Community News and Involvement
– New restaurant, Son of Egg, opens in downtown Albany despite pandemic
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Youtube link: https://youtu.be/9SZzt8jfY2U
– Channel 13 Son of Egg opens second location in Rensselaer:
A local restaurant that thrived during the pandemic cut the ribbon on a second location on Monday.
Son of Egg now has a bigger restaurant located next to the Amtrak station in Rensselaer.
It offers quick bite Korean-American cuisine. You can get everything from chicken sandwiches to rice bowls and Korean desserts.
The first location remains open on Madison Avenue in Albany.
– Son of Egg wasn’t looking for another restaurant — until it happened upon Rensselaer by Sam Raudins
Son of Egg is taking a crack at a second location with not only a restaurant operation but a commercial kitchen and kimchi packaging.
Justin Ko, managing partner, said Son of Egg was looking for a commercial kitchen to prep food for its restaurant on Madison Avenue in Albany — and to launch the brand’s packaged kimchi operation. In the process, the team decided to open up a second Korean-American quick-bite restaurant at the chosen spot in Rensselaer.
“We’re like, ‘Oh, Rensselaer looks like it needs more businesses to come in and revamp the area.’ So we’re like, ‘OK, let’s take on that task and start up a new restaurant,’ Ko said. “The city has mentioned that we are at ground zero, basically, of businesses coming in and just being able to see the community change. It’s very noticeable in the next five to 10 years. I think that’ll be awesome to experience and just be a part of.”
The space in Rensselaer at 483 Broadway is 3,000 square feet — for comparison, the kitchen in Albany is 700 square feet, Ko said. The deal was an off-market transaction, and the space was previously home to Baking You Crazy. The landlord is Noah Smith of Great Neck, and Ko said they worked with Clair Francis Bee III, principal at Acre Real Estate Associates.
Ko said he spent nearly a year clearing the space and got a rent break during that time. The deal was finalized in November.
When the Son of Egg team began looking for a kitchen space, they weren’t able to invest much money — the Albany restaurant had just opened in April 2020 — so the fact that the Broadway space in Rensselaer had kitchen equipment that was good enough to use was a plus, Ko said.
The location will also have a liquor license to serve Korean liquor, soju and rice wine.
Son of Egg’s new packaged kimchi business
The original plan was to use the money made from the commercial kimchi operation to pay off the new kitchen investment, but the process of getting the product retail ready — including lab testing for a nutrition label and shelf-life testing — took longer than expected, Ko said.
“I personally thought it was a great opportunity in front of us because kimchi is getting so popular. I was like, ‘We should really capitalize on this and just try what we can,'” Ko said.
Son of Egg’s recipe has been developed over more than two decades to appeal to a wider range of people.
“I think our recipe is very unique because we use zero to barely any processed sugar, so we use fruits for our sugars. And instead of the traditional napa cabbage, we just use regular cabbage. And my family’s been in the US since ’99, so it’s about 23 years upcoming and we kind of understand what the American palate is now kind of like, so it’s not traditional,” he said.
The kimchi retails at $8 for a 16-ounce jar, and a 32-ounce jar is in development. Honest Weight Food Co-op has verbally committed to carrying the kimchi, Ko said.
The Rensselaer location is currently offering a limited menu, including Korean corn dogs, bowls and sandwiches. It’s currently in its soft opening phase.
– Son of Egg opening second, larger location in Rensselaer by Steve Barnes
RENSSELAER — Son of Egg, a Korean restaurant that opened for takeout in an Albany storefront early in the pandemic shutdown, is finalizing work on a second, larger location that will become its flagship. It is taking over the former Baking You Crazy bakery and cafe, located at 483 Broadway, at the foot of the bridge to the Amtrak station.
An opening is projected for April 21, the second anniversary of the Albany original, at 418 Madison Ave. The Albany restaurant will remain open.
“It just got so busy that we didn’t have room to prep more food while we were cooking, because the space is so small. We knew we had to find somewhere bigger,” said Justin Ko, the managing partner of Son of Egg. He owns it with his mother, Min Cho Ko. The family moved to the Capital Region from Portland, Ore., where Min Cho Ko owned a deli/coffeehouse, when her husband took a job with GlobalFoundries in Malta.
The 4,125-square-foot Broadway building has a full basement, walk-in coolers and freezers, commercial kitchen, off-street parking and room on the second floor to expand capacity beyond the approximately 25-seat cafe plus bar on the ground level, said Clair Francis Bee III, founder and principal broker of Acre Real Estate Associates in Albany, which handled the lease deal between the Ko family and landlord Noah Smith.
Ko said he expects hours at the new location at first to be similar to those in Albany, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday, closed Sunday. He said earlier hours may be added if there is sufficient demand from Amtrak customers. (The first train for New York City leaves at 5:55 a.m.) One of Son of Egg’s signature sandwiches features a vegetable omelet with bacon and cheese on a hard roll.
A full liquor license is pending for Rensselaer, Ko said, adding that the bar will showcase makgeolli, a Korean rice wine, and Korea’s most popular distilled spirit, soju. Evening hours may be extended depending on bar business, Ko said.
The menu is Rensselaer will be largely the same as in Albany, with Korean classics including bulgogi and bibimbap, as sandwiches or bowls, available with housemade kimchi. Ko said the larger kitchen will serve as a production facility for some items in Albany and should allow for the development of additional dishes. Both locations will offer dine-in, takeout and delivery via third-party apps including DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats.
The new location will more than double Son of Egg’s current employee roster of 11, Ko said.
In 2005, 483 Broadway became a restaurant called Rudy’s V&R, as an offshoot of the then-5-year-old V&R Italian Ristorante on lower Madison Avenue in Albany. The business’ owners, the Berisic family, turned 483 Broadway into Red House Pub in 2010, then, six years later, the family’s daughter Vanessa Berisic, at the time 21 years old and fresh out of the Culinary Institute of America, with her parents transformed the business into Baking You Crazy.
The bakery-cafe closed in spring 2021 and V&R Italian Ristorante in Albany appears to have been dormant since the pandemic shutdown began. The Rudy’s V&R name was revived by the Berisics in July 2021 in a new location, 50 Exchange St., Albany, at the West Albany Italian Benevolent Society.
Son of Egg restaurant announces Back 2 School Block Party with community partners by Mikhaela Singleton
RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Justin Ko says it wasn’t easy opening one restaurant, then two in the height of the pandemic, but the overwhelming Capital Region love has him inspired to pass along that love in the form of school supplies for local kids.“I think it’s from the support that we weren’t expecting during the pandemic, because everyone was just talking about how restaurants were closing. We had all this negative news just constantly in our face daily,” he explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton. “So seeing the joy we could bring to people just by giving them good food and how much people supported our business, yeah it really made me want to give back.”
A back to school block party August 27 and 28 in Rensselaer’s Riverfront Park will be the first big community outreach hosted by Son of Egg, in collaboration with partners Titan Athletes and Regeneron. Ko says he chose supporting education because that’s what this community needs most.
“Just talking with the city and stuff, they mentioned that a very high percentage of Rensselaer residents are low-income families,” Ko says.
“By giving them a running start to their school year, they can have that extra leg up to make sure they have what they need to make it a successful school year and ultimately have a better Capital Region for all,” adds Emily Lang Anastasio, the marketing director for the Capital District YMCA.
Lang Anastasio says the economy’s downturn is reflected in the demand for relief come back to school time, which is why the YMCA is happy to lend a helping hand donating supplies left over from its Running Start Supply Drives.
“We’ve had a number of parents just cry, and especially so this year more than ever because of inflation, because of the cost of gas, we’ve seen a massive increase in the need in our community,” she says.
These organizers say they hope to stuff 500 backpacks and hand them out throughout the event that will also focus on fun with basketball, music and food bringing the community together. The women’s basketball team from Siena College will also attend to play games with attendees and Saturday, special guest and former Harlem Globetrotters player Tay Fisher will attend as well. The event is free and open to the public.