At The Table: Soups, sandwiches, cakes, catering — Sandye’s in Schenectady doing lots of things well

Clockwise from left: Baked goods at the front counter beckon visitors to Sandye’s Café and Cakes; a crispy chicken wrap, Buffalo-style, with macaroni salad; the restaurant exterior.

Clockwise from left: Baked goods at the front counter beckon visitors to Sandye’s Café and Cakes; a crispy chicken wrap, Buffalo-style, with macaroni salad; the restaurant exterior.

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SCHENECTADY — Sandye’s does a lot of stuff. You might know them for their gorgeous custom cakes. They also offer a breakfast and lunch menu, weekly family meals to-go and catering services. They’ve been doing it at the same location for 11 years.

Husband Eric and I headed to Sandye’s for lunch, expecting to eat in. But the tables were removed during the pandemic and haven’t been replaced. There are umbrella tables outside in the good weather.

The shop is at 1316 Nott St., not far from Parkwood Boulevard. Parking is mostly on-street. Eric parked a little way down Grand Boulevard and we walked over.

We were greeted pleasantly by a young woman who informed us that there was no seating, but helped us pick out our meals and tried to sell us a cake.

The menu is breakfast/lunch. Breakfast is available until 11 a.m. An egg sandwich with bacon or sausage and cheese is $5.25. There are variations — choose from hard roll, wrap or white bread. Add a hash-brown patty or sausage for $1.50.

The rest of the menu is appetizers, salads and soups, wraps and sandwiches. Sandwiches and wraps come with homemade nacho chips.

You can get a quesadilla ($8.95) with chicken and cheese, served with sour cream. Their balsamic spring specialty salad ($8.95) is made with Romaine, topped with candied walnuts, cranberries, mandarin oranges and feta cheese crumbles with balsamic vinaigrette. Add chicken, turkey or bacon to your salad for $2.

Among the wraps are crispy chicken ($8.95), BLT ($8.25) and turkey ($8.50). Some of Sandye’s sandwiches are honey roasted turkey breast ($5.25), chicken parm ($8.50) and cranberry chicken salad ($9.25).

Soups are homemade and varieties change. It’s $3.50 or $4.50 a cup, depending on type. Either is a bargain.

Choose your dessert from the baked goods at the counter. Good luck picking out just one thing.

Eric got a crispy chicken wrap, Buffalo-style ($9.25), and a doughnut ($1) for dessert. I had a cup of chicken tortilla soup ($3.50) and a very highly recommended chipotle chicken salad. And a piece of cake ($3).

Sandye’s daughter took our order and answered our many questions. She told us Sandye’s opened 11 years ago and she has been helping out ever since.

She also told us about the cake-decorating classes Sandye’s offers. Call to schedule. You can join a group. Bring some friends and you can have your own class. Bring a bottle of wine, she suggested. Lots of people do. Sounds like fun.

She packed our lunches very carefully and assured us they would arrive safely (they did). If it were only a little warmer, we would have headed to Central Park to eat outside. We ended up bringing our food home.

Sandye’s does dinners to-go on Thursdays. The Café is open until 3 p.m., but dinner pickup times are 4 to 5:30 p.m. A recent meal of chicken and cheese enchiladas with yellow rice and dessert was $45 for a family of four. You can get it for two ($25), or a single plate for $13. Just be sure to call and put in your order.

Eric heated his Buffalo-style crispy chicken wrap just a bit in the microwave. “I like the wrap,” he announced. “The sauce has a little bit of heat.”

He also liked the breading on the crispy chicken, and tomato and crunchy lettuce, and said it didn’t need the accompanying ranch dressing — it was good on its own.

The homemade macaroni salad on the side had a little mustard, Eric thought, the pasta al dente. “Something is tying it all together.”

I had a cup of chicken tortilla soup ($3.50), very good, with lots of seasoning. The cumin and cilantro flavors were assertive, the corn sweet and chunks of chicken tender.

Sandye’s makes homemade tortilla chips in all colors and they’re seasoned nicely with something hot, like chili powder, salt and something sweet. It’s a nice combination. I ate them all.

The chipotle chicken salad ($9.50) was very highly recommended, and I can see why. The salad is bite-sized Romaine — you don’t need to cut anything. It’s topped with corn, black beans and white-meat chicken in a delicious custom southwest ranch dressing.

While I don’t much like ranch dressing, Sandye’s changed my mind. I started around the edges of the salad avoiding the sauce, tasted a little, tasted a little more and then I was sold. The chicken was tender grilled white meat, very good.

The sauce tasted like Buffalo wing sauce to me, and I liked it much more than I expected I would.

I can never pass up a dessert with rainbow sprinkles. Though I didn’t need anything else to eat, I kept eyeing the adorable cake. It was baked in a custom canoe (shaped like a twinkie) and topped with white buttercream. I tasted a little of the sprinkle part, and I was all in.

The tender, fluffy white cake with birthday party speckles is especially delicious; it tastes like a scratch cake. Their buttercream is made with butter — thank you — and it’s delicious, with just the right mouthfeel. If Sandye puts this much thought into a small cake to-go, her large, elaborate cakes must be delicious, too.

Go to the Facebook page (Sandye’s Cafe & Cakes) and prepare to be amazed at the variety of cakes and the skill that goes into making each one. They are truly customized for every lucky recipient.

The tab for our lunch came to $34.61 including tax, credit card surcharge and tip. I thought it was very reasonable.

The glazed doughnut ($1) was supposed to be for breakfast the next day, but like my cake, it beckoned. Eric enjoyed it with a cup of afternoon coffee.

So visit Sandye’s for a nice meal. Or to pick up dinner to-go. Or try them for catering. Or order yourself a gorgeous cake. They do a lot of stuff, all of it good.

Sandye’s Café and Cakes

WHERE: 1316 Nott St., Schenectady; (518) 280-2599;
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday
HOW MUCH: $38.61 including tax and tip
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover. Apple Pay. Parking on street. Delivery $15 minimum, also GrubHub and Door Dash.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts, Life and Arts, Schenectady

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