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Spotty service can’t spoil BWP’s fine pub fare

Spotty service can’t spoil BWP’s fine pub fare

Barbecue chicken pizza "delicious"
Spotty service can’t spoil BWP’s fine pub fare
BWP's barbecue chicken pizza
Photographer: caroline lee/for the daily gazette

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The letters stand for Beer Wine Pizza. Our experience was Botched and Wanting, but overall it was Positive.

BWP is a pub-style, casual restaurant located within The Springs Luxury Apartments, a mixed-use development with retail on the main floor and apartments above. Look for signs along Weibel Avenue to find the turn for BWP.

The new construction has an industrial feel with concrete floors, open ceiling and exposed utilities, tempered by wood fixtures, tables and chairs, and warm colors. One side of the L-shaped space focuses on the bar, with high tables, glass pendant lights and built-in wood cubbies for liquors and wines that are echoed in the design of the dropped ceiling of the dining room space, where traditional-height tables face television screens, the patio or open kitchen.

It’s comfortable, not fussy, smart.

Our server was lively, knowledgable and absolutely delightful, though a bit absent-minded. At dinnertime on a Sunday, the restaurant was less than half full and it took a while for her to find where the hostess seated us. She apologized profusely; we hadn’t minded.

“Any popcorn while you’re waiting?” she asked. Oh, boy, do we love popcorn. You don’t have to ask us twice. She took drink orders and returned with menus but no popcorn, or spoon for Virginia’s coffee.

BWP is owned by the WOW restaurant group, local seasoned entrepreneurs who own Wheatfields Bistro in Clifton Park, and Wheatfields Restaurant and 2 West Bar & Grille in Saratoga Springs. It opened in 2014.

Think pub-style restaurant, with lots of appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, salads and a few entrees, and that’s BWP. There’s a boutique wine menu, not extensive but with interesting selections from smaller vineyards, and a craft beer list featuring local favorites from Ommegang in Cooperstown, Brown’s in Troy and The Lake Placid Brewery. “There are always four or five New York state beers on tap,” said general manager Eric Swoyer.

The BWP burger ($10.95) comes with fries or Saratoga chips, and for the same price you can sub a chicken, turkey or veggie burger. Wings are $12.95 for 10, hand-tossed pizzas range from $9.95 for cheese to $16.95 for cheeseburger-style. A chicken Caesar salad is $10.95. For something more substantial, get fish and chips ($15.95), ahi tuna with chef’s vegetables ($16.95) and roasted potatoes, or an 8-ounce bistro steak with the same ($18.95).

We started with excellent Saratoga chips ($6.95) served in a paper-lined basket. They come with bleu cheese and bacon, but I asked for the bleu cheese on the side. This caused some confusion while ordering, but it came as requested.

These are just right — tasty, salted enough, browned, Russet-flavored and not hard, as they can sometimes be. The texture of the thick bacon, cooked done but not crisp, contrasted nicely with the crunchy chips and the smoky flavor held its own. Virginia said the warmed chunky bleu cheese sauce added a level of richness and even more flavor.

Nicely done, but messy. I didn’t see the dressing slopped over the sides of the bowl until I moved it and grumbled as I used multiple napkins to wipe sauce off my phone and sweater.

As the server explained, one pizza is cut into eight pieces and easily feeds two. We enjoyed a barbecue chicken pizza ($13.95) very much. Their version has small pieces of tender boneless breast, caramelized onions and cheddar cheese in addition to the mozzarella. It was the first time I’d tried it, and liked the novelty of the sweet barbecue sauce and onions. “I think it’s delicious,” said Virginia.

BWP gets points for its tasty, thin crust. “I’d eat it without anything on it,” Virginia said.

It’s filling. We each stopped at two slices and took home the rest.

The house salad I’d ordered failed to materialize, and we went onto dessert.

BWP makes its own apple crisp ($5.95) and we recommend it. The apples are still a bit crunchy and the topping is soft and not too sweet. It was scorching hot, and we would have ordered ice cream if we knew it was available.

Our server realized her omissions too late, but then took it upon herself to pay for our dessert, which was nice of her. The final bill before that was $31.45.

Swoyer apologized for the lapses in service and said it was “not the feedback we usually hear.” He said they are “always trying to improve operations and make sure everyone is following procedures.” He thanked me and said the feedback would help them improve, which is exactly the right way to handle it.

Locally owned, independent restaurants always get a mulligan. We liked the restaurant and our food very much, and would give it another try with hopes of seeing some popcorn and our entire order the next time.

Beer Wine Pizza

WHERE: 70 Weibel Ave., Saratoga Springs,
518-763-2975, beerwinepizza.com
WHEN: 3 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11:30 a.m.
to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $31.45 before tax and tip
MORE INFO: Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover. Children’s menu. ADA compliant. Large parking lot.

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