with two friends last night. Perfection!

Go! The small plates are delectable and imaginative, the service at once professional and warm. Make a reservation. Peck's was packed when I was there on a Saturday night. I wish the noise level weren't quite so high, but that's a small quibble since so much else is top-drawer.

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