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New café on the block makes steps in Pine Hills revival

By Patrick O'Gara
On January 25, 2011

   Opening a business in the midst of a recession is not the easiest thing to do. For Anton Pasquill, however, setting up the Hudson River Coffee House has proven to be rewarding. It has been about two months since the café's doors opened at 227 Quail Street, on the corner of Hudson Avenue, and things have gone exceedingly well so far.

   "We had a pretty slow winter break," remarked the 23-year-old former University at Albany student, with zero regret in his tone. "Things have picked back up since the students came back, though, and we have a lot of upcoming events as well."

   Events, including techno and house raves, live concerts put on by local musicians, and open mic nights every Tuesday at 8, designed with patrons in mind.

   Anton estimates that during an event, he will generally see hundreds of students come through the doors. The events are free, which leaves cash in pockets for trying out Hudson River's relatively expansive menu. Students from the perhaps infamous Pine Hills neighborhood are a heavy part of the customer base, and Anton tries his hardest to cater to them while still keeping his resources local.

    And speaking of local resources, everything on the menu is as such. Authentic New York City Bagels come from the Rockland Bakery in Manhattan, and so do other delicious goods, such as muffins, cookies, and brownies. The half and half hails from the Battenkill Creamery in Salem, N.Y., about an hour to the northeast. Even the modern, roomy interior is decorated with sculptures, paintings, and other projects from local artists, mostly Saint Rose and UAlbany students and alumni.

    "We definitely want to support local businesses like ourselves as much as possible," said Anton as he moved the entirety of the furniture in the room around in preparation for the night's upcoming rave.

    The coffee house, in turn, provides excellent café fare at very reasonable prices, creating an easy way for those who frequent the place to also support local businesses – something Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts can't claim. Coffee and espresso drinks range between $1.85 and $3.25, along with organic tea for those who prefer not to drink coffee. Sandwiches can also be found on the menu, meaning late-night munchies have a new resolution, since the place is open until 2 a.m. on weekends and midnight on weekdays.

    Anton is currently working his rear end off to spread the word about his new place, and can frequently be found at Mary Jane Books and similar establishments handing out free coffee. He's very friendly and open to meeting new customers, and will warmly introduce himself and ask how you heard of the place when you stop in for the first time.

   The Hudson River Coffee House is definitely the coolest new place on the block, and will without a doubt quickly become a staple in the ever-changing Pine Hills of Albany. Be sure to stop in, catch a show, and grab a sip of New York, literally.

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