Vermont creperie opens first New York location in downtown Albany
ALBANY, NY: A mission-driven eatery focused on serving local food was welcomed to downtown Albany with a ribbon cutting ceremony today, March 10, 2022. Joining CEO and Co-founder Benjy Adler and Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) Executive Director Georgette Steffens in celebrating The Skinny Pancake at its 1 Steuben Street location were Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Albany County Senior Policy Analyst Lucas Rogers, Redburn Development Partners Principal Jeffrey Buell, and Capital Region Chamber President & CEO Mark Eagan.
The opening of the downtown Albany location, the company’s first in New York, comes nearly 20 years after The Skinny Pancake started as a food truck that brothers Benjy and Jonny Adler constructed themselves. Opening inside the Kenmore Building, the catalyst for the Downtown location came following their participation in a local event in 2019, when Eagan recognized a natural pairing between the Vermont-based creperie and what Redburn Development envisioned for the historic Downtown property.
With the owners sold on both the vision Buell shared for the 3,200-square-foot space and the building’s development into a commercial and residential hub, the lease was signed, and construction began to build a restaurant where, Adler says, people would walk in and instantly feel comfortable. As a result of all the work, The Skinny Pancake customers being greeted by a dining area comprised of both tables and chairs along the walls and a lounge area in the center of the room. Accenting the space are paintings by local artists, a chandelier made from a nearly 100-year-old wagon wheel, and a cast iron stove emblazoned with “Happy Thought” from a Vermont farmhouse that doubles as a coffee bar.
Crepes, salads, and burgers including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options are served at The Skinny Pancake, with the All Day Burrito and Everything But The Bagel Crepe launching with the opening of the new location. Favorite menu items for Downtown customers, Adler says, are the Johnny Crepe (maple BBQ pulled pork, maple BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, and Cabot cheddar in a cornmeal crepe) and The Cheesy Chicken Pesto (roasted chicken, house-made pesto, caramelized onions, VT mozzarella and Cabot cheddar). Customers can pair their meals with coffee, teas, sodas, beer, wine, and cocktails.
The Skinny Pancake’s expansion was about more than growing their footprint to include both the Green Mountain and Empire States. In Vermont, Adler says, the local food movement is increasingly becoming the standard and that to further their cause, The Skinny Pancake would need to expand outside the state to larger population centers. Customers at the Downtown location are tasting the flavors of local vendors that include Highland Hollow Farm, Halo Wholesale, Indian Ladder Farm, Stacks Espresso Bar, Yesfolk Tonics, and Wild Hill Maple.
Their mission to build a safer, healthier, and more delicious foodshed while working with communities in ways that go beyond a transactional relationship generally associated with the restaurant industry has taken shape in many forms. The Skinny Pancake is committed to donating 1 percent of their revenue to organizations that directly benefit the local foodshed. On top of what’s baked into the company’s DNA, as a response to COVID-19 the Adlers launched ShiftMeals to help feed the many unemployed members of the community; since the program began it has grown to include, among other things, community collective garden initiatives.
The Skinny Pancake CEO and Co-founder Benjy Adler said: “At The Skinny Pancake we serve more than food, we serve a purpose, and our customers are the reason we can fulfill it. We fell in love with the Capital Region long ago and are overjoyed at the great response we’ve had since opening. It’s been amazing to experience people trying their first crepes or revisiting a memory from a visit to our Burlington location, and we are grateful to Redburn Development, our team, and our customers who have welcomed us so warmly into this neighborhood. Every day, you all show us how right we were in joining Downtown, and we look forward to many more years of serving you meaningful meals.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said: “I want to congratulate Benjy Adler on opening the first Skinny Pancake location in New York right in downtown Albany. This cozy neighborhood eatery with a mission to give back to the community is the perfect addition to Downtown. The owners are committed to donating a portion of their revenue to organizations that directly benefit the local foodshed, and during COVID they launched ShiftMeals to help feed the many unemployed members of the community. They offer a variety of delicious food with something for everyone and a community centric mindset that is sure to make the Skinny Pancake a downtown Albany favorite in no time.”
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said: “The Skinny Pancake is the latest in a long line of new additions to the downtown Albany business community, though this Vermont-based creperie is one of a kind. As more local residents return to their offices after a long period of working from home, having another place to get lunch is welcome news. The Skinny Pancake and its owners have established themselves as a beloved place for delicious, environmentally conscious and locally-sourced food across the border, and having Albany County be the home of their first location in New York State is certainly a point of pride for us.”
Capital Region Chamber CEO and President Mark Eagan said: “From their delicious meals, to their fun and funky atmosphere, to their commitment to using local suppliers when possible, we are so pleased to welcome The Skinny Pancake to the Capital Region. They are the perfect fit for Redburn’s redevelopment of the Kenmore in downtown Albany. We are hopeful that this will the first of several area locations that will open in the years to come.”
Redburn Development Partners Principal Jeffrey Buell said: “The Kenmore building is almost 200,000 sq. ft in total size. The most important spaces in this huge volume are not the 93 apartments, but the 10,000 sq. ft. that make up our street front retail spaces. These retailers, including the Skinny Pancake, enliven the streetscape and help us move towards our goal of creating an 18-hour downtown in Albany. We are overjoyed to have them in our neighborhood.”
Downtown Albany BID Executive Director Georgette Steffens said: "Restaurants are a fundamental social glue and key to urban transformation, and at a time when the community is returning to collective gatherings and experiences, the BID is thrilled to welcome The Skinny Pancake to our District. It is always inspiring when business owners understand the shared vision for our neighborhood, and invest their passion, time, and funds to bring their project to life here in our Capital City. Congratulations to Benjy and the entire team at The Skinny Pancake on your first New York location.”
The Skinny Pancake, located at 1 Steuben Street, is currently open Wednesday-Saturday 8:00 AM-8:00 PM and Sunday 8:00 AM-3:00 PM. Reservations are encouraged but not required, delivery is available via GrubHub. For more information, visit skinnypancake.com/locations/albany or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/SkinnyPancakeAlbany and Instagram at instagram.com/skinnypancake.