The Brown Bag – Troy, NY

A place that popped up a while back that I’ve been wanting to check out is The Brown Bag at 156 4th Street in Troy. It’s tough because I’m trying to eat good most nights, and I’m seldom out until the late hours that they’re open. The Brown Bag is open every day from about 5PM until 6AM.

As it turns out, I used to drive past the location every day on my way to school, but I don’t recall what it was then.

The menu is relatively simple.

It’s simple, but, at the heart of it, it’s junk food. Burgers, fries, grilled cheese, hot dogs. There’s nothing healthy on the menu, except maybe the grilled vegetables; the night I went, it was asparagus.

When you walk up to the counter, to the immediate right, there’s a refrigerator with a plethora of flavors of Day’s Soda. I’ve honestly never seen this level of variety before, and it’s quite possible they have every flavor. I bought a Blue Pop.

And it was blue!

It tasted like the blue raspberry flavor of frozen icee that you can get. Loaded with calories and high fructose corn syrup, but it’s a soda. Cassie and I split it. I didn’t completely enjoy it, in all honesty.

If you read Chuck Miller’s blog, you should know there’s a tabletop Galaga/Ms. Pac Man machine in the shop.

This is really cool, and I wish I could have had a chance to play, but people were sitting there while we were there. Galaga is my second favorite arcade game of all time (If you contact me and guess what my favorite is, I will send you a prize), and I’ve never seen it in a table top console!

So that’s two things I’ve never seen before.

Ready for a third?

I’ve never seen a place that makes a bacon burger on a glazed doughnut with peanut butter! Every Wednesday is South Troy Burger night. For $6.25, they’ll slap together these unlikely ingredients for anyone willing to pay. I said, “why not?” And, of course I got fries.

Then came the hard part. The kids working there fill each order individually. If four customers in a row order fries, they’re not equipped to do multiple orders at the same time. The downside is that you have to wait; the upside is that your food will be piping hot and fresh when its handed to you.

So after the reasonable and grueling 12 minutes it took for them to make my food, it was ready. (and I want to be clear that I’m not complaining about the wait. Actually the contrary; I think it’s great to know the food is very fresh. But, when one is hungry, 12 minutes can feel like an eternity!)

The fries are tossed with spices from Kitchen Kick’n, and the spice is what you’ll remember about the fries, especially the onion flavor that’s in the spice. These were pretty good, and the size of the portion was well worth the $2.25 I paid for them.

But this South Troy Burger, ooo boy…

I’m not going to sit here and talk about how this was the most perfect thing I ever ate.

It wasn’t.

The combination of these ingredients will leave you scratching your head just as much after you try it as you were before you tried it.

The doughnut is bought in from Schuyler Bakery in Watervliet; besides the obvious clash of sweetness with a savory burger, this is magnified when the sugar from the glaze stays on your lips after taking a bite. So, once you get the dough and the meat working together as you chew, and once you get over the fact that the doughnut is sweet, you instantly get reminded of the sweetness as the sugar on your lips enters the bites. The burger itself is seasoned with something from Kitchen Kick’n (their spices are all over the kitchen!); on a regular bun, I’m sure the burger would make the perfect late night party food. The bacon brought what bacon brings, and the Jif Peanut Butter melted into the whole thing, and was almost undetectable.

I finished it, and it was definitely an experience. Not exactly an experience I’m in much of a hurry to have again, but it was an experience, nonetheless.

I had to ask the people behind the counter if I could sneak behind there and use the sink. Little did I realize that they have a cute little handwashing sink right next to their prep sink. I think the basin was in the shape of a shell, so it was super-cute, and not something you’d expect to be in the center of a kitchen.

The Brown Bag is a cool little place that has a neat home in Troy. If it’s before midnight and you’re hungry, you could roll the dice on a couple of inconsistent slices at I Love a block down, or you can get a burger and some fresh fries at The Brown Bag. If it’s after midnight, The Brown Bag is your only option, and it’s a good option. (But that South Troy is pretty damn crazy!)


4 thoughts on “The Brown Bag – Troy, NY

  • -R.

    When I was a kid, we had a Pizza Hut by us that had Dig-Dug in a tabletop model, but I’ve never seen a Galaga in a sit down version (Galaga is definitely my all-time favorite arcade game, though Tempest comes a close second). I may have to Bag it one evening to check it out and see how badly my skills have deteriorated over the years.

  • Jamie

    Whoa you are indeed a brave one!

    The brown Bag building (156 4th) is actually not in South Troy (pronounced Sout! Troy by the locals) it’s the Pottery District. Sout Troy doesn’t begin until after Canal Street.

    How do I know? I used to live upstairs. 🙂

  • irisira

    I’m snickering as I read this, because C and I had a similar reaction to the South Troy burger. In hindsight, we both wish we had ordered 1 regular burger and 1 ST burger to split/try. The first bite or two was tasty … it was overkill after that.


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