The cafe in the storefront of the popular Crisan bakery on Lark Street closed a little more than a year ago.
But now it's back in a new form. And it's joined by New World Catering. And art.
Crisan's owners -- Claudia Crisan-Calabria and Iggy Calabria -- closed the cafe portion of their business at the end of 2014 so they could focus making specialty cakes and pastries. At the time they explained that loved the sense of community the cafe provided, but the day-to-day running of it -- on top of the bakery operation -- was overwhelming.
Around that same time the Albany Institute was redoing its strategic plan. When it reached out to members of the community about what they'd like to see at the museum, the number one answer was: a cafe.
Hmmm... you got Nutella croissant in my Hudson River School exhibit. No, you got your Hudson River School Exhibit in my Nutella croissant. Wait a minute...
So Tammis Groft, director of the Albany Institute, reached out to the bakery owners. And that conversation grew into the cafe at the museum.
"It was an amazing opportunity for collaboration," Iggy Calabria told us
Wednesday Thursday. "They're using a lot of our cases and equipment, but the Institute is running the cafe and we'll be supplying it with our products."
The cafe is in a renovated space on the second floor, next to the gift shop. The work included restoring the building's original floor and opening a window on the building's Dove Street side to let in more light.
The cases are stocked with Crisan favorites such as almond twists, croissants, and porcelain coconut cakes. They've even brought back Crisan's sorbet and gelato.
The savory offerings supplied by New World Catering include soups and salads as well as heat-and-eat sandwiches and wraps. Today's menu included a sweet potato bisque, green salads, a quinoa roasted-vegetable salad, cold noodles, and jerk chicken sandwiches.
Museum admission isn't required to go the cafe. It will keep the same hours as the museum (with one exception), including Thursday nights, when the museum is open free of charge until 8 pm. Like the museum, it will be closed on Monday. But the cafe will be open on Tuesdays, when the museum is typically only open to groups.
Earlier on AOA: Crisan to close cafe (2014)
AIHA and New World Catering advertise on AOA.
Crisan Cafe at Albany Institute
125 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12210
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