Got cabin fever?
For me, the best remedy is a walk in a park or lunch with a friend.
Travel to the quiet village of Schuylerville and you can do both. Hudson Crossing Park, known for its nesting eagles, is a mile away. The Saratoga Battlefield, less than 10 miles down the road, has 3,000 acres to roam on foot, snowshoes or skis.
For lunch, my buddy Laura and I discovered Old Saratoga Eatery, a friendly, homey kind of place on the main drag.
A sparkly souvenir Mexican hat hangs above a big black saddle. There’s a gumball machine, and on the front counter, near the pizza oven, a fiery red rack of Damn Good Jerky from the Stillwater business that went national. A shelf near the door is stacked with thrift-store items for sale, with purchases supporting Estherville, an animal shelter on a wooded country road in Greenfield.
We were drawn to a spot in the storefront window at one of the tables topped with a handsome slab of natural wood.
“A customer made them,” our attentive waitperson told us.
We plucked Twinings tea from a basket she brought us and dug into the lengthy breakfast-lunch-and-dinner menu.
Burgers, soup, wraps, salads, burritos, sandwiches, entrees such as lasagna and shrimp scampi, soup, pizza, appetizers, etc. It’s like a diner menu, but judging from our lunches this chef takes diner food up a notch. Last weekend, at Saratoga Apple’s Chowder & Chili Festival, Old Saratoga Eatery won the people’s choice award for its shrimp and corn chowder.
I went for the Truffle Grilled Cheese, a triple-decker with gouda, mozzarella and provolone. On nicely grilled quality sourdough, with ultra-thin slices of tomato and a crispy pickle at its side, the sandwich was cheesy but not overwhelming. I really loved the texture of that center bread slice, which compressed into something “meaty” that reminded me of eggplant. My side salad was a generous bowl of mixed greens topped with a bevy of cucumbers and red onion slices.
Laura has deep roots in Philadelphia, so she couldn’t resist the Philly Cheesesteak.
From the first bite she was impressed. According to this expert, the Angus beef was not what one finds in a typical cheesesteak.
“It’s way better, really good. I’d call this an upscale Philly cheesesteak.”
Laura was less impressed with her side order of sweet potato fries.
“They’re OK,” she said.
As we munched and chatted, we noticed other things that we liked: the mismatched vintage dishes and the absence of background music or a flashing television screen.
On a Monday afternoon, two of the eight tables were occupied. As time went by, other tables filled and the takeout biz picked up.
When Laura, an inquisitive former Gazette reporter, saw a guy with a pizza box headed to the door, she had to ask.
“Is it good?”
“Yeah, really good,” he said.
Later that night, Laura and I texted about our take-home desserts. Her lemon mascarpone cake was “delish,” she said. My mini cheesecake, made in-house, had an appealing mini chocolate chip/graham cracker bottom, but the top could have been creamier.
Old Saratoga Eatery
WHERE: 112 Broad St., Schuylerville; 518-695-5555; www.old
WHEN: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, 8:15 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 8:15 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 8:15 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday,
9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday.
HOW MUCH: $33.96 for sandwiches, sides and tea, without tax and tip. Desserts were an extra $7.48.
MORE INFO: Dine in, takeout and contactless delivery. Kids menu, senior menu on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Entrance
at street level without steps. Street parking. Visa, Mastercard and Discover.