Food at ALB?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Mystic River Dragon, Oct 15, 2019.

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  1. Oct 15, 2019 #1

    Mystic River Dragon

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    The last time I was at ALB, there was a nice coffee shop where you could get delicious sandwiches, salads, and cake already prepared. According to Yelp, it has closed.

    I may be going through ALB soon and am curious as to whether this is true. Has anyone been there recently and know whether the place is still there or not? Thanks.....:)
     
  2. Oct 15, 2019 #2

    oregon pioneer

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    Haven't been through there recently (year ago last Feb, and it was open), but I would also like to know if it's still there...
    I will be going through ALB again.
     
  3. Oct 15, 2019 #3

    pennyk

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    I seem to recall it being open in July on my way to Niagara Falls. I "ran" into the station to use a "real" restroom and was not really interested in food.
     
  4. Oct 15, 2019 #4

    Rasputin

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    I hope this rumor is not true (and I hope we get some confirmation soon that it is not true!)

    This coffee shop has always been a great place and it would be scary to lose it in these days of flex dining.
     
  5. Oct 15, 2019 #5

    Mystic River Dragon

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    I think (and hope!) I might have been mistaken--I just looked it up on Yelp again, and I think the one that closed is a coffee shop with the same name but somewhere else in Albany--it's a different address from the Albany train station.

    If I get up there this fall I will check and let you know--they had the best cake slices, like out of the 1950s with real food ingredients--a wonderful antidote to flexible dining!:)

    Sorry for the false alarm, but I panicked when I thought I saw my cake slices disappearing!:oops::)
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  6. Oct 15, 2019 #6

    tim49424

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    I wish I’d have known about this place a couple of years ago when I was in Albany on my to and from Rutland VT. Admittedly I didn’t really pay much attention to what was there. I just bought a few snacks at the newsstand. A good sandwich and a piece of cake would’ve been much better than a couple of bags of combos. LOL
     
  7. Oct 16, 2019 #7

    JC_620

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    New to the forums. A word on this flex dining and food locations in Albany: Could not one get off either from #449, or #49 if they were not happy with the meal options and go down the street to June's or Cugino's Pizzeria and just pick something up there...bring it back on the train and problem solved?

    Planning on taking #449 from Boston, to #421 into Maricopa to visit familt end of next month. After reading these reviews in another thread about this new food service, I am starting to rethink my food options...1600mg of sodium? Pass. At 40, I cannot eat what i ate at 25 any longer.
     
  8. Oct 16, 2019 #8

    Anderson

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    I'm actually wondering about the logistics of DoorDash in some cases like this. An app that offers delivery to a train station (provided at least a ten-minute scheduled stop) for a modest surcharge for the driver(s) if they have to wait would make for an interesting mess for Amtrak to confront (pax rushing out into the station, getting their food, and rushing back on board). Ditto remote-order-and-pickup at, say, WAS.
     
  9. Oct 16, 2019 #9

    Qapla

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    Maybe someone should start a business that specifically targets LD trains for food delivery.
     
  10. Oct 16, 2019 #10

    bms

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    The coffee shop in Albany–Rensselaer Station is still doing good business. I ate there twice last month.

    The length of the stop depends on how they are doing on time. #48 is scheduled to stop for an hour and 14 minutes, but that includes a lot of padding. If #48 is late getting into Albany, they can separate the train and leave in more like half an hour. Going west, #49 is scheduled to stop for 45 minutes, but that can get extended if they have to wait for #449 to arrive from Boston before combining the train.

    When they plan a shorter stop, some conductors will discourage passengers from going into the station. I always go into the station anyway as there isn't any chance they can separate/join the train before I can get back, but be aware there is a lot of walking involved. Be sure to get back on the right train as there is often an Empire Service train stopped there too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
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  11. Oct 16, 2019 #11

    Rasputin

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    Thanks for your reply and for the good news. Really had me worried. This is a great place - good supply of sandwiches, yogurt, salads, drinks and snacks, and it has always been well patronized by passengers and train crews. And from my observation, the people there are very nice. In these days of flex dining it will be a great place to stock up and it is nice to be able to purchase supplies in the station where you can hear the train announcements.

    On my last visit, I bought some locally bottled lemonade there which was very good and very refreshing.
     
  12. Oct 16, 2019 #12

    PVD

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    In the grand scheme of things, the busy NYP-ALB and ALB-NYP trains that have no food service are probably a much greater source of customers than the LSL passengers.
     
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  13. Oct 16, 2019 #13

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Wonderful--thank you so much!:) Sorry again to have been the bearer of a bad false rumor, but all I saw was "Yelp says this is closed" in huge letters above what I was looking at, without realizing it was somewhere completely different they were referring to.
     
  14. Oct 17, 2019 #14

    JC_620

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    You said that there is a lot of walking involved? Interesting. Looks like on Google Maps in the satellite view looking down from overhead that the tracks are well close enough to the station that a large amount of walking would not be evident - hence the reason for my question. Of course, if one were to think about walking all the way downtown (to grab some food and not utilizing a taxi or UBER for such a thing) and back to the Station again, then yes, that certainly would be a lot of walking in a short amount of time.

    EDIT: Do we have a name for this coffee shop that is located inside Albany station? If #48/#49, and/or #448/#449 are running on time, this would be a perfect opportunity to forego the "flex" dining on board, and try the coffee shop.
     
  15. Oct 17, 2019 #15

    Rasputin

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    I don't regard the walk from the platform to the coffee shop to be very long. You just go up the stairs or elevator (I think there is also an escalator but I can't recall for sure.) You enter the main part of the station and the coffee shop is at the far end but since the station isn't that big it is not that far. I would guess that it takes me about 3 minutes to go from the train to the coffee shop.

    There is usually plenty of time to go to the coffee shop to or from 48/49 or their Boston counterparts.

    Be aware that sometimes there is a line but it moves along pretty fast If you are going to the coffee shop, I find that it is best to do so immediately upon arrival instead of dawdling about your train and then deciding to go to the coffee shop at the last minute. I find the announcements at Albany to be pretty clear about train departures.

    I am not sure about the coffee shop hours but I have been on 48/448 when we have been so late that we arrived in Albany after the coffee shop had closed for the day. That was disappointing indeed.

    This coffee shop offers a great variety of snacks, sandwiches, salads, drinks, etc. I could happily live there for a long time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  16. Oct 17, 2019 #16

    Mystic River Dragon

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    The coffee shop is right by the front doors of the station. It's not a long walk from the trains, but there are a lot of stairs up from the platform. You will definitely earn your slice of cake by walking up and back down them!:)

    (I am going through there soon on a leaf-peeping trip up north so will report what I find in a day or two.)
     
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  17. Oct 17, 2019 #17

    PVD

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    If you don't like the stairs, there is an elevator, and if I recall, escalators..... I don't go upstairs on an Empire Service run, but on the LSL I usually will, especially if it's going to be a long hold...
     
  18. Oct 17, 2019 #18

    Rasputin

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    The name of the coffee shop is the Grind & Brew Café, 525 East Street, Rensselaer, New York, tel. (518) 463-8770.
     
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  19. Oct 19, 2019 #19

    Mystic River Dragon

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    I was at ALB yesterday and stopped there. It is still the same, going strong, with the same great food and lovely people running it.:)

    I got a turkey sandwich on wheat and a lovely slice of cake (yellow cake with vanilla/coconut icing) that could have come out of a Betty Crocker cookbook from the 1950s--real ingredients and absolutely delicious!

    They also had soup up at the counter. More, I'm sure, that you can order from there. Plus salads in the takeout case near the sandwiches and cake.

    Instead of closing or being in trouble, they look like they are thriving, and I think the flexible dining on the LSL will bring them many more customers getting dinner there to take back on the train!:)
     
  20. Oct 19, 2019 #20

    Rasputin

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    At the coffee shop, I recommend Saranac Sparkling Lemonade. Tasty and refreshing - just what a person needs to continue their trip on the Lake Shore.
     
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  21. Oct 20, 2019 #21

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Where is the lemonade? I will look for it next time I go through....thanks.

    I was there again yesterday on my way to the next part of my trip, and I went to get the delicious cake, and there were no more slices left--did you guys make a run on it?:D

    I had the cheesecake instead, and that, too, was delicious.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  22. Oct 20, 2019 #22

    Rasputin

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    As I recall, the lemonade was just in with other beverages for sale. I would suspect that the coffee shop may sell other flavors of the Saranac soft drinks and they would probably be very good as well.

    Thanks for the tips on the turkey sandwich, cake and cheesecake.

    I think the next time I travel through Albany on 448/449 I will take a close look at the salads for sale there. A medium size salad from the coffee shop might be just the thing to supplement the tiny flex salad offered in the sleeper lounge (a/k/a the picnic car).

    Based on my occasional stops there, I have found the staff at the coffee shop to be helpful and pleasant, even when they are dealing with a line of 10-15 customers. They do not seem to regard their customers as a nuisance.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  23. Oct 20, 2019 #23

    Mystic River Dragon

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    You're very welcome! The salads are good, too.:)
     
  24. Oct 20, 2019 #24

    MARC Rider

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    Too bad they don't have a place like that in Baltimore, or even Washington.
     
  25. Oct 22, 2019 #25

    JC_620

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    Wonderful information. All we need now is a menu/ It would be rather amusing if a bunch of passengers decided to try out the coffee shop rather than the flex dining on the LSL :D:D
     
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