Naughter’s in Troy, a hip spot for breakfast and late-night bargains

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Picture this: the morning sun hits a vintage vinyl banquette perfectly, its green sequins shimmering under the front glass. Grab up to 11 of your best friends and fill the booth for breakfast at 8 a.m. or late-night snacks at 2 a.m. It was Naughter’s, named after owner John Naughter, a veteran of Troy restaurants including The Shop and Burrito Burrito, Wizard Albany and its pandemic pop-up, Industry Eggplant, that he ran out of Burrito Burrito.

Addressing a late-night crowd at Industry Eggplant, Naughter offered a vegan menu and spawned a new standard: the Industry Eggplant sandwich, featuring fried eggplant, cherry peppers, roasted red peppers, iceberg lettuce and a hash brown piled on a bun with a smear of pesto mayonnaise. If that didn’t hit after midnight, followed by a burnt half of grapefruit, when your only options were pizza or Bob’s Diner, you just hadn’t figured out how to live.

But now the sandwich is back, in its own all-day breakfast. This green sequin banquette sets the tone with the vintage artwork on the walls, but if that’s the question, the massive full-length hood is the rest of the answer. Fire engine red dining stools hug the open kitchen counter, the air punctuated by telltale crackles and other sounds from those breakfasts. I watch the big cherry peppers being sliced, the pickle brine spread in the sun on the cutting boards and I listen to the hash browns hitting the fizzy oil.

A bottomless cup of coffee is pushed across the counter toward me. It’s a robust dark roast, a custom blend for Naughter’s by Gipfel Coffee Co. of Averill Park, itself an off-the-beaten-track reader. The walls are green and pink with only a sliver of the old blood red left over from the last occupant. (The space previously housed Minar Indian Cusine and, before that, B-rad’s Bistro and Catering). and, one day, an acoustic band might play.

In life, some recipes work. And this one, born of the pandemic and only a month old but already accomplished, is particularly poignant. Naughter has assembled a dream team on the line. Instead of short-lived cooks, Naughter’s boasts chefs Aaron Meda and Ryan Charbonneau, who alternated chef and sous-chef roles at restaurants Albany Post on Lark and Dove & Deer. Naughter worked with Charbonneau at the Post and said of that experience, “I just knew this guy had to come out of a closed kitchen.” The two say working together is effortless. Meda joined them on the trip to extract the green bench seat from a Westchester basement, where it was a built-in with shag rug and bar. Made in the Bronx in the 1950s or 1960s, who can imagine the stories it could tell?

Charbonneau steps out from behind the counter to deliver the perfect French omelet in pale yellow folds, its just-farm-shy egg middle, just as celebrity chef Jacques Pépin would demand. Since Sonder in Hudson put the French omelette on the menu, before moving to Kingston, I haven’t tasted a better one, with a side of dark sautéed house fries, a little arugula and a wedge of lemon for a burst of vitamin C.

The late-night crowd may have eaten every last stick from the French toast to the bread pudding – and who’s to blame them – but we catch sides of cracked, ridged bacon and homemade breakfast sausages by Meda , which aspires to bring bread baking in-house when cash flow permits.

If it’s Naughter on the pans that draws the late-night crowd, its crew attracts early risers. I’m not the only one tearing down an industry eggplant at 9 a.m. – call it a hangover fix, a breakfast of champions, or fuel for the day ahead – but I’m the 1 % who orders vegetarian French onion soup. The onions are soft, sweated to golden silk and topped with thick, melted cheese.

Many will know that the Philly pork sandwich with broccoli, turnip and garlic mayonnaise is a revival from The Shop, and chopped cheese is a staple of borough bodegas, oozing cheese and shaved meat. shaggy, but less common in upstate. Add fries to any plate, if desired. They also have a burger. But my heart is hooked by a pickled egg sandwich with cut crusts (just like my mom’s) that liberally uses mayonnaise, diced onions, and hardened pickled eggs in brine that you eat straight from a jar. Or order at a dive bar.

Something sweet? Get the hot rolls: classic pancakes, all moist and lightly salted, served hot in a pan with butter and maple syrup. It’s probably time to fill your bottomless cup.


Naughter’s is as family-friendly and old-fashioned as any all-day breakfast cafe, but it’s the low prices and convenience that make it the place. Naughter is sensitive to the need for a late-night joint for college students and hungry bar crowds at closing time. He is also immersed in the restaurant industry scene, knowing that staff arrive late or have days off at the start of the week. He is confident to stay open as late as necessary, having tested this market niche during the pandemic.

I saw the same people there at midnight and back at 8am, so for your belt it could be Trojan dinner or Trojan horse. There’s one more thing: a double-cassette boom box stacked with tapes playing Tears for Fears, Phil Collins and Jethro Tull. Do you have tapes at home? Here they will find a new home.

Naughter hopes to add beer and wine down the road. For now, head for breakfast or late at night, when the after-hours crowd happily sips coffee and soda, or picks up pre-ordered munchies for takeout.

Naughty’s

Address: 1809 Fifth Avenue, Troy
Hours: Thursday from 8 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday from 8 a.m. to midnight, closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Online order available for pickup.
Prices: $2 to $12.
Information: 518-530-3200 and naughters.com


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