Sunday, January 06, 2008

Scenes from an Italian restuarant

The glib sign on the Broadway doorway to Brindisi’s Restaurant reads “closed for renovations.” For loyal customers, it means keep coming back because the doors will eventually open again. But for those well acquainted with the comings and goings of the Spa City’s restaurants, such a message all but rings the death knell of another downtown eatery.

Update: Brindisi is swearing the place will be reopened as of the inception of February. The Saratogian reports any deal between the Circus and Brindisi has since been quashed. This is welcome news if in fact it’s true. Variety is the spice of life in the restaurant business. It’s always better to have two successful restaurants than one.

The curious case of Brindisi’s remains largely speculative at this time, especially given the recent comments delivered by its often quite visible operator, Andy Brindisi. Although the downtown business association member and vocal restaurateur told The Saratogian Saturday he intends to reopen his Italian-style bistro next month, words spoken among his staff of more than two dozen suggest otherwise.

One source said all 26 workers of the restaurant were told on New Year’s Eve the restaurant would be closed permanently and was in the process of being sold. This same source indicated the potential buyers are none other than Christel and Colin MacLean, the owners of the Circus Cafe immediately next door. Another said the restaurant was up for sale, but was unsure if there was a buyer.

Brindisi’s father –powerful Syracuse-area attorney Louis Brindisi –apparently had a 10-year lease on the restaurant, which is in a four-tenant building owned by longtime resident James Hogan. With less than three years remaining on the lease, an ugly legal spat broke out between the elder Brindisi, Hogan and Anne DeLucia, the owner of The Grotto nightclub beneath the restaurant.

In short, the pipes near the restaurant’s dish area leaked, causing significant damage to both Brindisi’s kitchen and the fledgling nightclub below. The elder Brindisi filed a $6 million suit, arguing the damage resulted from the nightclub’s pounding bass, which quite literally rattles the whole building every weekend evening. DeLucia countersued Brindisi for $233,000, arguing the leak resulted from a grease clog that built up and eventually caused the pipe to rupture. Naturally, Hogan immediately sought to terminate Brindisi’s lease when the suit was filed against him.

Update: for those who don’t read the comment section, the Grotto’s owner said she never filed suit against Brindisi’s and it was Hogan’s doing. She also maintains her business is good to go and will remain open into the foreseeable future, barring further flooding. Likewise, word from Brindisi is that the sale rumor is nothing more than that and he plans to be open -as the sign says -for Chowderfest next month. Man, oh man. This is like a soap opera.

It’s entirely possible these suits percolated through the justice system and ultimately lead to an agreement or court order terminating the lease. Brindisi would then be faced with finding a new home to re-establish his son’s restaurant or sell the location as it exists today. Needless to say, moving a well-established business elsewhere could cost tens of thousands of dollars before even factoring in the effect such relocation could have on customers. Supposedly, the younger Brindisi only learned of the impending closure on Christmas Eve.

Then there is the Circus. Since opening in 2004, the McLeans have done an immense amount of posturing and publicizing to routinely fill the restaurant. But the ambitious duo that once owned Hattie’s on Phila Street are relatively locked with what they can do in their location. More specifically, the Circus lacks the usable space to turn what is now a smaller-sized eatery into one of the larger nightlife destinations on Broadway. Given the past ambition demonstrated by the Circus’ owners suggests buying Brindisi’s might be a logical step in their business plans.

Update: even more murmurs are starting to drift from restaurant row. Apparently, there are five investors interested in purchasing Hogan’s building for an undetermined purpose. And who’s power-playing this deal? Drum roll please...the licensed real estate brokers who just happen to own The Circus. The rather unsightly building was constructed in the late 1940s(correction) and has a full-market value of $1.47 million, according to the city. Prior to being cut up, the building served as Newberry’s Department store. Apparently, the bar now serving the Circus once served as the store’s soda fountain.

To add even more intrigue into everything is the recent dearth of business at The Grotto on any given night. Originally, the nightclub was offered as a sort of fusion between the prototypical hip hop-blasting meat market and a rock-and-roll live act venue. But the motif never really caught on with weekend revelers and instead scared away the sparse few clubbers that once visited the spot when it was the Newberry. Add it all up and the future doesn’t look bright for The Grotto.

Were both Brindisi’s and The Grotto spaces to go on the market simultaneously, the result could be a building overhaul that would be a bustling business to rival what now operates at the City Tavern on Caroline Street. Such a business endeavor wouldn’t be for the faint of heart. In fact, to renovate the space so badly carved up would likely cost more than the $499,500 Hogan paid for the building in 1992.

But naturally, there is always an alternate reality proffered by a short mention in The Saratogian. As has become trademark with the paper’s shoddy news reporting, none of these avenues or transgressions is noted; just that Andy Brindisi has decided to embark upon a renovation endeavor and will be back in February with “special promotions” for his customers.

It’s true, January is the slowest month in the restaurant business and many owners take the time to clean, renovate or simply grab a quick hiatus from the grinding business. Then again, there are plenty of past examples, where restaurateurs bailed by leaving nothing except a short note on the front door and a gaggle of workers dangling on the unemployment line.

During the late 1990s, there was the infamous case of Graham’s in the former Putnam Market location. After spending more than $400,000 renovating the space in 2000, owner Patrick Graham allegedly went on a gambling and coke binge that ultimately left him with not even enough cash to pay his staff. Graham left a sign on the door in September 2003, saying he would “close for remodeling” and be open again in a few months. In a sense, he was telling the truth: Doc’s Steakhouse opened one year later and under new ownership.

More recently, the owners of the extremely short-lived Limoncello abruptly closed the so-called upscale Italian eatery, claiming their location in the Granite Palace was inadequate. But there hasn’t been a word about the restaurant since Giancarlo Balestra, the former partner of another well-known Italian restaurateur, closed his doors in September. And given past reviews of the place, there won’t be either.

As for Brindisi’s, only time will tell if the rumors swelling around his restaurant prove true. In nearly a decade worth of business, his locale always seemed to have a robust crowd and one that frequently swelled to capacity when other establishments languished. But for more than two dozen local workers, the New Year might not seem much like the happy one many were championing last week.

Update: yet another news reporter jumps on the bandwagon. The Daily Gazette’s often reliable Saratoga reporter grabbed a seat next to The Saratogian’s business reporter in buying the tripe being doled out on Broadway. The stranger part is that the whole city is literally buzzing with news of the Circus owners’ pending purchase. Bravo, guys. Way to obfuscate a good story.


30 Comments:

Anonymous trout21 said...

Horatio:
I love this blog. The local rags are completely bereft of news. There is finally a place to go to get some information. Information that I believe is at least as credible as the stuff one pays for at the news stand.

By the way, what is the knick name for Horatio?

JK

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I just heard today that Brindisi's was sold, perhaps to Colin and Crystal. I also heard Sperry's gave no warning to it's staff that they were closing for a month. Uncool. As far as Brindisi's being successful I heard they had a nice fat debt to their main purveyor US Foods and Andy got nice and beligerant about not having his credit extended. Me, I see bad times ahead for any restaurant that does not own it's space all ready. Let's look around: O'Callaghan's going on three years empty, 43 Phila, going on two years, Limoncello didn't even last a full year, now Bruno's, Chameleon on the Lake, I hear almost everyplace is for sale- Zecchini's places (Mare' sold, good luck! Did Chianti sell?) Rents are ridiculous, help is non-existant or illegal, Max London's 1.2 Mil. to open, what's the nut on that a month? Before payroll and product? It's Confidential? (The Artisan paid like 850 grand for that place, you can't sell enough food to cover a nut like that and the booze crowd is only weekend/seasonal)? I predict complete chain places on Broadway or a ghost town within 5 years. There is not the population, nor the money, to sustain the rents/prices in this town anymore. You onily make real money setting up and selling restaurants. Ask Mino. Happy New Year, Philthyrex

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - Andy doesn't have two sets of books ?

Here is a local blog about the restaurant in the Saratoga Hotel - Chez Sophie;
http://blogmasterg.com/2007/09/26/chez-sophie-anniversary-dinner/

Bon appetite !

12:09 PM  
Anonymous demroc said...

yeah i had heard it was sold to the circus people. i think a lot of people who don't work in that industry think it's an easy buck but the rents have made it impossible to run a good rest. but it's funny because i seen the picture of the china wok and thats been there since about '95ish. i think that puts it behind the wheatfields as one of the longest running eateries on bway. (i loved the pat grahm part of the story)

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trout21: The nickname for Horatio is Ho.

5:43 PM  
Blogger A small "r" republican for fairness said...

P-Rex,

Very well said. A very accurate and scary synopsis of the current situation.

I saw this shakeout coming a couple of years ago, when everyone and their mother were opening restaurants in town. My favorite sardonic phrase to the bride as we would go by them was "Everyone's gonna get rich opening a restaurant here..."

It was not that I wished any of these entrepreneurs ill, but I couldn't help but feel like many of them were kind of naive.

It is an easy trap to look at Saratoga businesses in July and August, with their bustling staffs and humming cash registers and think "Man, all I have to do is open up a place and I'll be on easy street!"

I had actually counseled some of them (the ones that bothered to ask anyway) about how dead business can be from November to March.

As a local business owner, I am fearful of what the future brings for this city, and its downtown LOCAL merchants-including me.

After investing fifteen years in our business, I see threats from all angles threatening the viability and vitality of our city.

These exist both in the microenvironment of Saratoga (the current NYRA situation, high rents, recent political instability, property taxes, lack of a coherent citywide vision, to name a few), and the macroenvironment of our country (an ever weakening dollar, widespread concern about a potential recession, the housing collapse, record gas prices, the shrinking middle class).

I hope I'm wrong, but my gut inclination is that this is only the beginning of the bloodletting. Logic supports that the annual increase in property taxes will prohibit property owners from reducing their high rents.

Add to this the recent hikes in just about every kind of cost a business must bear to operate (electric, heat, food/goods costs, health insurance, wage increases, liability insurance, etc.) WITHOUT the opportunity to raise prices to correspond to those increases due to the shakiness of the economy and the immediate future looks bleak indeed.

It almost makes me pine for a civil service job......

(Cue the Homer Simpson thought bubble as he thinks about donuts and beer and says "Emmmm....donuts......beer)

Pension....emmmmm!
Paid Vacations and guaranteed time off....emmm!!!!
Yearly wage increase.......emmmm!
Potential to sue the city at some point......emmm/"OK small "R" snap out of it!!!!!!"

7:57 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

5:43,

Ho. Is that a Santa Claus reference or something?

Philthyrex,

Quick correction: the Lenzas own 43 Phila. They've been supposedly trying to sell it fairly desperately, but the building is rumored to have some serious problems. They are the quintessential examples of how a restaurant can go bad fast. One day they were the best in show and the next, they were without two pennies to rub together.

As for renting, it's true that it adds another layer of the onion to the financial structure of owning a restaurant and one that only the ones versed in business can cope with. In the case of Limoncello, the guy was a boob that got bought out by Zecchini for just that reason. His restaurants are notorious for packing up without leaving a forwarding address.

Also keep in mind: Owning a restaurant is a great way to take dirty money -say from dealing pounds of cocaine -and making it clean. Dump $1 million of dirty cash into a restaurant, which then spits out $750,000 worth of sales and "requires" $650,000 worth of expenditures -you've just laundered a good chunk of change. Not that I'd suggest anyone in these parts would do such a thing, just that it's food for thought.

Demroc,

That's a good point about China Wok and a testament to the work they do their: They fill a niche, don't stray from that niche, have a closet of a locations so there's no crazy heating bills or need for fancy decor; every time I've gotten food there, it's only one or two guys in the kitchen; there's no dishwashers, bussers, hostesses or any of that jazz, just classic sesame oil-laden food.

As for the oldest, I think the prize goes to Hattie's. If you consider the restaurant most continuously operated and owned by the same restuaranteur, the grand prize sadly goes to Lillian's, the biggest tourist trap in a 50-mile radius.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back at you Small r. Yeah, my somewhat sloppy prose wasn't supposed to imply 43 Phila wasn't owner operated, just that no one wants to buy a failing restaurant. Operating costs are through the roof, natural gas, energy surcharges on all restaurant deliveries, etc.. Slave labor or indentured servitude, while not necessarily in existence at China Wok, does cut down on labor costs in many US establishments. Not to knock China Wok's dogged work ethic. Yeah, from what I've heard money laundering is a real possibility for that business that supposedly sold on Broadway and one that just changed hands on Caroline St as well. Pennell's on Jefferson St. has been owned by two families, the Pennells and the Cerones, and been continually open, in the same location, for over 85 years. As far as I know that's the record, Old Bryan Inn has the oldest origin as an establishment, but wasn't reopened until much more recent times. Cheers, Philthyrex

11:03 PM  
Anonymous demroc said...

yeah it's too easy to forget about lillians, it's a toilet.
when i worked a maestro's with crazy joe divivo, that was one of the things that made it workable. it was small, eventhough the rent was like $3,000 or so we only had a handful of employees. i remember one St patty's day, i was the only one in the kitchen and we jammed out 60 dinners. low overhead when you only need to pay one person, some of these places are just too big (grahms was the primeexample of that). and from a chefs perspective, i think some places try way to hard to be fancy. i laughed when i seen the "big primere" at limoncello. people don't care if your rest. has nice cars outfront, they care about the food.
Keep
It
Simple
Stupid

5:14 PM  
Anonymous demroc said...

oh also i'll mention i seen the picture of the china wok and had forgotten how long it had been there. now just to be somewhat funny i said it was the longest running show on bway behind whetfields. which i know isn't exactly the truth.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ho" as a nickname for Horatio isn't a reference to Santa Claus. If you need a reference, think of Don Imus's description of the Rutgers women's basketball team.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

6:03,

Hmm. Interesting. I never really thought of it that way. But I'd prefer to be much more modest about my legendary sexual promiscuity; there's no need to brag about one's fortunes and prowess when it comes to the horizontal two-step.

9:50 PM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

Food establishments, as the city refers them, face an uphill battle for survival.

As I have gotten older my preferences have changed. Going out to dinner is a pain in the ass. It's expensive and many times not that rewarding.

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently released a study showing only 1/3 of the men leaving a rest room washed their hands.
Those are not odds I feel comfortable with.

Demroc says he use to work in a restaurant. If he knew my identity, and I went to a restaurant that he was working in how many lugers do you think would be in my clams and linguini?

6:12 AM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

Shot,

It is an uphill battle in the restaurant business, but mainly because the people who decide to own them haven't the foggiest clue of what they're doing or getting into.

From the successful owners I've been acquainted with, Restaurant work takes a lot of time -about 115 hours a week -a lot of booze, and for the faint of heart, a lot of drugs. It takes a business model that brings something unique to the city, a well-plotted staff and a presence among them that waivers on an instant between a Mr. Rogers persona and someone who might be double as the left-hand man of Satan.

But in many cases these days, owners are people who have too much money, get bored in the suburbs and have never set foot in a restaurant other than as a customer. They expensively redecorate, create an unthinkable overhead and then start cutting staff when the situation becomes untenable. Next thing you know, the doors are closed two days a week, the service is shoddy and half the menu is 86'd. And the spiral continues.

As for your last assertion, having known Joe(Maestro's former chef-owner) as a quasi-friend or acquaintance, the last thing that would ever happen in his kitchen would have been someone purposely defiling the food. In fact, among the cooks I know in the city, this is extremely taboo. The axiom is this: Cooks who drop something nasty in ANY dish -even if it's for a sworn enemy -are likely to do far worse things with their spare time, of which I won't elaborate. That's a reputation that shoots through back-ally bars and smoke break rooms quicker than an outbreak of hepatitis at a migrant scallion farm.

However, you are right in some regards: if people knew the condition of most eateries, they'd probably keel over at their tables; this is ESPECIALLY the case during track season, when black flies, heat and a bizarre porridge of other nasty circumstances face most restaurants.

The upside to all of this is that most people have a remarkably strong immune systems and aren't prone to falling violently ill unless there is a serious case of contamination. What is more likely at most of these places is a more mild form of discomfort some of us refer to as indigestion. Most people shake it off as "I ate too much" or "I'm hung over" or a variety of other reasons.

It's usually only when you're bazooka barfing that the thought arises about your previous meal and where it came from. In truth, the pathogens that cause such heinous episodes were likely consumed one, maybe even two days prior to symptoms actually developing.

So in summation: Eating. It's a crap shoot. Do it at your own risk. But the alternative -not eating -is all but certain to have lethal side effects.

7:00 AM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

"But the alternative -not eating -is all but certain to have lethal side effects."

Who said anything about not eating?
I can buy a shitload of groceries for the same money one would spend at any restaurant. The same holds true for alcohol.
So we have to prepare the food and clean up afterwards.

However, it is nice to be able to take a break from the work of preparing a meal especially when one has company.
Whenever we do go out to eat it is always at a local establishment where I know the owner; never a chain.
Although, we did try the Racino buffet and we were happy with it.

Also, for a person like myself, driving home after imbibing in a few cocktails becomes an issue.

Don’t worry there will always be food and drinking establishments because there are many lonely people out there. You can go to any gin mill and generally you will see the same faces night in and night out. This is their family. This is their social existence.

7:43 AM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

I have an acquaintance who once owned a local restaurant many many years ago. He has a funny story that he occasionally tells how one night in the kitchen they became very busy.
He was working the floor and noticed that food was not coming out of the kitchen; things were getting backed up.
When he went in the kitchen to find out what the hell was going on he discovered the cook out on the back porch getting a blow job.

Those were the days my friend.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Andy B said...

Andy B. here. I enjoyed reading the story and all the comments. I think I am a good primary source for the future of Brindisi's

So, here it goes:

Friday I begin work on getting the kitchen ready for the new floor. I will be open in time for chowder fest. Please come by and please vote for us.

Don't count me out yet. You know what they said about Clinton in NH and McCain last summer.

The place is not on the market for sale. If some one comes along and gives me a great price I would be stupid not to consider it. Every business person or home owner should always look at offers.

I don't think we should be saying that Saratoga is dead. If someone builds a business and sells it that could be a good thing. It means people are investing in downtown. Look at the many expansions in downtown this year alone. We have new hotels coming up and new homes being build everywhere.

When we came in summer 2000 half these business were not here. Hopefully we set the bar for growth in downtown.

Are there too many restaurant? Maybe. But isn't that good for the consumer. We should be proud of all of the wonderful restaurants in town. Don't we still live in a capitalistic society.

But, if one of them sells again I don't think that is bad.

Its still a great place to invest and do business.

There are some down sides with Saratoga. One is we need workforce housing and more parking.

There are other business in Saratoga that are seasonal it is something that I have considered in the past.

We will see. Everyone will find out soon enough.

What ever happens. I hope people feel that I worked hard to build my business. I worked hard to promote downtown and still believe that its a great place to shop, dine and stay.


Respectfully,

Andy B

11:26 AM  
Anonymous demroc said...

demroc said: i,ve worked for and prepared food for many an individual, i can say i didn't like them all. however, no serious chef would do anything to a plate of food. it is an art form and i wouldn't defile the work i do just because i didn't like somebody. a little personal pride goes a long way. and if you knew joe you'd know it would never happen there.
this one time this lady sent back the first dish, so he sent out another. she didn't like that and sent that back as well. he refused to make attempt # 3 and had the waitress take the plated off her table. i guess the customers not always right. no food for you.

3:19 PM  
Blogger SaratogaSpa said...

Hang in their Andy , we miss ya
Bob

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Well, at the risk of looking like Norm Peterson from Cheers, who ate at the Hungry Heffer, I just had the $7.99 turkey dinner (soup and dessert included) at the Saratoga Diner, and it was a pretty good deal.

Andy, I like your food and the fact that you often have live music - plus you have an engaging personality with the customers - something all restauranteurs should have but don't.

I hope you are here to stay, but the last part of your comment sounds like a man owning a restaurant that is not coming back - to wit:
"What ever happens. I hope people feel that I worked hard to build my business. I worked hard to promote downtown and still believe that its a great place to shop, dine and stay."

You used the past tense not once but twice. I wish you the best but it just doesn't look good.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous bocuse said...

Great blog, good to hear from Andy as well. I suppose the easiest way to get the real story about Brindisi's would be to:
a) take a look for signs of kitchen construction i.e. work trucks, debris dumpster, bldg. permit in the window, etc. and b) find out what the kitchen staff and front of the house folks are up to...if they're looking or have found other work, then I think we'd have our answer about Brindisi's.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

This is Anne DeLucia from The Grotto and this is the first time I have ever responded to the misinformation about my business (and essentially, about me personally). I wanted to provide an accurate timeline to those of you interested in this situation.

Let me note that I have always liked Andy Brindisi & James Hogan despite any issues or hardships that Brindisi’s flooring/plumbing has indisputably caused me, my business, and my employees. Along with the Saratogian & the Daily Gazette, this blog has “reported” completely false information. It amuses me that the blog criticizes local papers for being “bereft” and then proceeds to disseminate the same inaccurate information.

I took the business over in 2005 and ran it as the Newberry Club for one season, closing in September 2005 at the end of the “busy” season. I did not re-open until the end of May 2006. During this closed down period (September 2005-May 2006) is when the trouble began.

The first major leak occurred while I was renovating in 2005. Everyone concerned (including the landlord, James Hogan and Andy Brindisi) was trying to quell the flood in the space I rent. A flood that occurred, mind you, while I was completely closed, prior to my “pounding bass” having ever been turned on. Andy then pledged that Brindisi‘s plumbing issues would stop. Andy gave me his word. Therefore, I did not take any action at this time. I have never wanted anything other than to be a good neighbor to Brindisi’s, Circus Café, and China Wok. To my knowledge, I have never caused any damage to my neighboring establishments.

I opened in May 2006, hoping for a bright future. Unfortunately, the leaks not only continued, but grew worse. In July of 2006 two leaks, major enough in proportion, caused me to call my insurance company for relief of damages. Upon thorough investigation by both my insurance carrier and Brindisi’s, the damage was indeed found to have been the responsibility of Brindisi’s Restaurant. Brindisi’s insurance carrier paid the claim. At this point, I truly believed and hoped that this matter would be behind us all and the issues causing this damage would be fixed. Alas, that proved not to be the case.

The next major leak was caused (according to Brindisi’s) by an employee knocking off a sprinkler head in January of 2007. Whatever the truth of the matter is, one thing is certain, the torrential flood ended up, once again, in my place of business. (We’re talking about a river of water streaming down the stairs and through every conceivable opening in his floor/my ceiling).

Again, both Brindisi’s and my insurance carriers investigated the damage and Brindisi’s NEW carrier conceded that Brindisi’s caused the damage. In addition to partially covering my damages, Brindisi’s insurance company paid for Brindisi’s to make repairs to the floor and plumbing. Brindisi’s did nothing, except cause more leaks. The next major leak came in July 2007 when Brindisi’s had a new dishwasher installed, apparently improperly. For whatever reason, this appliance overflowed for 2 days, causing yet another round of significant physical damage.

After this longstanding history of continued leaks and lack of any apparent effort to fix them, finally, the landlord, Hogan, took the action as provided for in the lease, notifying Brindisi’s that if the flooring/plumbing situation was not fixed immediately, they would be evicted. I never wanted Brindisi’s to be evicted; all I wanted was to have this nightmare end, which would require Brindisi‘s to fix the floor and plumbing. Can you blame me? Thus, the legal battle between Hogan (NOT ME) and the Brindisi’s ensued. I never sued anyone (but, I probably should have sued them both). The upshot of this legal wrangling, as noted in court documents, is that Brindisi’s refused to close during the busier season to perform this work, however, promised to close in January of 2008 and fix all said problems finally and completely. While this timeframe was obviously convenient for Brindisi’s continued prosperity, it meant I had to suffer through a second summer season with leaks and the potential for further damage. At least, there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel. So, it is no surprise to me that Brindisi’s is now closed to perform these repairs. I can only hope they are actually being done. As for any other gossip, I would not know.

As far as my rent to Mr. Hogan, I have paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars for his business (The Newberry) and rent, invested substantial sums of money in totally renovating the facility, all while shouldering the burdens of this constant flooding. James Hogan owns the building and accepts rents from the tenants and in exchange, it is his responsibility that each tenant abide by the terms of the lease, allowing each other quiet enjoyment. Clearly, this has not been the case as I have suffered repeated, catastrophic damages. Whatever Mr. Hogan or Brindisi’s claim, THESE are the facts: Brindisi’s flooring/plumbing is causing the problems and it is Brindisi’s responsibility to maintain it under the terms of the lease. Failing that, it is Mr. Hogan’s responsibility to enforce the lease.

Hopefully, those reading this now have a clearer understanding of this long and arduous situation with which I have had to contend. Judging from the facts as we know them, Brindisi’s lawsuit for $6 million is ludicrous and quite clearly a stalling technique to further put off repairs that have long been inevitable. This is further proven in that he is claiming to do them now.

All I ever wanted to do was own a successful business in Saratoga Springs. As with any business, I am aware that there are problems and hurdles along the way. I have never given up and don’t plan on it now. I am, however, prepared to take whatever action necessary to ensure that my chances of survival are not continually being jeopardized by fellow tenants or my landlord.

Clearly, maintaining a successful business in the current downtown Saratoga climate is difficult, even when all factors go as planned. I have managed to survive, even in the face of continued adversity, over which I had no control. No one states owning a business is easy and I am not whining; it would just be nice if reporters and bloggers would stop defaming me when they don’t have their facts straight.

As I mentioned earlier, I have always liked Andy and I respect anyone who is able to keep his/her business open during tumultuous times. Only those who have had the experience of starting a business and trying to make it survive are qualified to comment on such matters. I have tremendous respect for Andy and all my fellow entrepreneurs in Saratoga. I wish him the best, with what he (or Brindisi, Sr.) decide for their futures.

Thank you.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous m&m said...

May I just say great blog... Long Live Saratoga.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting, ma'am.

It certainly is a mess, and it appears that this woman has taken the hit for it.

I'm not a lawyer but:

Don't be so bashful about suing the landlord's insurance company yourself -- and possibly Brindisi's carrier.

Don't worry about them taking it personally; they shouldn't. It's why they make those premium payments!

There's no doubt that the flooding caused you damage -- monetary and emotional. Why should you and your family be carrying that burden n your own?

Share it.

3:47 PM  
Blogger shotinthedark said...

Dear Anne DeLucia,

Nice post.

I guess there is three sides to every story after all.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anne said...

Hi- this is Anne DeLucia again. I have spoken to Andy Brindisi regarding this blog and wanted to let everyone know that although the root of the problem was not fixed until now (Andy did confirm that he had the flooring issue fixed and the nightmare should be over!), this was not an easy process for Andy. He did attempt to come up with short term fixes until he had the time to close and make the renovations he needed. As I've stated before, I like him a lot and we're starting off on the right foot for 2008.

4:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Tom Mcygue's fault. Val says so.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous demroc said...

why would he stop blaming other people now.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon this blog and decided I would also like to add some current information to the blog. I know for a fact that the owners of Circus Cafe were looking to take over Brindisi's, but after careful consideration they decided not to.

Andy Brindisi did not find out about the closing of the restaurant until a few short days before the close. Lou Brindisi, behind Andy's back, told the landlord to offer the restaurant up to anyone who was interested in buying it. Lou Brindisi decided on his own to close the restaurant right after New Years and Andy Brindisi, against his father's wishes, reopened the restaurant in February. Andy was angry at the owners of the Circus Cafe for trying to buy his restaurant even though it wasn't there fault because they were simply responding to an offer given to them. Andy, being the petty person he is, decided to get back at the Circus Cafe by voting Brindisi's restaurant "Best Burger" knowing very well that it was the award the Circus Cafe won for many years. He voted himself "Best Burger" and "Best Family Restaurant" by buying over 300 Saratogian newspapers and voting for himself. I even overheard him bragging about this.

Shortly after this incident, Colin and Christel, owners of the Circus Cafe, accused Andy of cheating, and refused to do business with the Saratogian any longer because they allowed Andy Brindisi to do what he did. Of course very shortly after that, Lou Brindisi threatened to file a lawsuit against the Circus Cafe for slander. Circus Cafe and Brindisi's are no longer friendly neighbors and anyone working at Brindisi's had been threatened by Andy. Employees were told that if anyone was caught dining at the Circus Cafe, they were going to be fired immediately.

Andy Brindisi is a jerk, and all the rumors I've heard about him were right. He is not the friendly person people might think he is. It is all a fake image he portrays to make people come to his restaurant. If only people knew what really went on there.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Kristine said...

It is ridiculous that people be allowed to post "anonymous" listings. If you are going to call Andy a jerk at least have the courage to state your name. A lot of rumours float around about many in this town. It is a small town and, for better or for worse, anyone with a gripe can make it known quickly and easily. People LOVE to gossip. Andrew is not only a dedicated and hardworking business owner, like so many in Saratoga Springs, but an amazing person, one who has worked hard to become a success. Anonymous postings are childish
and extremely suspect. Prior to the fishing expedition launched by his big top neighbours, Andy went out of his way to cross-promote and co-market with them, as he does with the other businesses that co-exist on Broadway. It is unfortunate for them that they chose to engage in libel and slander. This blog is further evidence that it has not stopped.

8:40 AM  

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