By Charlotte Lehman
Schenectady has a lot of great food to offer.
While I’ll be the first to profess my love for Perreca’s garlic pizza with prosciutto and fresh tomatoes, I think it’s also important to recognize some of Schenectady’s greats that Union students tend to overlook.
Breakfast. Okay, I admit it. No list of Schenectady restaurants would be complete without mentioning the famous little Italian restaurant and bakery combo.
However, I rarely see anyone heading over to Perreca’s Bakery and More Perreca’s Café for breakfast. And what a mistake they are making.
I’ve had some of the best pancakes there, and I’ve been told the eggs are fantastic. Plus, you’re able to eat a full meal that isn’t standard dining hall fare for under $5. There’s no reason not to indulge in Perreca’s breakfast on a regular basis.
Lunch. It’s a common misconception that the common hour simply isn’t enough time to eat lunch, let alone venture off-campus for food. Despite only lasting an hour, there are several places within walking distance from Union that you can visit if you need a little break from Upper.
Try Civitello’s, a quick walk away with even quicker service. I had the best Reuben of my life there (sorry, Mom!) and it even came with chips. Not only do they make a mean sandwich, but Civitello’s is also known for their delicious cookies. And with a warm and inviting atmosphere, you will not be disappointed.
You’ve probably heard of Gershon’s Deli, but only in the context of Minerva events, am I right? Were you aware that they don’t just cater? In fact, if you head just a little way down Union Street, you’ll find a bustling and overcrowded Jewish deli with friendly waitstaff that also serves the other best Reuben I’ve ever had in my life. It’s a little crazy, but the food is fantastic and the atmosphere is friendly. Visiting Gershon’s is an experience everyone should have before graduating.
Then there’s the 20 North Broadway Tavern that everyone passes on their way to the train station but very few have actually tried. Dark and quiet, this pub is not a typical Union hangout. The tables are banged up and one of the walls is exposed brick. However, what looks like a dive is home to the best burgers in Schenectady, and it makes a great place for a quick lunch.
Dinner. You have no excuse not to go out for dinner at least once between Feb. 24 and March 2, because it’s Schenectady’s annual Restaurant Week. When you can enjoy a three course meal at 26 of Schenectady’s finest restaurants for just $20.14!
My suggestions? I have a few…
Try Aperitivo Bistro. Normally too expensive for broke college students, this is the perfect opportunity to try some of their delicious food. This year’s menu includes marinated artichokes, baked potato soup, pan seared salmon and spinach and goat cheese pizza (which I can personally vouch for).
If you’d like to spend your $20.14 trying something a little more exotic, skip Bombers and try its nearby neighbor, Zen Asian Bistro. With a wide variety of delicious choices and featuring four courses, you certainly will not be disappointed.
First Date. Take advantage of Restaurant Week and bring your crush down to the Van Dyck! Valentine’s Day may be over, but the opportunity for romance certainly isn’t.
With low lighting and an intimate atmosphere, this is the perfect place to enjoy some mediterranean salmon or Stockade schnitzel, Lady and the Tramp style.
Hey, the Van Dyck worked for my boyfriend — I’m pretty confident it will work for you too!
Dessert. You’ve definitely heard of Villa Italia.
Union students salivate over their pastries, and the mere hope that they may accompany a lecture is enough to draw hoards of hungry students to any campus event.
Did you know it’s even better when you visit in person? You can pick up some pastries to go or sit in the quaint European-style dessert place to enjoy some of their homemade gelato.
Drinks. While their Restaurant Week menu looks fantastic, the best thing about the Bier Abbey is the variety of craft beers they offer.
Serving beer from no less than nine countries, it is no surprise that one Yelp reviewer said the Bier Abbey held the “BEST beer selection in the Capital Region.”
If you’re 21 or older, this is definitely the place to go if you’d rather try a few different types of fine beers, than chug the usual Friday night Keystone Light.
We spend four years of our lives in good ol’ Schenectady, where we’re given the opportunity to enjoy some of the finest dining in the Capital Region.
Skip The Cheesecake Factory and Chipotle, and indulge in the delicious local flavor.
Don’t forget to take advantage of Restaurant Week, now through March 2!