Historic Albany selling some booths from Lombardo’s

Historic Albany selling some booths from Lombardo’s

ALBANY — About a century after double-sided booths were built inside Lombardo’s restaurant, David Ritrovato last week was gently tapping the joints to remove them.

The 9,500-square-foot building at 121 Madison Ave is being renovated by the Saratoga Springs-based Business for Good Foundation to become a southern sibling to another historic restaurant, Hattie’s, founded in 1938. As part of its mission, Business for Good has taken several food businesses under its wing and turned them into non-profits that provide employees with raises and health insurance and return the proceeds to the community.

The restaurant is expected to open in November. As at Saratoga, Hattie’s-Albany will be run by Beth and Jasper Alexander, a married couple who owned it from 2001 to 2021 and will continue in their supervisory management roles for Hattie and her service sister. quick in Wilton, Hattie’s Chicken Shack. Veteran area chef Mark D. Graham will be executive chef of Hattie’s in Albany.

Although Hattie’s is keeping and restoring much of the spacious interior, including a large booth in a back corner, 11 single-sided and double-sided booths were donated to the Historic Albany Foundation, where Ritrovato is its parts warehouse manager , recovered equipment and furnishings. . The single-sided cabs were small enough to fit the door intact, but the double-sided cabs were built inside Lombardo’s and had to be dismantled.

Held together with braid joints, serrations and glue, but no screws or bolts, the cabins required whacking with a small sledgehammer to come apart, Ritrovato said. He said the one-way booths have been claimed, including by a former Lombardo’s server and a member of the Mancino family, which bought the restaurant in 1991 from the founding family and owned it until it closed in late 2018.

Eight double-sided cabins are now in Historic Albany’s inventory and are for sale, priced at about $300 each, Ritrovato said.

“They’re basically in good shape and can certainly be put together,” he said, adding that the new owner will need to have the joints drilled and bolted, and the construction of the cabins dictates that they stick to a wall. Ritrovato said he did not know what type of wood the cabins were made of, describing it as “an extremely beautiful and heavy type of wood.”

Charles N. Lombardo Sr. opened the eponymous Italian restaurant in 1919, expanding it with the addition of the adjacent barroom when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. That year, Lombardo commissioned an artist, who is said to have traded murals for food, to paint scenes that evoke a world of gentle waterfalls and rose-covered garden walls and young lovers drinking Chianti.

For some seven decades of his life, Lombardo was a family affair. Behind Lombardo Sr., there was an emerging group that included Lombardo Jr., brother Bill Lombardo, sister Matilda Maxwell, sister-in-law Angelina R. Lombardo and Mary L. Barthe Baumbaca, who was also a waitress, hostess and cook’s wife for nearly 50 years, James Baumbaca.

In 1991, the family sold it to Rose-Marie Mancino, a registered nurse, and her husband, Paul, a retired Albany police detective. Though new to the restaurant business, they were Lombardo veterans: Paul Mancino told the Times Union that his family celebrated his first communion and his confirmation at the restaurant.

While much history is visible and implied in the booths for sale by Historic Albany, one vestige is being removed.

“There was a lot of gum underneath,” Ritrovato said. “I’ve been scratching it ever since we got them.”

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