The evolution of 1470 Western Avenue, all the same building, with modifications over the years:
1. Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen (1962)
Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen, a creation of the Quaker Oats Company, first opened in Disneyland. Eventually there were seven franchises in New York alone.
The Albany location seated 156 patrons in three dining rooms. It was wildly popular with families and children, hosting countless First Communion parties, birthday parties, etc. It was also a hit with the SUNY Albany students, who were within walking distance.
2. The Knickerbocker Pub (1969-70)
Almost no one remembers this short-lived venue.
3. Chef Italia (1970)
Chef Italia was, I think, an import from Binghamton.
They introduced Albany to the spiedie (skewered, marinated, charbroiled meat), and gigantic salad bars.
4. Coco’s (1983-1997)
Coco’s was a bustling let-have-a-drink-after-work scene and a busy evening bar scene.
Also, possibly the area’s first brunch
There was a dark period in 1998 when investors planned to reopen it as the Stuyvesant Grill. However, the owners of Stuyvesant Plaza threatened to sue if that name was used, and the new developer decided the $20,000 in potential legal fees wasn’t worth it.
5. Century Buffet (Chinese food, BBQ, tea)
The less said about Century Buffet, the better, Unclean, unpopular.
6. Ninety Nine (2004)
As chains go, Ninety Nine wasn’t bad. You could get a decent meal there for not a lot of money. This location closed suddenly and with no warning.
7. Black & Blue Steak and Crab (2015)
The location goes upscale. Totally gutted the interior, modern, hi-concept design. You’d never guess its past incarnations.