of the Club
Geyser Road (Country Club Plaza), Ballston Spa, 584-2340.
Serving 8 AM-9 PM Mon-Sat, 8 AM-7 PM Sun. AE, D, MC, V.
sandwiches, wraps, gourmet coffee
price range: $5 (quiche) to $13 (Ultimate Jitter, a
know this business is supposed to be about turning tables
and making money,” says Gina Prince, “but I don’t care if
someone comes in here and just buys a cup of coffee and sits
for four hours reading or using a computer. We want to be
a friendly place.”
The place in question is tucked into a strip mall on Geyser
Road, on the western edge of Ballston Spa. Follow the road
a few miles east and it puts you at one of the entrances to
the Saratoga Performing Arts Center—which is how we found
the place. It sits along the back way to SPAC from my house.
With Saratoga’s dining options in something of an uproar this
time of year, it’s a relief to find a place that’s both accommodating
and inexpensive, offering an array of light-fare dishes that
suit the summer weather well. Not that I’d label the item
I chose, a chicken quesadilla ($10) as especially light, but
it became mine by default after my wife changed her mind in
the midst of ordering, opting instead for a portobello wrap
($8). There’s a protocol to dining out with me, one I thought
was long-established in my own family, for crying out loud:
Everybody gets something different; we try to cover as varied
a panoply of items as possible; and you don’t change you
I wouldn’t complain so much, except that as soon as the food
was served and my fat-content-tallying daughter got a look
at the cheese oozing from the sides of my sandwich, I was
hurled a glower of such concentrated disapproval that my appetite
put on its hat and left the room. The fact that I finished
the dish—no doggie bag for me!—was an act of rebellion. It
didn’t hurt that it was also delicious, served with salsa
and sour cream and, at my request, a little bit of hot sauce.
So clublike is the atmosphere at Jitters that you might think
you’ve stepped into someone else’s house, which of course
is the strategy here. Except that you’re an invited guest.
We visited on a recent Wednesday, which is open-mic night,
so part of that clubbiness was the familiarity with one another
of the performing regulars.
Jitters Café began as a seasonal Lake George stop, but Prince
decided after three seasons that she wanted to run a year-round
place. It took her two years to find the present location,
which opened in 2006. “I’ve been around the restaurant business
all my life,” she says, crediting three restaurant-owning
uncles with instilling in her what can only be described as
an addiction, one that infects all successful restaurateurs.
also love music,” she says, “so I wanted to have a place that
combined those interests.” Also integral to her approach is
an emphasis on local, in terms of music and raw ingredients,
and scratch cooking. “All of the recipes are mine. And I make
everything I can from scratch—hummus, tabouli, quiche, the
salads, the soup.” She blends her own tea, so look for a good
variety there, and her daughter Toviah makes the desserts
that are featured in a too-close-for-dietary-comfort display
And there’s coffee. It comes in all the popular permutations,
with a large latte setting you back $4.25. Alongside tea ($2.25
for a small pot) are chai ($3-$4), hot cocoa ($1.75-$2.75)
and mulled cider ($1.55-$2.15). Wicked Good Smoothies—that’s
how Prince describes them, and who am I to dispute?—are $4
and cover the fruit spectrum.
Susan’s portobello wrap sported a secondary wrapping of spinach
within; within that were the sliced mushrooms, red peppers,
sprouts and other veggies commingling in a pleasant proportion.
She chose slaw as a side dish, and it’s a colorful and tasty
red cabbage-based mix.
I don’t think hash-brown potatoes (here as the crust on a
spinach quiche) qualify for low-fat consideration, but my
daughter must have made peace with the diet gods, for she
cheerfully consumed half of the serving and saved the other
for the next day’s lunch. The filling is classic, again with
spinach as the chosen guest star. Quiche alone is $5; with
a serving of the soup of the day, which was our approach,
it runs $7.25. The soup was carrot and ginger, and you actually
could taste the latter ingredient, which was nice. Not too
think, not very creamy, and taking its admirable flavors from
the ingredients themselves, it also spoke of summer.
Among the many available salads are Caesar ($7), with which
I started, and which proved pleasant but unspectacular (add
chicken and it’s $9); garden salad ($5.50/$7.50), chef ($9),
spinach ($8.50), Greek ($8.75), Oriental chicken ($8) and
tabouli ($6). An egg or tuna salad platter will run you $9;
a platter of tabouli and hummus with strawberries and grapes
is dubbed the Tree Hugger and is $8.
Breakfast items include bagels and Belgian waffles, and you
can even order s’mores ($7 for two people) and fondues ($9)
from this fanciful menu.
Get to open-mic night early to sign up for a slot—we saw it
fill quickly. To check out the music situation for a given
weekend, consult the restaurant’s Facebook page (Jitters Café).
I’m amazed we hadn’t found this restaurant during any of our
many previous Saratoga trips, but I know we’ll be stopping
there again during our next one.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
Day Nursery’s 11th
annual fundraising event, “A Little Bit of Jazz
& More,” will take place from 5:30 to 8 today
(Thursday, April 29) in the Fenimore Gallery at
Proctors Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady).
The “more” part of the proceedings includes a
cornucopia of food, including a carving station
with turkey breast and roast beef, a pasta station,
an hors d’oeuvres display and, if you don’t want
to fetch your food, circulating trays with even
more hors d’oeuvres, including sesame chicken,
a Mediterranean artichoke tart, shrimp Wellington,
spanakopita and more. There will be complimentary
beer and wine and Chocolates by Lindt. The jazz
part is a performance by Colleen Pratt and Friends.
The event includes a benefit drawing with a choice
of a $500 gift card at either Town TV or Empress
Travel, and gift baskets sponsored by the Schenectady
Day Nursery Board of Directors. Reservations are
$50 per person or $100 for honorary committee
status, and may be made by calling Jim Kalohn
at 894-6305. . . . Remember to pass your scraps