BALLSTON SPA – The Ballston Spa Education Foundation held its annual fundraiser this month, giving attendees a chance to sample food from some of the area’s most popular eateries.
Ballston Spa Education Foundation Raises Funds, Receives Donations
BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa Education Foundation’s (BSEF) “A Taste of Ballston Spa” raised over $4,000 for educational enrichment and grants given to teachers and students in the Ballston Spa School District. [Read more…]
BY KEVIN J. ROGERS
When Chris Fignar and Matt Hall heard Kathleen Hudson might be interested in selling her Front St. Deli, they jumped at the opportunity.
“We’re both from Saratoga,” Fignar said, “but we always thought we’d just disappear if we opened up there. Here we’re part of the community.” Now, five and a half years later, they have just completed a major interior renovation.
“We did the back of the restaurant first, back when we first opened,” Fignar said. “We needed to get going and get some money coming in.”
But over time it became increasingly clear to the duo the front of the house needed work, too.
“We always wanted to do it but we needed to get to the point where we could. We decided to just close for a week and just get it all done. There were a lot of 18 and 19 hour days.”
The result has been a complete overhaul.
“We have new tables, new chairs, new counter tops, a soda fountain,” Fignar said. “We dropped the ceilings and put ceiling fans in, and exposed the brick wall, which is really nice.”
The partners also installed tracks along the wall for hanging art created by local artists. “We just wanted to say thanks for letting us be part of the community,” he said. “People have really treated us awesome right from the beginning.”
The plan is to rotate the art every couple months.
With the new look also came a new emphasis.
“We’re working hard to build our breakfast brand,” Fignar said. “So when we had the chance to do it [with the renovation] we added gourmet coffees to our menu.”
Breakfast sandwiches and bagels are available all day in addition to the regular menu. Hall and Fignar are also looking to build the catering side of the business.
“It’s something we’ve been doing all along, but now we’re finding more demand,” Fignar said. “We already deliver, but now we’re getting more big orders for delivery from that part of our menu,” including recent forays to Clifton Park and GLOBALFOUNDRIES.
But Fignar made it clear their standards remain the same despite the ambitious growth strategy.
“We left the kitchen open when we did the renovation,” he said, “so people can see what’s going on back there. We want them to know how their food is being made and who’s doing it.”
Front St. makes all their soups from scratch and roasts their deli meats on premises. They are also committed to buying fresh ingredients from local farmers and suppliers whenever possible.
According to the National Restaurant Association, Hall and Fignar are heading in the right direction. The trade group emphasizes four key areas, including sustainability and social responsibility, profitability and entrepreneurship, food and healthy living, and jobs and careers. And of the eight fastest-growing small restaurant chains, five are either sandwich or pizza shops. Front St. is both.
“We added a lot of new menu items, like hash browns and a breakfast burrito, and four new gourmet pizzas and five new hot sandwiches,” Fibnar said There are also additions to the appetizers, vegetarian selections, and garden salads.
Fignar credits local partners in helping Hall and him to renovate the space so quickly. Champagne & Son Building and Remodeling did the interior work, and Mike Sheft of Sheft Electric LLC did the wiring. Chris Cameron of North Country Colorworks painted, and Brian Curran of Unusual Conclusions did the copper flashing and menu board.
“We wanted the place to be warmer, more inviting,” Fignar said, “a place where you could bring your family. I think it came out great.”
Front St. Deli is located at 39 Front St. in Ballston Spa. Business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For information or orders call 518-884-0456, or visit their Web site at www.thefsdeli.com or on Facebook as Front St Deli.