By Jill Nagy
Eddie F’s New England Seafood, a Saratoga Springs mainstay, opened a second restaurant, in Clifton Park on Feb. 1.
The new outlet, at 1742 Route 9, is three times the size of the Saratoga restaurant and more of a conventional sit-down restaurant. The Saratoga restaurant, at 119 Clinton St. remains open.
In Saratoga, Eddie F’s specializes in what owner Eddie Fazzone calls “summer food.” In fact, in the past, he has closed during December and January.
Specialties at his restaurants include lobster rolls, fried fish, clams and similar seafood with most customers buying their food to take out. Orders can also be placed online at eddiefs.com. He offers gluten-free fried seafood, coated in corn flour. The regular fried items are lightly floured with no bread crumbs, he said. Most dishes come with a choice of onion rings or French fries.
During the Saratoga Race Course summer season in July and August, Fazzone operates a walk-up stand at the track.
In Clifton Park, he anticipates a somewhat older crowd, with a little less tolerance for fried foods. He said he expects more of a call for blackened and grilled seafood as well as chowders, salads, sandwiches, and burgers, in short, more of a conventional restaurant menu.
The new restaurant can seat 90, compared to about 35 in Saratoga Springs. In warmer weather, he will add outdoor picnic tables. There are about 18 employees, including four or five chefs, most of them new.
While the staff learns the ropes, Fazzone expects to spend most of his time in Clifton Park, overseeing the kitchen and doing much of the cooking.
“I’m in the kitchen a lot,” he said.
Eventually, he expects to divide his time about evenly between the two sites. Even now, he said, he starts his day in Saratoga, at 5 or 6 a.m.
The owner anticipates more of a year-round operation in Clifton Park than in Saratoga. He finds Saratoga Spring becoming increasingly seasonal with a lot of dark restaurants and shops on Monday evenings. He will be open on Mondays, in both locations, but closed on Sundays, at least for now. He will expand service to Sundays in the summer, if he can find enough qualified staff, he said.
On Tuesday, May 2, Eddie F’s in Clifton Park will host its first “cruise in,” welcoming classic cars and their drivers to assemble in the restaurant’s large parking lot. Sponsored by the Adirondack Mustang Club, the cruise-in was a regular feature of the Harbor House, Eddie F’s predecessor in the same space.
The gatherings will take place every Tuesday, beginning at 5 p.m., until September 26.
So far, Fazzone finds things pretty busy, especially during Fridays in Lent. There are not many places in either Saratoga or Clifton Park to get fish fry, especially for take-out, he said. His fish is sourced fresh from New England, mainly Massachusetts, but the lobsters come from Maine.
A native of Schenectady, Fazzone has been in the restaurant business “on and off” for nearly 30 years. He has owned or worked at restaurants in Schenectady, Rotterdam, and elsewhere in upstate New York, and in Florida. His first New England seafood venture was a Florida restaurant called Bit of Boston. He brought the concept to Saratoga Springs in 2016.
The restaurants are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed on Sunday. The telephone number is 518 280-6372. People can study the menu, with pictures, and order online at eddiefs.com.