For generations – dating back to the 1950’ -- Drake’s Restaurant and Bar -- was the “go-to” place. Those days are long gone, with new comers like Sticks and Stones, and other establishments becoming popular. But in recent years Drake’s has had its ups and downs and that’s the reason why Trail Break at Schroon Lake, a promising new venture, occupies the former space.
“We knew we needed to change the name because the name Drake’s had taken a beating,” Barry Pitkin. Told me.
Barry runs TB@SL , with his wife Teal Smith-Pitkin.
“It was time, it (Drakes) had a great ride, but it was done”.
And as for the choice of the name?
“We are going to be open year around, so we wanted something appropriate. There’s a snow mobile trail behind us, hiking trails all around, people who hike the high peaks so we thought trail break was a good name, we thought it would fit”.
The name change is just the beginning. Folks won’t see a trace of that classic nautical theme, apparently huge in the 1970s. (Barry says he can do you a deal on a few sailing ship wheels).
“We are now fully an Adirondack venue.”
Just a week after opening, Barry says the reception has been good. “We’ve been well received and our business is consistent and we are starting to grow. We are just trying to grow our lunch business.
And to attract the lunch crowd Barry and his chef created a special burger. “We do a half pound steak burger and it’s short rib and chuck and it’s a really nice product”.
Most of their food comes from Ginsburg, a local purveyor. They source a lot of their items from the Hudson Valley. TB@SL also make their own French onion soup, which Barry says one of his first customers, a blogger who writes only about soups, claims was one of the best they had tasted. Everything on the menu but the chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks, is made in house, says Barry
“We season our calamari, so it’s not heavy. Everything -- from our pasta sauces our crème
brulee and bread pudding are all made here.”
Foodies have already identified a few favorites: the half roast duck with orange glaze, a 14-ounce dry aged heritage farm pork chop, a 12-ounce center-cut prime beef New York strip steak and lobster tails.
Among seafood offerings there’s clams casino, calamari, shrimp scampi, shrimp cocktail, sautéed trout and sautéed or blackened catfish.
The new bar and tavern feature a 20-tap tower, supplied by the Hudson Brewing Company. All of the taps are occupied and not all feature beer.
“We are pouring a hard cider. We're pouring a bubbly champagne, from Italy’s Proseco Hills region. We have Paradox beers and other New York State IPA's and Amber Ales.” Vermont is also represented.”
In the dining room there’s a fresh coat of paint and an old sign Barry and his crew discovered when they were renovating the bar area: a sign for sales, service, and parts for Ford and Overland cars.
As for the motel side of the business, eight rooms have been updated, but not fully renovated. “We have painted and we still have work to do. We hope the restaurant will do well to spur the renovation of the rooms in time for the snowmobilers, skiers and ice fisher folks.
“We got rid of the old tube TVs and have gone to new HDTV flat screens, with ROKU streaming TV service. Full size beds have been replaced by queen size pillow tops”.
The pool is almost ready to be opened, after an extensive renovation.
Barry says he is happy to make Schroon his new home, after relocating from Mount Vernon in Northern Virginia. “Our two boys are enrolled in the Schroon Lake Central School and we are happy to be here”