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Dinner again at Café Madison

April 22, 2012

by Marlee Wood

The small neighborhood restaurant with a unique breakfast and brunch menu, Café Madison, will begin serving dinner again by the end next month.

The dinner menu at Café Madison was suspended when owner Brian Viglucci opened its neighboring restaurant The Point which serves only dinner. The Point adopted many of the dinner items featured at Café Madison and dinner was suspended at Café Madison.

"Café Madison"

The outside of Café Madison/ Marlee Wood

General manager Bryan Cline said that he and the rest of the staff at Café Madison are excited to re-open for dinner.

“It will be nice to have Café Madison open during the night hours,” said Cline. “The lights and chandeliers create a great atmosphere when it’s dark outside.”

The staff at Café Madison are collecting ideas for their newest dinner cuisine. They plan to keep the same unique spin on dinner as they have for both breakfast and lunch during the past seven years. They also hope to create a menu focused on vegetarian and vegan meals and intend to use fresh local foods in their recipes.

“We’re testing out a lot of different menu items, and we are doing a lot of experimentation,” said Cline. “Our dinner menu is going to be completely different from before, after The Point adopted many of our dinner items, we needed to create our own identity again.”

"Bryan Cline, Sierra Hopeck"

Manager Bryan Cline and waitress Sierra Hopeck stand in front of the bar at Café Madison/Marlee Wood

Several of the former Café Madison chefs and some new hires are expected to staff the back of the café for dinner.
For the last 10 years, Suzy and Vic Doehler have been coming to Café Madison at least once a week for breakfast.

“We love it,” said Suzy Doehler. “The food items are unique, but they’re always delicious and there’s something for everyone. We’re sure dinner will be the same way and we plan to try it in the very near future.”

Breakfast has been a draw here for years, even back when it was Qualter’s Pine Hills Restaurant.

“We’re a great small neighborhood café that puts out a world class breakfast,” said owner Brian Viglucci.

Breakfast is served all day at Café Madison and on weekends new breakfast and lunch specials are offered. Prices range from $5 for a Belgian waffle to $12 for steak and eggs. The most popular choices at Café Madison are the eggs benedict special and pancakes made from scratch.

“The raspberry oatmeal pancake batter is unlike anything around; it has such a distinct texture and flavor profile,” said Cline.

Viglucci said that one time, former New York Giant, Jesse Palmer, was asked about the city of Albany and he mentioned “this little Café where the pancakes are delicious.”

Before Viglucci bought the restaurant seven years ago, this little neighborhood café was known as Madison’s End Café and prior to that, Qualter’s Pine Hills Restaurant. It has been around for about 40 years and was first owned by Harold and Jeanne Qualter.

"The new seating at Café Madison"

Seating at Café Madison/Marlee Wood

It started out as just a counter, but as time went on the Café expanded. Although Café Madison continues to feature several of the signature menu items that were first introduced by Qualter’s, under Viglucci’s ownership many improvements and additions have been made. They have added more seating, a new bar, and have remodeled the kitchen.

The Café has a warm and calming décor, with a brightly lit front dining area and patio seating for the nice weather.
Café Madison attracts mostly walk in customers. It also appeals to clientele from outside the neighborhood. An occasional student may be seen visiting the café on a busy afternoon trying to escape from the hectic college routine.

"The Front Dining Area"

The front dining area at Café Madison/Marlee Wood

“Café Madison is so terrific, the menu is original and unique and the interior provides a great ambiance,” said frequent customer Barnaby Bullar.

The exclusive atmosphere that Café Madison offers sets it apart from its nearby restaurants, The Point and Juniors, also owned by Viglucci. While Juniors is seen as a very high energy sports bar, and The Point provides a fine dining experience with live music and a refined menu, Café Madison is more low key and relaxed.

“What makes Café Madison different is that it serves breakfast and brunch unlike The Point and Juniors. It has always been best known for its breakfast and brunch menu. It’s a much smaller and more quaint restaurant than the others as well,” said Viglucci.

Suzy Doehler said:  “We’ve never found the food other than excellent, the service as well.”

The manager said they have a philosophy in their approach to customer service.

“If we see a cup of coffee half full, we want to make sure that we fill it before they ask us to,” said Cline.

The return of the dinner menu after a two-year hiatus, should bode well for customers, said longtime employee William Morris.

“It’s like a perfect combination of love and flavor just come together.” -30-


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