SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — Longtime local restaurant Panza’s will open in its new Broadway location beginning this weekend.
Panza’s is planning to unveil its new restaurant with a grand opening at 5 p.m. on Friday at 129 S. Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
The new Panza’s location, formerly home to Trade Winds, will feature a Gateway View dining room, Grotto Bar and Tavern, and an upper- level music lounge as well as the same Itallian food and family hospitality that the restaurant has offered for more than 80 years on Saratoga Lake.
Brothers Tony and Michael Panza are taking the fourth-generation family business into a new chapter with Panza’s Broadway Saratoga. They’ve teamed up with Capital Region builder Chris Marchand to restore the famed Trade Winds restaurant to house their latest venture.
The new restaurant will include Panza’s traditional Italian cuisine along with new, lighter offerings to suit a variety of palates.
“Our approach is to provide people with options for enjoying this truly unique building and atmosphere,” chef/owner Tony Panza said in a press release. “You can come enjoy full dinner in our unique, glass-enclosed dining room; have a drink and lite bite in the intimate Grotto Bar or stop by with friends to enjoy your favorite regional musical acts with a beverage in our Upper Level Lounge. We will provide the great food, service and beverages. More than anything, we want people to feel comfortable, like at home.”
Entertainment is a major focus of the new place, building on decades of successful experience from Panza’s restaurant on Saratoga Lake. Initially music will be scheduled for Friday and Saturday evenings, but will expand to seven days a week when racing season begins in July. A cross section of music from classic piano, to jazz, cabaret and R&B will be featured, with acts like Georgia Jones (of the NY Players), Azzaam Hameed and Annette Harris, Colleen Pratt, Peg Delaney, Roosevelt Baker, Jeanine Ouderkirk, J Yager, Christine Spero and many others.
In the new spot, Panza’s is also taking the opportunity to revamp its technology. Wi-Fi, point-of-Sale, lighting, audio, security and electrical systems have all been updated and installed. New ADA-compliant bathrooms have also been created. Immediately behind the building is a 70-space parking lot adjacent to the Hilton Garden Inn next door.
“We like to joke that parking is actually our greatest asset for this place,” Michael said in the release. “Where else can you go to dinner on Broadway in Saratoga Springs and know you’ll find parking for your vehicle?”
The Trade Winds was originally built in the 1960s by a local stone mason named Caparonis. For two decades, it was considered the finest restaurant in the Capital Region. People flocked to it for its unique feel, outstanding food, and to see and be seen among the region’s social elite.
As an August 11, 1974 New York Times article wrote of the Trade Winds: “Honors for the best food in town probably go to the Trade Winds on South Broadway with a pleasant atmosphere.”
However, after its run at the top, the Trade Winds finally closed in the 80s. Since then, the one successful venture in the building was by the locally notable Balsamo family (Villa Balsamo) with Café Paradiso for a few years in the early 2000s. Since then, the building has sat vacant.
The Panza brothers have taken the unique layout and architecture of the building and updated it with new furniture and decor, transforming the space to have a rustic, Mediterranean feel.
Among the multi-level interior layout, gurgling water fountains accentuate the unique visual experience of being inside a stone cave.
“A lot of thought went into the original 3000-square-foot kitchen design when it was built, making it very easy to update,” chef Tony Panza said in the release. “This kitchen was designed to make great food, and it did so for decades. So, while we are updating appliances and other new kitchen gadgetry that’s evolved over the past 30 years, the bones of this kitchen remain the same as when it was built in the 1960s. It is a great kitchen and will only enhance our ability to deliver quality and consistency.”
The Panza’s Restaurant Group has been operating restaurants in Saratoga County region for more than 81 years, including the iconic Panza’s on Saratoga Lake, which served as a go to restaurant for generations of families, celebrities, high-profile horse racing legends, sports figures and elected officials.
At the heart of the business’ success has always been consistent food from authentic recipes handed down from family members, and service that is meant to make people feel at home.
Michael added, “This building, its history and its location on Broadway in Saratoga is what really captivated us. It is truly special and there is nothing even remotely like it in Saratoga. People tell us they remember how it used to be and are excited this place will be alive again. We are excited as well and can’t wait to share this with everyone who loves Saratoga and great hospitality.”