kitchen 216

In a restaurant scene that often focuses on the latest trends and hipster-centric concepts, kitchen 216 is holding onto its roots. This Albany-based soul-food restaurant, which was previously located on lower Central Avenue, is now open at Crossgates Commons. Owner Emrys Young calls the new location a “dream” for her eatery.

In the new space, diners can enjoy food such as fried chicken, turkey wings, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, red beans and rice, yams and more. In the future, Young wants to expand on her menu and offer brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Young says she wanted to create a place where people could feel immersed in the culture of soul food, similar to how they would experience it in a restaurant devoted to Italian cuisine or Asian fare. She’s worked hard to incorporate her own personal experiences, particularly those of her step father’s Jamaican family, into the dining experience.

The menu is also inspired by her experiences growing up in Brooklyn, where many people didn’t have access to real, traditional home cooking. The new restaurant is still in its soft opening phase, and is open Tuesday-Sunday for dinner service. The grand opening is set for April 12.

MESA, a collaborative kitchen that’s home to the Albany Culinary Launch and Kitchen incubator program, is open for catering and event rentals. Jenny Watson from The Elderberry Company uses MESA’s facilities on occasion to produce her homemade elderberry products, which she sells in stores and delivers to hospitals.

MESA has a couple other programs in the works that will allow more people to use its high-end studio kitchen:

One is an incubator for start-up businesses, and another allows members of the community to rent time in the kitchen for their own cooking projects. In the future, MESA hopes to extend these programs to other parts of the country and provide even more opportunities for people to cook together.

By Hai Kai