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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning

"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

fast-food chains..

A new Red Robin is set to open on Rt. 9 near Latham Farms soon. I'm skeptical.

As many readers know, I'm a big proponent of local food in SmAlbany. Red Robin is part of the new breed of psuedo-fast-food and psuedo-chainish-ness. The restuarants are generally clean, the food is generally better than McDonalds, and they market themselves as upscale and cheap. Plus, their gimmick is bottomless french fries. There is already one in Clifton Park, and my mom and sister really like it.

I'm probably going to go to the one in Latham just to check it out for myself. That is unless someone can give us a good review without me having to do that.

I hope no one goes there, but i'm sure that won't be the case. But at least it might put the McDonalds across the street out of business.
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At 9:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Unfortuantely, Red Robin and McDonald's don't really equate on a dining out continuum, so they will probably just coexist. In the TU area's best section Red Robin was one of the area top picks for hamburgers along with Sutters and one I can't remember.

I agree with you that all else being equal, dining in a local restaurant always beats a chain. I guess people in this area don't think that way. A friend of mine was in the new Italian place, Santino's,( which by the way is great) on Saturday night and it was empty. Carraba's chain Italian restaurant up the road always has long waiting lists on the weekends. I hope Santino's makes it. You and SJC should try it out.    

At 9:51 AM , Blogger Matt said:

yeah, i haven't been to red robin yet, but i do hear the food is pretty good. I'm definitley not a fan of the "halfway" style restaurants, where it's kinda fast-food and kinda not fast food. But i haven't been there yet, so maybe my impression of it is wrong.

SJC has been to Santino's, I have not. She really liked it. We've both been to Carraba's, and i thought the food was good but the wait was ridiculous.

I'm basically convinced that you can open a chain Italian restaurant in SmAlbany and it will automatically be packed every night. It's really unbelievable. I don't know how they do it, because many of the better local Italian places don't have such a slamming business.    

At 9:44 PM , Blogger Becky said:

I love Red Robin! We've been to the new one in Latham, and it's a lot of fun.....it's got a west coast vibe that makes it seem like you're on vacation. The burgers are really good too. I recommend the 5 Alarm burger if you like SPICY things, b/c it's covered in jalapenos. Red Robin is definitely different than a lot of the partially fast food type chains.    

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