Heraclitus said, “Everything flows, nothing stands still.” So it goes with Albany’s Lark Street.
The eight-block stretch of this major North-South thoroughfare between Washington and Madison avenues has ebbed and flowed through the years as shops and restaurants, bars and residents have come and gone.
Built in 1880, 197 Lark St. – most recently the home of Crisan Bakery & Edible Art Gallery – has been vacant for nearly five years. Before Crisan, it was Carosello’s Bakery for several decades, though the space had another brief brush with art when it hosted the pop-up “Bakery Show” in 2004 for Albany Underground Artists.
And before that? For at least 30 years, the Domenico family operated a business there. In 1960, it was Domenico’s Modern Market, and James J. Domenico Jr. lived above the shop. For much of the 1940s, it was Domenico Brothers Fruit, and in 1930, the storefront was occupied by George D. Price, News Dealer, though a James Domenico was listed as a tenant. In 1920, Mary G. Hickey, a milliner, had a shop there.
Soon, 197 Lark St. will have yet another incarnation as the new home of D.P. Dough, which is currently located at 212 Western Ave. The co-owners of the franchise are Nick Warchol and Craig Dutra, who, along with August Rosa of Pint Sized at 250 Lark, also operate Post Wine Bar across the street.
Nick and his wife, the talented woodworker Kelsea Adams, are currently outfitting the space with plans to open in early September. The building is unexpectedly deep, and offers sufficient space for a large kitchen, small bar, and seating for approximately 35.
Warchol, who was recently elected to the Lark Street Business Improvement District board, expects to continue a robust delivery business while adding dine-in options that are not currently available at the Western Avenue location. The kitchen boasts a door that leads to Spring Street, allowing delivery vehicles to pick up orders without interfering with traffic on Lark.
He hopes that turning the lights back on at 197 Lark will inspire someone to bring the neighboring 199 Lark St. back to life. Long a neighborhood institution, Farnham’s Larkin (later the Larkin) closed some 15 years ago. The building is now in foreclosure and held by the Albany County Land Bank with an asking price of $125,000.
Who will write the next chapter in the story of 199 Lark St.? Whoever it is can enjoy some tasty calzones from next door while they do.
Colleen M. Ryan has always been a storyteller. An innovative communications professional with experience in government, nonprofit and business sectors, she recently launched CMR Communications.