A few details about Troy Kitchen

Troy Kitchen 50 4th Street Troy interior pre-renovation

The interior of the former bank building at 50 4th Street in Troy. / photo courtesy of Cory Nelson

There was a bit of a flutter in local food circles earlier this week when word about Troy Kitchen popped up on Facebook. The project is billed as a gourmet food court for downtown Troy.

So we got in touch with Cory Nelson, one of the entrepreneurs behind the project, for some details...

A few quick details

+ Troy Kitchen is planned for the former bank building at 50 4th Street in downtown Troy.

+ Nelson said to us in an email that Troy Kitchen will have five vendors (plan for the layout) -- four for food, spanning a range of cuisines; the fifth a coffee bar.

+ Projected opening date is end of summer or early fall.

+ The people behind the project are Nelson, a local entrepreneur and Troy resident, and Kyle Engstrom, an architect who's moving to Troy from Brooklyn.

Q&A with Cory Nelson

Here's the full email Q&A with Nelson, which includes more details:

What inspired the idea for Troy Kitchen?

My inspiration for Troy Kitchen simply comes from my love for eating food, and nightlife. I also saw Troy Kitchen as a cost effective method to bring multiple restaurants to downtown Troy at once.

What sorts of food vendors do you imagine setting up inside?

Troy Kitchen will have a total of five vendors, four of which will be food based and the other a coffee bar. Two of the vendors will be established NYC restaurants looking to expand to Troy. The remaining three vendors will be local food entrepreneurs looking to get their start in the culinary industry. The idea is for Troy Kitchen to choose a variety of vendors that will serve a wide range of food such as French crepes, pulled pork sandwiches, lobster rolls, Japanese ramen noodles, wood fired pizza, and more.

What's your timeline for opening?

End of summer or early fall.

Troy Kitchen backers Cory Nelson and Kyle Engstrom
Cory Nelson, left, and Kyle Engstrom. / photo courtesy of Cory Nelson

Who's involved? Do you have partners in this venture?

My partner is Kyle Engstrom, a young architect who currently lives in Williamsburg Brooklyn but will be moving to Troy in the coming months. I met Kyle when he and his wife took a random trip up to Troy in search of opportunity. We have been friends ever since. I felt it was a good idea for us to partner together being that we both shared the entrepreneurial spirit of doing things that we feel are cool no matter how crazy they sound at first.

Though not a partner in the project, my brother Vic Christopher has served as a mentor and inspiration for this project. I feel a project such as this would not have been possible without Vic and Heather leading the way with projects such as the Lucas Confectionery and Peck's Arcade.

You moved to Troy from New York City, correct? What brought you here?

I was born and raised in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. I then attended Howard University in NW Washington, DC on a full track and field scholarship.

During my time at Howard, I formed Campus Storage, a door-to-door student summer storage and transportation company. Toward the end of my time at Howard, DC had rejuvenated its Northwest neighborhood, but I had already missed the opportunity to get in early and invest the earnings from Campus Storage. I returned to Brooklyn only to find that the Brooklyn I had grown up in was no more, and had once again missed out on a great opportunity to invest.

So I searched the Northeast for up and coming towns within close proximity to a major city. The Capital Region presented the perfect opportunity, specifically Troy. Without knowing anyone in the region I decided to move to Troy with the hopes of investing and being a part of this rejuvenation.

This interview was conducted via email and has been lightly copyedited.


Wow! Thanks! I hope these joints offer some vegan chow. Vic and Heather have cared for us very well. I hope these vendors follow their lead. Ramen and the pizza are super easy to veganize. Pulled BBQ seitan is also a snap (no other BBQ joints in the area have bothered). Make it happen!

love love love this. kinda like a little Chelsea Market. or like Food Gallery 32 in Koreatown. or like any other urban food court/place in any other city that makes it possible for beginning restaurateurs to get a toe hold. what a great addition to Troy.

Pulled BBQ seitan sounds like a nightmare.

Glad to see this property reawakening. One of the best buildings in downtown.

Awesome! Best of luck

I'm going to be totally selfish and say enough with the pizza in Troy already. I want fish tacos. Handfuls of them.

Handfuls of fish tacos that I will then stuff in my face 8 at a time and regain my title of "The Glutton of Third St". I suppose it doesn't have to be at the Troy Kitchen but I'd like it to be. (See.. totally selfish).

For reals, though, I'm glad Cory bought the building and that we're lucky enough to keep him and his wonderful ideas in Troy for awhile.

I LOVE this idea! I an hoping someone will do something like this in the old Legends space on Lark Street.

Do Cory and Kyle have any aspirations reaching into Albany? We could definitely do with some crepes and noodles on Lark Street, not to mention lobster rolls, Ethiopian and even a good Jewish deli. A micro brewery or cidery wouldn't be bad either.

So cool. I second the suggestion for good fish tacos!

randall, there is a vegan bakery and cafe one block over from the proposed Troy kitchen. Check it out!!

Awesome! I'm sure I'll be walking around the corner from the Center of Gravity to eat here!

"We could definitely do with some crepes and noodles on Lark Street, not to mention lobster rolls, Ethiopian and even a good Jewish deli. A micro brewery or cidery wouldn't be bad either."

The residents of Center Square don't want businesses on Lark. Actually, let me rephrase: they want businesses there when they want to use them, but they want the businesses out of there the rest of the time...lol. A good solution for Lark Street is food trucks and tents.

Joe, some evidence would help would help your ridiculous claims. We actually are huge fans of the restaurants on Lark.

Please somebody do a Vegan food restaurant! It makes good sense and you will make mad cash!

Jlm- See Jordan's comment above. X's and O's on 4th and State. They make delicious brownies and have a solid brunch buffet on weekends. I cannot comment as to whether they're making "mad cash", though.

Jay, don't ask me. Ask the business owners who left and those who are planning on leaving. I know of at least two who are planning their exit.

Yes, Lark is the only place that has ever seen businesses close, so that must be because the residents of Center Square hate them. Let's recap:

John DeJohn's places: The only place where your point might hold up, except it was at least perceived by all (even critics of the neighborhood association, such as myself) as him just throwing a fit.
Hot Dog Heaven: Owners retired.
Crisan: So popular and busy that they couldn't focus on the wedding part of their business, so they consolidated.
Gyro Station: Changed hands.
Deli across from there: Changed hands.
Red Poppy's: Lease renewal issue, replaced by The Brakes.
Lionheart: Just sold for $3.5 million.
Elda's: Elda retired, re-opened as LAX.

Any others? I'd love to hear you name names, but it doubt it will make your point. Businesses simply close in cities. And open. Areas go through downturns. And upturns. None of this means the neighborhood residents hate them, or only like them selectively.

Jordan, what is the name of the vegan bakery you mention? People seem to be clamoring for it on this thread, and I'd love to know too! :)

As a Sage grad, I'm so glad to see downtown finally having the rebirth we always hears was supposed to be happening in Troy. I just hope these NYC based restaurants don't bring their NYC prices the way they did to Hudson. Only the "city" people (NYC weekenders) can afford to eat in Hudson. There are only a handful of restaurants the locals can afford to go to.

Xs to Os is an excellent vegan bakery with savory delights as well.

Seitan is a nightmare? Manners--where'd they go? You don't have to eat things you think are a nightmare. I don't. That's why I am vegan. I am happy to go to omnivore joints and order things other than critter parts. I don't point at the critter bits around me and exclaim nightmare. I think it quietly to myself.

There already is a Cidery and brewery in Albany. SUPPORT THEM. I love the idea of a food court in Albany but Legends Lark location (see what I did there?) isnt nearly big enough. There are some awesome buildings that could accommodate that idea near the existing CIDERY and BREWERY!!!!

Steve, I often walk past the former location of Jillians on North Pearl (perhaps a better choice than Legends on Lark) and think that it would make a great location to do an idea like the Troy Kitchen is doing.

Prior to Troy Kitchen, I thought the old Jillians would be great as a space parceled up into different shops...an indoor market. It is large and has multiple entries on the side via the pedestrian road with little patio space to dine. There could be food vendors and non-food shops. I've also dreamed of it turning into an urban grocery store to service our food desert.

Since we lost a great German restaurant (Germania Hall) it would be so nice to have a restaurant that served authentic German food. Please give this some thought.....

Any updates on this?

The property's online real estate listings have remain unchanged for the entire year. It remains listed for sale online with "For Sale" signs hanging in the windows. When we last heard from the organizers, they had planned to close on the property very shortly. My guess is that didn't happen.

Fingers crossed this project still comes to fruition!

Coming on this late, after finding that I live in a food desert in Troy, not far from the location of this apparently not-to-come food outlet. Troy needs another fancy foodie place like a hole in the head. What it needs is an end to the food desert of South Troy and Central.


Cohoes has the tiniest Price Chopper hidden away a few blocks off of 787. It's not sexy. It's not artisanal. It doesn't carry organic eggs. But you know what it does do? It fills a need in the community. It sells normal food to normal neighborhood people. People can walk or drive to it and buy reasonably priced food.

There's money to be made in hipster restaurants, "lounges", and food courts. Selling a $14 ham sandwich with a $14 beer to folks is the carrot-on-a-stick that drive these higher end establishments. I'm glad people are investing in Troy, that's great. However they're not trying to solve the food desert problem. Unfortunately, it seems there's no incentive for anyone to try to solve it. Who would invest all the cash necessary to open a super market when they could make the sme investment in an organic bistro cafe and make tons more money?

My hat is off to Price Chopper for opening and keeping open their tiny Cohoes store. How do we go about flagging down Price Chopper and getting them to put more of these mini-stores in Troy's food-less neighborhoods?

X's to O's vegan bakery is no longer there, FYI So, yes, we are in need of a vegan restaurant. Enough of the same old same old unhealthy, cruelty-filled food around here.

> There's money to be made in hipster restaurants, "lounges"
> and food courts. Selling a $14 ham sandwich with a $14 beer

Did you go to the soft-opening? A plate like this one, sold by K-Plate, was $6 (as in, *six american dollars*). It was delicious and great value. The beers were obviously not $14 ($6 or $8, I can't recall).

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