Bootleggers on Broadway – Troy, NY

I’ll try anything once, most things twice. If it’s good, I’ll go back a third time. If it’s great, I’ll go everyday or every week.

A couple of restaurants have opened in Troy, specifically on Broadway, within the last couple of months. Bootleggers on Broadway, one of these places, was recommended to me as a decent stop for pub-style fare. Bootleggers opened in mid-June of this year. It resides at 200 Broadway, adjacent to Subway and caddy corner from Illium Cafe. With a name as provocative as “Bootleggers,” why wouldn’t I want to try this place?

I visited on a Saturday afternoon. Cassie had no problem finding a park across the street; a left parallel park was required. There were some people eating in front of the restaurant, the so-called “patio” seats, which comprise an experience no different than eating on the sidewalk. Inside, there were some people at the bar, and one table seated inside. One of the kids at this table had a laptop that was playing ballerina dancing home videos. In a restaurant that accounts for one third of the entire city block, we were naturally seated right next to this table.

Our server was a petite young lady who was eager to take our drink order, so eager, in fact, that she asked before I even had a chance to sit down. There was no physical drink menu, aside from the chalkboard in the above image. I had to get up to read the selections. The beers available appeared to be extensive and really didn’t jump out at me from 30 feet away. Actually, the bartender started a conversation with me when I went to read the beers, and he basically told me that most of the beers on tap were similar to Blue Moon. I tried to affirm this by asking, “so, like, Belgian white ale?” and he told me he wasn’t sure. Okay…

I don’t remember what I got, but it probably wasn’t the brand in the above picture; it could have been, but it probably wasn’t. And it probably was something like a Belgian white ale.

Of additional interest, the wine list is actually the center column in the above image of the blackboard. Of course you cannot read it, but logically, you must be able to conclude that there were nothing more than wine types (i.e. Pinot Grigio, Merlot, etc) listed, no brands or vintages, or just take my word for it.

I got up to play with their digital jukebox, which has just about “everything from ABBA to ZZ Top” (quick – name the movie I stole this from…). It was the usual buck to play a song, but I couldn’t settle on anything. Besides, what was automatically playing wasn’t bad, for the most part.

The menu, which doesn’t exist anywhere online (I’m guessing yet), consists of typical pub food, deep fried appetizers, salads, and sandwiches, predominantly. We decided on the potato skins and mozzarella sticks; each was between 7 and 8 bucks.

The potato skins were fried crispy. There was a good amount of cheese and bacon on each. Sadly, the mozzarella sticks needed to be eaten with a fork and knife; there’s nothing like picking up a mozzarella stick and dunking it in sauce, either marinara or raspberry (melba). They tasted alright, not bad, not great. The raspberry sauce was decent; the marinara sauce was pretty bad. That’s ok because I prefer raspberry sauce to marinara sauce with my mozzarella sticks anyway, at least I have ever since I moved to this area.

I ordered a sandwich, chicken parmigianna, as the main course. I wanted it. Yes, I did, even though the description specified that it was assembled with chicken fingers. I also ordered sweet potato fries. It was like 8 bucks plus 1 to upgrade to the sweet potato fries.

It was nothing more than chicken fingers with marinara sauce (light marinara sauce because that’s how I always order my ______ parmigianna subs) and mozzarella.  There were two normal sized food service chicken tenders on the roll, definitely more bread than meat. Overall, there was nothing special about it; there was nothing bad about it, well except the marinara sauce, which was the same stuff that was served with the mozzarella sticks.

While I was eating, “White Wedding” by Billy Idol played on the jukebox. Together with the ballerina dancing video, this was a surreal experience. Around this time, the audio from the ballerina video crept up enough for the young girl to be reprimanded by her father. I felt bad, but not too bad because my parents didn’t purchase me a laptop to use to watch videos while we ate in restaurants.

Cassie ordered a Rueben. While I love corned beef, and am, in fact, addicted to corned beef hash, I generally do not order Ruebens because I dislike sauerkraut. Generally. In this particular case, they must have forgotten the sauerkraut, luckily for me! I tried some of the corned beef. It was extremely tough, which is odd for corned beef, something that undergoes an extensive pickling and cooking process designed to result in tender meat. I don’t know what to make of that.

After we ate, I took in the ambiance a little more. There are some dart boards, and lots of space in the restaurant; given the right crowd, this could be a fun party spot, just don’t expect a great beer selection or great food. But who does when you’re trying to party, right? RIGHT!!?!?!?!

I’m more or less indifferent toward Bootleggers. I will say, at least the menu items, while not stellar, are priced competitively and, for the most part, appropriately for the quality of food provided. There are better places out there, and nearby as well. There are worse places out there as well. I’d probably go back a second time (not anytime soon), but probably not a third, who knows?

One thing is for certain: don’t get your hopes up and expect to find a Boardwalk Empire Speakeasy ambiance like I did. [this last sentence contains an intentional dangling modifier]

MORE derryX Dines!!!!!


2 thoughts on “Bootleggers on Broadway – Troy, NY

  • John J

    I haven’t eaten there, but i’ve been out w/friends for drinks on 2 occasions now, and would have to disagree with you about the beer list. While it’s not the best, it beats out a lot of other bars i’ve been to in the area. I also give them a thumbs up for having the DFH seasonal, and Flying Dogs Snake Dog IPA on tap.

    • derryX

      Let’s put it this way: when I went, neither of those beers were available. According to the guy behind the bar, just about everything they had was like Blue Moon.

      It seems like it could be a cool bar with the right crowd, though.


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