By Christine Graf
Linnaea DiNallo’s foray into the restaurant business began in 2012 after she left her career as a full-time graphic designer. During the spring of that year, she opened the Iron Roost, a restaurant at 36 Front St. in Ballston Spa.
On. Dec. 4, the 39-year-old opened her second business, Two Birds Marketplace, at 32 Front St., next door to the Iron Roost.
Two Birds is an extension of the Iron Roost and offers a line of baked goods, including fresh-baked breads, muffins, scones, and cookies. All bakery items are made from scratch, and gluten free and vegan options are available.
Pies can be special ordered, and plans are underway to offer custom cakes. Custom bakery orders can be placed online through the store’s web site.
In addition to offering baked goods, Two Birds features a rotating selection of prepared foods in its “grab and go” cooler. DiNallo said at any given time, the cooler is stocked with grain salads, green salads, parfaits, and overnight oats. Buddha bowls—deconstructed salads that contain vegetables, whole grains, plant proteins, and grains—are also a popular cooler item at Two Birds.
In the near future, a variety of fresh wraps will be available, she said.
“Nothing can be ordered out of the kitchen in terms of a salad or a sandwich at the moment,” said DiNallo. Instead, customers can select from the wide variety of prepared foods and baked goods and enjoy them in what DiNallo described as a “full café setting.”
Two Birds also offers drink options including coffee, house-made chia, and made-to-order smoothies. Golden milk, a drink made with milk and a blend of spices, is also made in-house.
Customers can also purchase essential grocery items. Milk, eggs, cheese, pasta, and other pantry staples are available. The store has a bulk food section which includes items such as flour, sugar, oats, and nuts. Produce and personal care items are also available.
Although Two Birds Marketplace is a new venture for DiNallo, the idea itself is not. Her original plan for the Iron Roost included a marketplace, but the space at 36 Front St. was not large enough to accommodate both a restaurant and a small marketplace. It wasn’t until 32 Front St., a former hair salon, became available that she decided to move forward with her idea of opening a marketplace.
DiNallo had a full commercial kitchen installed in the space and hired contractors to install tile and do plumbing and electrical work. Other than that, she did most of the renovation work herself. She bought power tools, taught herself how to use them and got to work.
“I actually did a lot of work on the front end myself which was really amazing. I really enjoyed it. It helped me step out of my comfort zone and dig my heels in,” she said. “I built a lot of the furniture that’s here. I designed the whole front and back of the house. I assembled the tables and shelving units. I built the wall that divides the front and back of the house.”
DiNallo said she could not have opened Two Birds without the help of her dedicated team of employees including chef Frank DaLuisio. He oversees food preparation and menu development at both the Iron Roost and Two Birds Marketplace.
DiNallo’s team now includes between 15-20 employees at the Iron Roost and eight at Two Birds Marketplace.
“Hiring good people has really taken us to this level. We make sure that our folks understand that this is a customer service business. We set our own bar and we are here to take care of people. We want to make you feel good and feel special.”
Two Birds Marketplace is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
For more information, visit www.twobirdsmarketplace.com or call (518) 309-4167.