At the Table: In these trying times, turn to old Cronies’ in Hagaman

Pizza comes loaded with nostalgia
The writer picks up a takeout order Monday night at Cronies’; inset, sausage and mushroom pizza and large antipasto.
The writer picks up a takeout order Monday night at Cronies’; inset, sausage and mushroom pizza and large antipasto.

At Cronies’ restaurant in Hagaman, you can practice social distancing while still enjoying something delicious.

Bored of home-cooked meals and eager to patronize local businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, many families in the Amsterdam area are turning to takeout as their new normal. Restaurants that have been around for decades — like Cronies’, which opened in 1986 — are still turning out the same delicious meals they always have, but now for takeout only.

Cronies’ is a breakfast, lunch and dinner spot widely regarded as a local gem in Hagaman, known for “belly-buster” pancakes, hearty sandwiches, generous Italian dishes and, of course, their pizza.

But for me, a takeout order of Cronies’ sausage pizza comes loaded with nostalgia. It’s the same pizza I remember from Crystal Bar as a kid in Amsterdam — savory square slices with a crispy-yet-soft crust, balanced sauce and cheese, and most important: dependability.

Insiders know that there’s a clear link here: The chef (who goes by “Orpy”) spent 30 years making pizzas at Crystal Bar, and when it closed in 2012, he took his talents to the kitchen at Cronies’. With the same recipe, chef and homemade sausage with fennel seed, every bite can bring you back.

The large sausage-and-mushroom pizza I ordered was nearly perfect. Although the crust seemed a little rushed and not as voluminous as usual, the pizza was as delicious as I remember. The chicken wings were meaty and crispy, and a large antipasto salad was generously heaped with cold cuts and peppers. The meal came to about $40 before tip.

Reached by phone Tuesday, owner Vincent Fusco said Cronies’ has shifted to pickup and delivery only in accordance with the state’s latest COVID-19 health protocols. He said he delivered an order all the way to Broadalbin last week as customers self-quarantine and stay home.

“We’re gonna try to survive,” he said. “If everybody sticks together, we will get through this.”
We’ll get through this … one pizza at a time!


WHERE: 111 S Pawling St, Hagaman, NY 12086, 518-842-1413
WHEN: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; weekends, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
HOW MUCH: $40, without tip

Categories: Food, Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, Life & Arts

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