The restaurant has a lot of names and a lot of owners but it’s the perfect location before a show at the MVP Arena and a few months ago, they announced a new concept.
First things first, the elephant in the room, this is the first time I’ve written about the “MVP Arena” as it is currently named. I grew up in the Knickerbocker Arena age, through the Pepsi Arena, now through the Times Union Center and I’m excited what changes this name will bring.
Speaking of name changes, the restaurant next door (technically attached) to the arena has been through a few name changes of its own. It’s been Wolf’s 1-11 and the Johnny Rockets Handcrafted Draft House & Sports Bar after that, then Backstage Bar – and that’s only been its recent names. Now, the Albany Stadium Restaurant & Bar is in place for the upcoming MVP Arena season.
The Albany Stadium Restaurant & Bar is planning for its grand opening week (February 28- March 4) with specials and features but officially had a soft opening back in January.
The head chef, according to the Times Union, is Jennifer Hewes, who recently ran the kitchen at The Point in Albany until the beginning of the pandemic as well as Cafe Madison and Cafe Capriccio. The owners James Anilowski and Wendi Enright are partners in Tech Forward who also have their headquarters at the arena. Working in the arena, they saw that space as being underutilized. For more information on the owners, you can read it on their Facebook page.
They said to Capitalize Albany, “We are committed to being open weekdays for lunch and dinner, because just being open for events doesn’t do a lot to help develop South Pearl Street,” Enright said. “We are vested in downtown in general, and this facility in particular. We want to do what we can to strengthen the fabric of this block.”
You can find the menu on their Facebook page, they’re currently taking suggestions from the month or so that they’ve been open and have changed it a few times to get the perfect mix. Currently, they offer appetizers like wings, hummus, calamari, and a cheeseboard. For the main courses, they have a few options for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, salads, NY style sandwiches, mac & cheese entries, and desserts.