Man, you need a spreadsheet to keep track of South Broadway restaurant comings and goings. I was on that stretch of roadway this morning and noticed a sign announcing a new Japanese restaurant coming to the old Shanghai Grill/ Pacific Rim location on South Broadway. If I'm reading the funky font on the sign correctly, it's to be called "Duo Japanese cuisine and bar" and will apparently open just in time for track season the dead of winter.
You may recall that the Shanghai Grill moved to the former Doc's location over the summer and was rebadged as the "Pacific Grill", reportedly to eliminate confusion with the owner's Latham Shanghai Grill location. By the by, the South Broadway restaurant site has a long Asian themed history even well before the Pacific Rim Restaurant, and in fact Gideon Putnam opened his famed "Gideon's all you can eat woodchuck lo mein and sushi bar" in a log cabin at the very same site, circa 1809. It's true, I read it in the Saratogian.
Anywho, speaking of Asian restaurants, Friday night my fiance and I ate at the relatively new Phila Fusion, which was opened over the summer by the owners of the well-regarded Sushi Thai Garden right next door. I always liked Sushi Thai, and although I understood Phila Fusion was going to be different Asian cuisine (most notably Korean) than its established sister restaurant, I still wondered if that was too much of the same thing in roughly the same location, especially with Pacific Grill right around the corner. Well let me say we had a very enjoyable meal at Phila Fusion, and the Korean and other choices were notably different than the offerings at Sushi Thai. In my opinion, the two Phila Street restaurants both offer a better dining experience than the Pacific Grill - which I have had just ok experiences at. I understand that the four restaurants (I am including the new "Duo" in this) have their own regional focuses and so forth, but they still all fall under the "Asian" category, which means they will be at least somewhat competing with each other for the same guests. My question is: Can Saratoga Springs support four full service Asian themed restaurants, in addition to all the casual take-out places? Time will tell I guess.
Finally, going back to South Broadway, Mareesa Nicosia of the Saratogian is reporting that the Pizza House closed suddenly, and there is a handwritten sign on the door stating they were "Closed for Renovations". Most notably, there is a real estate for sale sign out front - although I can't find the listing yet on the Morrell Real Estate web site. I don't know for sure the details around the closing, but you know as well as I do that when a restaurant hastily closes "for renovations" or other similar reasons, and then posts a for sale sign out front, it is often really a financial decision due to insufficient income to at least pay the bills. Although I only ate at the Pizza House once and found the food forgettable, I appreciated the fact that it was a place that a family could go to for a quick, casual, and inexpensive dinner in a kid friendly setting. Entrees were in the $10 range - making it an alternative to Friendly's I guess. I do like stopping at the adjacent Alexandra's Ice Cream while it is open during the summer months, which is owned by the same family, and I believe it offers one of the better ice cream values in town. Assuming this closing is permanent, it's an unfortunate reality that the Pizza House is unlikely to be the only restaurant closing before next summer. Let's just hope the number is lower rather than higher.