Side Door Cafe is now a bit of country in Guilderland

GUILDERLAND – For 65 years, the Side Door Café was the hometown friendly sports bar where people could relax and have fun. But like many others in the restaurant industry, the neighborhood joint closed during the pandemic, unable to support the business with tightened regulations and a shrinking workforce.

A year and a half after its closure, Side Door Café reopened its doors with a little reinvention: “Bringin ‘a little country to the café”.

“Because we’ve been around for 65 years… we’re not one of the new, modern-style bars they offer,” said owner David Audi, whose father Eugene Audi was the bar’s founder in 1957. “So we wanted to. do something different that is not the traditional bar of our region.

The idea came to Audi and its business partner, Brandy Karczewski, after observing the few country-themed bars in the capital region. They felt there was a market for more such bars and polled their longtime customers on social media to see if this was something they would be interested in.

Now, the walls of the Side Door Café are covered with Audi’s collection of cowboy hats, cowboy boots are a staple of waiter uniforms, and the couple search local farms for larger decorative pieces on. theme, such as cart wheels.

Line dancing and live music will also be more common at the bar, with plans for live shows every weekend. And in the spring, maybe a mechanical bull will make its debut.

However, the couple ensured that the bar was not “too country” and would retain a few fan-favorite items of the company: namely, the famous pizza and wings made with a secret family sauce recipe.

“It’s really a fine-tuned blend of making sure that all repeat customers still feel comfortable entering, and yet tapping into new customers,” said Karczewski. “We had a very successful opening night (Friday) and received excellent feedback.”

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