When 15 Church arrived on the scene in 2014, my husband and I were thrilled to attend the “soft opening” and check out what was anticipated to be the best new Saratoga spot for dinner. Having known partner Paul McCullough for years through countless visits to McGuire’s in Albany, we knew Saratoga was about to change. As we walked out of a space whose décor was as interesting as was its menu, we hoped that our next meal there would be equally as extraordinary. And it was, over and over again. Paul and partner Tom Burke created something pretty darn spectacular.
Fast forward to 2022… the first summer in years with no covid restrictions. A local and tourist community eager to make up for lost social time. And the recent, sad passing of Paul McCullough, talented restaurateur and personal friend to so many (including ourselves). 15 Church, with its award winning food and top-notch service, was ready for a well-earned “refresh” for summer. And owner Tom Burke did just what he did back in 2014: he enlisted the help of interior designer and friend, Linda Gerace-Skinner.
Linda’s almost 35 years of design include many years at Stickley and interior and commercial design projects under her previous business LGS Interior Design Group. She and her now full-service design firm, Interior Designs Atelier, happily accepted the challenge of “zhuzh-ing up” the restaurant. And just in time for what is expected to be another amazing Saratoga summer.
“After eight successful years of critically acclaimed food and design, coupled with my return to Saratoga from Minneapolis, it seemed to be the perfect time to update 15 Church in welcoming the 2022 racing season. With my intent to continue with the same vision and quality that resulted in a 1st place award by ASID in 2014 for Hospitality Design, I’m presenting a fresh fabric palette with complementary art, along with a few new lighting pieces, to refresh the look.” -LGS
THE SUBTLE BUT WELCOMED CHANGES
Don’t worry. It’s still the same 15 Church we’ve enjoyed for years. And if you’re not a regular, you may not even be able to put your finger on what looks different. You just know it works. The first change, noticeable right from the door, is the row of high back bar stools. The kaleidoscope fabric by Romo, with tones of bronze and blue metallic dots, brings a fresh new perspective to the bar (while coordinating quite beautifully with the existing Antolini bar accent). The dining room chairs, now upholstered in a steely blue velvet by Stout Fabrics, richen the space with texture.
The banquettes also enjoyed a mini face-lift, brightening up the restaurant with my favorite fabric of the newcomers… this interesting zig zag fabric by Romo (almost Missoni-esque in pattern). The new mercury glass triple pendant lighting brings a modern, yet warm feel to each dining space. And makes it very easy to envision even more great nights with great friends.
The last change you’ll notice is ALL of the gorgeous new artwork. Including a series of three paintings, whose abstract nature manages to juxtapose the sharp lines of the banquette fabric while complimenting the tones EVER SO perfectly. Each painting helping to create an even more intimate space while bringing it all together.
THE SAME BELOVED FOOD AND SERVICE
After chatting with 15 Church’s new General Manager, Joshua Vickers, it’s obvious that the team is ready and excited for another successful (and more typical) summer of tourists and locals. Sprinkled among the new team members are many familiar faces, including the entertaining and super attentive floor manager, Robert. Always ready “to get yous” whatever you need. Along with the man behind those amazing preparations, Chef Michael Mastrantuono. Chef joined the team in 2017, and continues to craft delicious and creative dishes attracting visitors from near and far.
When I asked Chef what’s on the menu for the summer, he was quick to tell me “whatever is freshest”. And went on to share his excitement for some of the most recent specials, including the New Zealand elk chop he’s been preparing with a cherry bordelaise, and live diver scallops served on the half shell. In addition to new features he has on the summer Patio menu, he was also excited for some of the great seafood and raw bar selections to come, including Emperial Gold caviar, king crab legs, and lobsters sized for an evening of overindulgence. The energy he has for his craft was evident from even our short conversation.
PREPARING FOR A MORE TYPICAL SUMMER
So whether you’re planning on visiting 15 Church to check out the new interior updates, or looking to gather on the patio after your day at the races, expect the same exceptional food from Chef Mastrantuono. And expect pre-covid crowds. In other words… you best have a reservation far in advance.
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