PATTERSONVILLE — When Silas Marsh built his store in 1831 on Mariaville Lake, he probably wasn’t thinking about chicken wings and pizza. But that’s what you can get today, along with what he used to stock: staples like canned food, milk and teabags.
Now, there’s also a wall-sized cooler of beer, and an impressive range of really good, freshly made food.
The Country Store keeps the lake residents from feeling too isolated. If they run out of bathroom tissue or need more beer, it isn’t far to go.
Mariaville Lake is surely one of the most beautiful spots in Schenectady County, and it’s peaceful. Kathy and I took a leisurely drive for lunch on a hot and sunny summer weekday, and other cars were few and very far between.
The lake was created in 1793 when James Duane, founder of Duanesburg, dammed the creek and turned it into Maria Pond, named for his daughter.
The store, built in 1831, has been extensively remodeled but retains its original shape, and inside, charm. It’s in the Mariaville Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places.
The store is stocked with groceries, chips, coolers, a deli case, there’s old photos and newspaper clippings displayed, even a coin-operated ride, fishing worms, post cards, souvenir motorcycle t-shirts — enough stimulation that kept us busy for a quite a while until we made our way to the counter.
And once there, it was hard to decide. In addition to pizza and wings, salads, burgers and subs, you can get a seafood platter, an Italian dinner, calzone or Stromboli. Earlier, we might have wanted a breakfast sandwich, and they’re available all day. “They do have everything here,” Kathy observed.
Best of all, you can get a real milkshake. Choose your flavor from the well-stocked Hershey’s cooler, then take it to the Shake Shop Express machine. Peel the top, press a button, insert your cup, and the machine whips it up, just like at a counter. Remove your shake, and the clear window solemnly closes and a wash cycle commences.
Place your order, like we did, then head to the machine to mix your shake. “You ladies are all set,” said the nice person at the counter, and we took our food to the one table recently vacated by a group of utility workers.
There’s a small counter with a few spinny stools, but that’s it for seating, unless you choose to dine al fresco at one of the picnic tables across the road.
It seemed like a good idea to start with a sampler from the fry vat ($7.99), which turned out to be a meal in itself, and once we’d started on the delicious onion rings, tender chicken strips, crunchy-coated mozzarella sticks and juicy mushrooms in their crispy batter cases, it was hard to stop.
“Mmm,” said Kathy, who favored the juicy chicken with bread crumb coating, as I squirted ketchup from a small foil packet onto some hot french fries.
Our main courses seemed superfluous, and provided plenty of leftovers. I nibbled the edges of the 6-inch Italian mix sub ($6.79) with Provolone and just enough dressing. The soft Freihofer’s roll didn’t quite meet the standard of the salami, Capicola and pepperoni but it did the job. I like my cold cuts sliced thinner, too. The sandwich was good but no competition for hot, crispy browned fried food.
Kathy ordered a regular-sized Stromboli ($8.99) that could feed two hungry people and came with a small tub of marinara. “It doesn’t even need the sauce,” said Kathy. “The filling is probably similar to your sandwich but has Italian sausage in it,” she reported. The sauce was smooth, and very fresh tasting. “It’s really delicious,” she concluded, as she finished a quarter of it.
Two straws stood right up in the excellent strawberry shake, and we shared sips and agreed it tasted like the kind you make at home. By this time, the consistency was just right, and we were done with what Kathy called “our indoor picnic.”
Paying is done in an informal fashion: We reported to the counter and recited a list of what we’d had, and were presented with the bill, which came to $28.90. We took away meals for another day, pleasant memories of excellent fried food and strawberry shakes, and bait. And it seemed just right, for the Lakeside Country Store.
Mariaville Lakeside Country Store Pizza & Deli
WHERE: 8856 Mariaville Road, Pattersonville, 518-864-7777, www.mariavillelakesidecountrystore.com
WHEN: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
HOW MUCH: $28.90
MORE INFO: Parking on street. Not ADA compliant. Credit cards: Master Card, Visa, American Express.