A martini is a terrible thing to waste.

Lark Tavern :(


May 6, 2010 169 Comments
As I’m sure many of you have already heard, Tess’ Lark Tavern had a serious fire early this morning, causing them to shut their doors for awhile.

It’s so sad.  Tess is one of my greatest friends, and I love her like family.  And her bar is pretty much everyone’s favorite bar in Albany.

It’s almost ironic.   Because Tess from the Lark Tavern is hands down the most giving person I know, who is CONSTANTLY throwing fundraisers for people who are in need.

When I woke up this morning at around 9:00am, I had about 32 text messages from people alerting me to the terrible fire, and 3 phone calls.  One was from Tess.

Her voice mail said, “Listen, Matty, there was a big fire last night at Lark Tavern.  No one got hurt.   But listen, if you have any positions open at any of your restaurants for some of my staff, I would appreciate it.  You know I have a great staff, so let me know.  It looks like we’re not going to be able to open our doors for awhile.”

Typical.  She just had a huge fire, and the first thing she cares about is finding work for her staff.  Obviously we’ll do everything we can for her staff at the Lark… but in the meantime, I feel like we should raise some money for Tess, and everyone who works for her, who are out of work because of this horrible fire.

(and take it from me, Insurance never covers 1/2 of it.  Everyone is always like, “oh but you have insurance, right?”  Yes of course. But it’s never enough.)

So, if you wouldn’t mind giving what you can for the woman who gives and gives to everyone else when they are in need.

I love you, Tess.

To give to the Lark Tavern Fire Fund, please click below: (100% of the money will go to Tess, and then she can decide what to do with it.  And you don’t need a PayPal account to donate below, just click where it says to continue with your credit card.)

So far we have raised $22,005 for Tess and her staff.  Keep it comin’ everyone!!
(I will give the PayPal list to Tess showing her who donated, and how much you donated, so she knows how generous you are :)


  • yaz
    May 6, 2010 at 9:59 am

    my first thought was also about how much she does for the community… she is such a generous, kind and compassionate spirit. my heart goes out to her and her staff and i will do whatever i can to help. thanks for starting this fundraiser-i’m sure many will follow!!

  • E-Liz
    May 6, 2010 at 10:03 am

    This is a tragedy.

  • Kim S
    May 6, 2010 at 10:03 am

    FP Readers,

    In case you didn’t know, I just found out, Tess’ was providing most of the food and beverage for tonight’s Champagne in the Park. If your business or anyone you know may be able to contribute to this tonight, please contact the Lark Street BID ASAP at 434-3861.

    I got this info from Steve barnes’ blog on the TU site:


  • Carter
    May 6, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Tess is pretty much the greatest person ever. Its sad that they won’t be able open for a while.

  • Hopeful
    May 6, 2010 at 10:13 am

    You are a good person, Matt. Everybody – let’s support this cause!

  • Fred
    May 6, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Your comments on insurance are very misguided and un-informed. I am not a restaurant owner, so I cant speak about that and I don’t. That is your expertize. Want to make a bet, Tess is being swarmed with public adjusters this morning, promising to get her enough money to cover her loss and their fee (up to 12.5%). Many people are not insured properly, but if you are insured properly, you will usually do quite well with a claim. Next time, think before you speak.

  • Benji
    May 6, 2010 at 10:17 am


    You could not have said it better. Everyone’s heart aches for Tess.

    To avoid another tragedy. Tess

  • Melanie
    May 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

    watching the tail end of the fire early this morning a few people were already saying the city, no doubt, would rally strong behind Tess and her staff. Thanks for leading the charge, Matt :)

  • Summer
    May 6, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Matt, you rock.

  • Melissa
    May 6, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Wow Matt, My eyes just welled up reading that. Typical Tess worrying about others. I will give what I can.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Fuck you Fred – you rat bastard – half of this country’s problem is related to paying out the ass for insurance – then getting boned if you need to use it. And i am very informed – asshole

  • Rob Caminos
    May 6, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Tess was the one that convinced me to get out of a really bad relationship. All she had to say was “you don’t seem very happy with her.”
    She was also the first mutual connection between my wife and I when we first started dating.

  • Christine
    May 6, 2010 at 10:49 am

    When I saw this story this morning, I went directly to your blog. Knowing how you feel about Tess and the Lark Tavern I knew this was going to break your heart :(

  • Michael (@TCRPMG)
    May 6, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I have never been to Lark Tavern, but have heard lots of people talking about what a great place it is. My heart goes out to Tess and her staff. I hope she does ok with her insurance company and the downtime is not too great.

  • Loren
    May 6, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Matt, such a great Guy. Tess, the true meaning of a successful small business owner who worked her ass off for what she has.

    Fred, for someone who claims to not know anything about the restaurant business, you certainly came off like a real twat. Matt is doing something nice for a close friend, who is a great lady…. and you leave a snotty remark like that?

    “I feel like we should raise some money for Tess, and everyone who works for her, who are out of work because of this horrible fire”

    He was speaking about the people who work for Tess, the lack of paychecks they will receive…and how much its going to suck to be put in that position as a boss and employer…… not the shiney new urinal she’ll get in the mens room.

    “Next time, think before you speak”……Follow your own advice next time, dick.

  • Benny Raymond
    May 6, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Matt, that was a beautiful post.

    I met Tess when she was tending at Hollywood – the night I turned 21. She’s been one of my favorite Lark street people since. My heart goes out to her and I hope between the fund Matt has set up, Insurance, and the support of the people in and around Albany that rebuilding will happen very soon.

    Rally behind Tess Albany! She’s an amazing person – one who deserves all the love and support we can pour her way.

  • Loren Serritella
    May 6, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Poor Tess. She’s the definition of a fantastic and successful small business owner….I have faith that she will be okay.
    Fred, such a nice guy.
    “I feel like we should raise some money for Tess, and everyone who works for her, who are out of work because of this horrible fire.”
    He was talking about the horrible position she is put in as a boss and employer now that her employees are without work. Not the shiny new urinal going in the mens room, you dickhead.
    “Next time think before you speak”……Couldnt of said it better myself.

  • Sandor
    May 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Matt, Thanks for setting this up so quickly. You rock, as ever.

    Tess, I know you will rise up like a phoenix from this. Till then, I hope this helps you and your great staff through the transition.


  • Dave Z.
    May 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Thanks for setting up this fund. Lark Tavern is my favorite place in Albany. Everyone there is so nice and Tess is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. Glad to know there are so many supporters out there!

  • LoyalCusty
    May 6, 2010 at 11:10 am

    FRED- Really? At a time like this that’s what you have to say. Next time, think before you speak.

  • Litt1eMinx
    May 6, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Thank you for setting this up so quickly and spreading the word Matt.

  • daleyplanit
    May 6, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Tess is a rare find – someone who was always pleasant, direct, and quick to support any do-good effort that came her way. A few years ago, after Hurricane Katrina, a few us us students at UAlbany approached Tess asking if she would help us host a fundraiser for a NoLa charity. We had no idea what to expect. Tess was super – she just blew us away with her generosity. I had been a fan of the ‘tavern long before, and the event just fueled affection for the establishment.

    This fire is certainly tragic, but I hope its a catalyst for people to come together, support the rebuilding of a fine establsihement, and give back. I’ll throw down a donation – but please add me to the long list of people who are stepping up saying “we want to help!” Especially if it means getting fried mac and cheese again ;)

    Best wishes Lark Tavern!!!

  • TimS
    May 6, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I walked over there this morning to give Tess a hug and some mad money I had saved up for something important. First words out of her mouth were “I’ll give it to my staff.” I also got an email from the Director of the Damien Center. The email said, in part, “I spoke with Tess and her staff this morning and offered our help in any way they may need us, as they have been there for us so often. (in fact, one of the first things she said to me this morning that she still wants to help with our PAWS event

  • Johnny
    May 6, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Matt/Unholy: Fred is right on this…perhaps you should consider re-visiting your insurance policies and discussing ALL risk options with your “Broker” – Yes, insurance is not cheap but each of the employees & Tess too should be covered for lost wages until the Tavern is rebuilt. Employers MUST pay for this “optional” coverage to avoid devastating those who work so hard for their wages particularly in the current economic environment.

    I just ADORE Tess! Lark T is my fav local eatery when it comes to ice cold brews & pub fare. As many of you already know, Tess is an inspiration to many of us & I am fortunate knowing she is my friend. I WILL be doing my part in helping her rebuild bigger & better…I HOPE YOU WILL TOO?


  • Patrick Ball
    May 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

    We were devastated when we saw this this morning. I’ve seen Tess time after time as busy as she is stopping to listen, or advise, chide, or chastise. She has the gift of knowing just what to say and how to get someone in a better direction. Her staff is incredible and we are happy to help! Thanks for jumping right on this!

  • DB
    May 6, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Fred- fuck off

  • Lala
    May 6, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Matt what a great person you are! Tess has helped to open many of the restaurants in and around Lark Street and has helped shape Center Square into what it is now. I’m sure she will reopen the restaurant and it will be better than ever. I am pleased to see other local bar/restaurants jump to help her (like she would be doing if any of them were in this situation). I am all for a fundraiser and I’m sure I can speak for many other Center Square residents, would love to volunteer my time to get this up and running again. Cheers to you and your honorable personality.

    Ps… where is Dejohn in all of this?

  • Denise
    May 6, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Thank you so much for getting this started, you truly are a great friend to Tess…I will be donating as much as I can and in the mean time, I am a local HR Director in the area, my job is finding others jobs and helping that process. If there is anything I can do I’d be happy to help…clean up duty to resumes and job hunting for people…I’m ready to give back to Tess and her Staff.

  • Christy Douglas
    May 6, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Maybe instead of a Friday Puppy giveaway today, Friday Puppy readers can give. Pass it on.

  • Will & Raj
    May 6, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Tess is the Best!
    Lark Tavern is our favorite neighborhood bar for a drink , food, regular meeting spot , and excuse not to cook.
    People – Stay positive and join in helping our friend!
    Thanks Matt )

  • Jay
    May 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I think donating for lost wages is a wonderful idea. I actually work in insurance, so even if you have the best coverage in the world, getting paid out takes a while because the company goes through quite a bit to make sure that they are legally bound to pay out. Insurance companies aren’t in the business of raining money on people, so it will be some time before she gets whatever she is going to get. It’s not as easy as some people are making it seem (Fred, Johnny, etc).

    In any event, my heart goes out to everyone suffering as a result. Tess is such an incredible person and she does not deserve this. I hope they’re able to get up and running soon!

  • DB
    May 6, 2010 at 11:51 am


  • Steve
    May 6, 2010 at 11:51 am

    It’s hard to hear the news about the Tavern. When I was a little younger, I played quite a few gigs and spent many evenings hanging out with friends there, whether it be for some great food or a few drinks. My wife and I were there with friends recently. It’s been a place I’ve gone back to time and time again.

    I’ve known Tess for about 10 years, never very well, but enough to always talk for a few minutes when we crossed paths. She has ALWAYS been very kind, and the news that she is thinking about her staff more than her business or herself at this time comes as no surprise to me. She’s a very giving person, and a good soul. While it’s been a local icon for a long time, something changed at the Tavern when Tess became the owner. She, and the staff, turned that place into a special experience.

    The community has suffered a tragedy today, I grieve for this tragic loss, offer my support, and encourage others to do the same.

  • Loren Serritella
    May 6, 2010 at 11:53 am

    sorry mine posted twice. not sure what I did.

  • Sam Breslin
    May 6, 2010 at 11:55 am

    When I was deciding whether to move to Albany for law school, my best friend and I drove out from Mass to check out the school/town. We were totally lost, and ended up parking somewhere in Washington Park. Shortly thereafter we stumbled upon Lark Tavern, and saddled up for a beer and a burger – it was an off hour, so the place was pretty much empty – within a few minutes I knew I would be moving here. Tess and the other staff literally sold me on Albany, on the law school, and of course on the Tavern. For the last four years Lark Tavern has been among our favorite spots, and I can’t wait for Tess and the crew to get back to business, even better than before. Matt – great job putting this together so quickly.

  • Luke Jonathan
    May 6, 2010 at 11:55 am


  • Jeffrey
    May 6, 2010 at 11:57 am

    OMG, this is horrible!! I’ve spent many a night there and have ALWAYS had a wonderful time! That and Tess is such a wonderful and loving person!! My heart goes out!

  • Rog
    May 6, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Matt, I’ve known you most of my life and you have always been a caring guy! Tess is also one of the most caring individuals I have ever met! It makes sense why you guys are friends. The community will rally around her until she is able to re-open the doors. Oh……….and…..Fred, the world is full of assholes and you are a big one.

  • Brea
    May 6, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I think its a great thing that you instantly showed the community what a great person Tess is. I have never been to the LT but its a favorite spot of many of my friends. Good people with good karma will always come out on top and with the help of our community I think this is a way the LT can be rebuilt bigger and stronger. Also I think setting up the paypal is a great way to help out workers,Tess herself and whomever else needs it. Keep doing what youre doing, you and her have some of the most successful buisnesses in Albany for a reason.

    And Fred, its people like you that try to bring others down in a time of tragedy. Who cares about the insurance? I bet if you lost your job today and you had an opportunity to get paid and support yourself/family until the insurance check comes in months from now you would greatly appreciate strangers donating to your cause, and I guaruntee when all this is said and done Tess, being the giving person she is would do some type of thing for people who donated. Being a selfish person in someone else’s time of need makes you look pathetic.

  • sara
    May 6, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    some of the best people I know…good idea Matt- another one of the most caring people i know : )

  • Hopeful
    May 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Fred, Fuck you.

  • Rob C VP
    May 6, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Tess is one of the 1st friends I met when I moved to Albany (over 14 years ago). She is one of the most generous and giving person I know. It is so sad that a tragedy like this had to happen to her and her business. I know that we all send our virtual hugs of support to Tess and to her family and staff and friends during this time. It is hard to think of the Lark Street area without seeing The Lark Tavern.
    Tonight is the Lark Street BID’s “Champagne on the Park”.The fire at Tess

  • Jacky
    May 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    All my love to Tess and the staff… i love it there.. my tues/thurs lunches are my favorites when i get to go there…. good vibes, good outcomes, good everything….

    i’ll do what i can. All my love.

  • Eric
    May 6, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Fred, you open your statement by saying:
    “I am not a restaurant owner, so I cant speak about that and I don

  • Terry McClain
    May 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I was just there last night performing at the open mic and I have played numerous benefits Tess has organized. If anyone gets on the ball and organizes a music benefit for her and her staff, there would be no shortage of volunteers. We all love the Lark Tavern.

  • Linda K.
    May 6, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I go to the tavern at least once a week, when friends are in town it is the place I take them for great food and fun. Tess ALWAYS takes the time to say hello, it always feels like family there. It is hard to accurately express the kindest I always see in Tess. She is a driven humanitarian, selfless in her good deeds. Her staff is a reflection of Tess, all good people. In addition to monetary assistance, I am open to anything that is needed to help in the Taverns recovery and in the support of Tess.

  • Alicia Ortiz
    May 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Tess & staff, we love you. We’ve shared jokes, smiles & laughs.

    Anything you need, don’t hesitate to put it out to the community. We’ll be there in a heartbeat.

    p.s. Matt- your recall of the voicemail Tess left for you brought tears to my eyes.

  • Pingback: bryanthomas.com » Thanks, Tess

  • Fred
    May 6, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    what is matt’s experince with fire claims. Is he an insurance adjuster. Answer: NO. that is all I said. If he was personally screwed over in the past, that is just one perspective. Do you know for a fact, right now, that Tess will BE fairly or unfairly treated by Insurance.??????Who knows, maybe it will work out. that is all I am saying. Is it not pessimistic to think everyone is out to screw everyone else. I had a fire claim 5 years ago and felt that my insurance company was very fair with me.

  • Paul
    May 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    You’re a good man, Matt. Thank you for doing this. Tess and her staff are truly part of my family and I am so sad this happened. However, she is resilient and has such good karma that no doubt, she will reopen sooner than later to continue her mission in life: the best mom, friend, companion and proprietor of the best bar in town. Love you!!

  • Steve Basile
    May 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Matt, I salute you for getting the ball rolling on this.

    I AM a business owner, and I DO know about insurance. It’s expensive. It has coverage limits. It has deductibles. It has depreciation schedules. Loss payments take a long time to arrive. Trying to get all risk or “full coverage” insurance is prohibitively expensive for a business, so you have to make trade-offs with high deductibles and accept some gaps.

    Having just seen friends go through a total home loss on Christmas Day, with allegedly “full coverage” I have seen the same sorts of shortfalls in home insurance as well. So please,don’t speculate about things you do not know about and accept the fact that a disaster has occurred for this beloved business, one which will impact its staff for quite a while, and that money will help.

    GIVE if you can, and feel like helping some neighbors who need help. If not, don’t but just SHUT UP and go read the comics.

  • Chris
    May 6, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Don’t have money to give, but would sure love to put in a few hours to help rebuild. I bet there would be a ton of people that would love to help in this manner.

  • Love for the Lark Tavern
    May 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Hey Matt–

    Is there any way you can keep us updated as to how much money you’ve raised so far? I’ve seen this blog get mentions in almost every news story I’ve read on the Lark Tavern; and I’d love know know how much of an impact we’re making :)

  • knee
    May 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Matt, you are such a great guy. I haven’t been to the Lark Tavern in a while but I cried reading this post and all the caring words I’ve read about Tess throughout the day. I agree with the poster that said you should give the Thursday giveaway to Tess and her employees. They need it more than we do. Good luck Tess and staff!

  • kat
    May 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I love the tavern as much as the next center square-ian and i’m going to be hard pressed to find another bar this weekend that i would enjoy as much as Tess’, but I’m shocked at people’s response to Fred’s comment.

    He is, in fact, correct. And depending on the insurance company/policy that Tess may have, she very well could receive a check within the first 24 hours to cover immediate expense. Including, but not limited to, lost wages for her employees.

    I think Fred’s point is that we shouldn’t assume insurance wouldn’t cover even 1/2 of what Tess needs, as Matt stated. Could Matt be correct? Of course, especially if Tess purchased a basic policy for a low premium with insufficient coverage or an actual cash value policy. As an insurance agent for the last decade, do I agree with what Fred said – but not the spirit with which it was said.

    Donating money to help with the recovery is a fantastic idea because Tess’ Tavern isn’t just another business in Albany. It’s one of the best parts of Center Square and though I don’t know her personally, I’ve seen her influence around a community that wouldn’t be the same without her. But do we really need to attack someone while trying to help someone else?

  • Megan Kylee Mclean
    May 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Contact: ( Facebook) Megan Kylee Mclean: mkm_free@yahoo.com/ (518) 542-9293.
    HAIR STYLISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was a horrible fire at the Lark Tavern last night… I’m looking for LOCAL HAIR STYLIST/ARTIST to do a CUT- A- THON to raise money for Tess and the wonderful, wonderful people who work there!! PLEASE contact me if you are willing to donate your time!!!!!!!!! GIVING BACK IS THE NEW BLACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? ?

  • Danielle
    May 6, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    is there a way to dontate without using a credit card? I would love to give cash! My first legal drink at 21 was at the tavern!!!! So sorry this had to happen to such a great place!

  • Katie
    May 6, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Matt, you are so thoughtful for doing this. I love Lark Tavern, and cannot wait for the big re-opening! Lots of love to Tess and the whole staff!

  • Kerosena
    May 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Fuck you, Fred.

  • Tammy P
    May 6, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    It’s so great to see that so much money was raised in just a few hours. I’m sure the donations will continue to stream in.

  • Ted R
    May 6, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    The Lark Tavern will rise again, I’m confident of that. In the meantime, here’s hoping that more restaurants and bars in the area will follow Matt’s lead and take her beloved staff members under their wings while Tess (and the greater community) help to pick up the pieces and rebuild. Bartenders, bouncers, cooks, dishwashers… they’re a great group of people, and they’re truly what makes LT such a special place.

  • Melissa
    May 6, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you Matt for setting up a fund for Tess & her staff!

  • Shannon
    May 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    You’re the best, Matt! So many of us are thinking of Tess and her amazing staff and feel personally connected to Lark Tavern. Here’s hoping it’s a quick process and we’re all back to our favorite spot soon!

  • Erica
    May 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I first started frequenting the Lark Tavern when I moved to Willett St back in 2002, darts, great food, great beer, great people, great memories. In particular, I recall having a “girl weekend” with my friends from out of town, and of course we went to the LT. It was a slow night and my friend tackled (I am talking pointy boots in the air) my other friend to the floor (right in front of the mens bathroom) saying “kiss it bitch”….and a bit of a friendly brawl ensued. Tess was behind the bar, and her very calm comment was, “Wow, I am in the wrong business with you girls! I need to get a jello pit!” This is a story we still laugh about 8 years later.

    Tess, as busy as she is, somehow manages to make every customer feel like she knows them personally and they are WELCOME. When I heard the news this morning, my immediate thoughts went to her directly.

    Reading all this only reinforced what I already surmised about Tess. She is an amazing, strong, talented, and beautiful (inside and out) woman. I have no doubt, that if there is extra money left over after all of this that she will put it to a good cause.

  • Jeff
    May 6, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    If you go to the Lark Tavern web page (http://www.larktavern.com/) there is an ironic announcement for a benefit for the Contampasis Gallery, which also suffered loss due to a fire. It just goes to show what everybody has been saying- Tess and crew give so much to the community. I don’t get there as often as I would like, but whenever my friends and I go to the Lark, Tess treats us like old friends who are there for breakfast lunch and dinner every day of the week.

    I know the word tragedy gets thrown around a lot, but nobody got hurt, and that is by far the most important thing. The building can be rebuilt; the employees will land on their feet and Tess will bring back the place we love before we know it. This is not a tragedy, it is a test, and I have no doubt that Tess will pass with flying colors!

    Matt, you are to be applauded for your efforts to help what is essentially “the competition”. I do not know you, except from reading your blogs and eating at your restaurants, but I am certain that you never considered that angle for even a second, and I am also certain that you are not comfortable getting any praise for your efforts, so I will stop now.

  • Matt K
    May 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Oh no! My friends and I spent the tail end of my 21st birthday at the Lark Tavern (that was a real long time ago – I doubt Tess was there yet) and we’ve spent many a night there celebrating something or other since then. I can remember plenty of times that the Lark Tavern sponsored all kinds of charitable events through the years – plus if Matt says Tess is good people, you know it’s true ;-)

    I wish I could donate more `cuz regardless of what “people” like Fred and Kat say, there aren’t going to be any insurance claims checks in time for these folks to pay their electric bill this week, or for their car payments, or to buy groceries – or last minute Mother’s Day presents.

    Let’s hope they’ll be up & running again soon!

  • Milwaukee Erich
    May 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Having moved away from Albany over 2 years ago, I miss the Lark Tavern, Tess, Jess, Alex, and all the freinds I have found there. The drive that Tess has to be sucessful, is only out weighed by the size of her heart. I wish her and her staff the best. This news comes to me with certain tragedy, as I work in Fire Protection. Even 900 miles away, I feel as though I need to help, to give to some one who has given so much to me.

  • daleyplanit
    May 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Even if the place has the best coverage money can buy there’s still going to be a gap. I’ve got a 100 year old house with higher replacement cost that market value because of things like plaster walls and a slate roof. Sometimes you’ve got to take a risk and insure for less – covering rebuilding, but not to full restoration.

    Second, we’re entering into what I would think is the prime season for lark street – the corporate challenge tulipfest, events galore – all of them this month alone – summer on lark street is a businesses’ bread and butter. So state farm gives you a check for the replacement of your priceless stuff, then what?

    Tess has put her heart and soul into that bar and the people who go there know it. She’s stepped up for us in the past. I hope she’ll rebuild, but that’s going to be her call. Whatever she decides to do, she’s earned it.

  • Miss SJ Albany
    May 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Matt this is wonderful of you to set up! I’ll be donating later on simply because at this point I kinda spent all my money last night at Lark Tavern. Tess is so great, it is really heartwarming to see such an outpouring of support for her. No one deserves it more. I am certain the Lark Tavern will come back in no time better than before.

  • Maureen Lundberg
    May 6, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Matt – Thank you so much for helping. What a sad thing to happen. We went by the restaurant today with two full trolleys of people and EVERYONE was very sad. The people standing in front just looked so sad. It is an honor to contribute to the fund, as I hope many people will do. Thank you for your kind and quick work. Let me know if there is anything we can do.

  • Thursday John
    May 6, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    The LT was my regular for lunch every Thursday before I retired. Tess is a great person as is Alex and the rest of the staff. Of course I go back to the days of Chaz and even to Mr. Bill. But I feel bad for all the current Lark people. I just donated to the fund. Chin up Tess.

  • Valerie
    May 6, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Tess…Love ya and am thinking about you call if you need anything. Matt, I have been a great fan of your blog for a few months now but today cemented what an extraordinary person you are. You both rock!

  • gregoryB
    May 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Matt well done on setting the paypal up so quickly. Tess, keep your head up. The citizens of Albany wants you to stay around a lot longer and will not let your business go quietly into the night.

  • JR
    May 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    @ Anyone Who Thinks Insurance Is Magic:

    If Tess doesn’t need the money we’re donating she’s the kind of lady that will find an awesome use for it one way or another. I’m proud to have a person in our community like her and my donation couldn’t be in better hands.

  • Christopher
    May 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks for putting up this donation site/link so quickly. Tess is truly an angel. When I heard of the fire this AM I immediately though of all the good she’s done & how could I help her. I will donate $$, time, whatever as the kindness she’s touched this great earth with a $$ value can not be placed.

  • Marc D
    May 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    wh th fck crs bt Lrk Tvrn..T bd th fr ws’nt t Bmbrs… sshl

  • Kevin
    May 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    So much will be missed, I can only hope for a quick rejuvenation!!

  • Paul Fowler
    May 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    We are happy to donate to Tess, her staff, and the Tavern. She gives to us and the community and we happily give back. It is my hope she gets 100% back from insurance and another 120% from us. I know the Tavern staff very well and they deserve it. I already miss their company, the proper Long Island Ice Tea and Ceasar Wings. :-( I can’t wait to be able to go back.

  • Josh Jones
    May 6, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    It is such a shame when tragedy strikes, especially when it happens to such good people. (By good people I mean Tess and her staff of course). I have been to LT a few times and introduced to Tess on occasion. Based on my own experience, I know these very important things: I always have a good time when I am there. Tess is always working extremely hard everytime I see her, yet, is somehow never too busy to stop and chat. She treats the community and LT staff like an extended family, and always expresses her appreciation for your business! Most of all, long before I’d ever been to LT, I heard nothing but positive buzz about Tess. Though I can’t say I know her well, it is my pleasure to be acquainted with her. She must be a truly good hearted woman for everyone in the community to speak so highly of her and her establishment. Never have I heard a single unfavorable word uttered regarding Tess or LT.

    I would like to extend my thanks for many good times and best wishes in efforts to rebuild and create future good times. May God’s peace be with Tess and her staff.

    Also, thank you to Matty B. for extending his support. My experiences with your establishments have been quite similar. The support and kinds words of many certainly could help Tess and her staff make it through this tough time together.

  • Lena
    May 6, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Holy Crap! I just saw this on the news! How did the fire start? Tess is a great woman, and business owner! The community needs to help her!

  • John
    May 6, 2010 at 6:34 pm


    I reposted your blog post here on our front page for folks to see. Let me know if that’s not cool with you. Otherwise I could just post a link there. Take care, and thanks for setting all this up. As a church we are all about community wherever it happens to be, and the Lark Tavern was All about community. Take care…

  • Luis
    May 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    We went over to Lark Tavern on the first night I met my wife (right after we’d been to Bomber’s of course) and I’m pretty sure Tess’ bartending skills were pretty key to me ending up a married man.

    Matt, you rock and I hope the donations keep coming in.

  • Julia
    May 6, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Omg!! Lark Tavern is an institution!!! I <3 Tess!! Getting on that right now!! <3

  • Nina
    May 6, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I just heard the news this afternoon – I couldn’t believe my ears – it was like a good friend had been in a horrific accident! Tess is so wonderful and giving and strong and just freakin amazing on so many levels…I want to get the artists of the area together to do something to help out too – she has helped us so much and has always been especially supportive of the arts. Anyone with ideas, or who wants to help, or is already setting something up (count me in!) – email me at nina.stanley@uagmembers.org. And be sure to donate through this site ! (thanks matt)!

  • Kurt-O
    May 6, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Let’s all hope Fred takes this chance to reflect and make a decision about whether or not he wants to be an asshole for the rest of his life. I’m gonna go with asshole for life.

    A business is more than a building. It’s bartenders and wait staff and dish washers and cooks, all without a job because of a tragedy. Good people in our community. If you don’t want to help, fine. But, Fred, just shut the fuck up.

  • shy
    May 6, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    FUCK YOU FRED!!! My name is Shy im the chef and kitchen manager at the lark tavern for 7 yrs also im Tess’ girlfriend. with that said Tess wants me that thank everyone for all the love and support we all feel very loved. Everyone keeps talking about the insurance heres the deal people we dont own the building. This is out of our hands. We dont know what could happen. Again Tess thanks you all.

  • Fred P
    May 6, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Tess makes us “all” feel welcome… I spend an occasional friday evening there with my coworkers… and we love the staff… and then there are the saturday night dinners there with other friends… we love walking to Tess’s. What more need I say. Oh, I know…. get ‘er done Tess… we need you back in business fast!!

  • shahila
    May 6, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    FUCK YOU FRED!!!!! Hey everyone im the chef and kitchen manager at the Lark Tavern for the past 7 yrs. Im also Tess’ girlfriend with that said she wants me to thank you all for all the love and support you have showed all of us. We feel very loved right now. For everyone thats trying to put this puzzle together heres the pieces WE DONT OWN THE BUILDING!!!!!!! Tess is also worried about our 35 staff members out of work.

  • Jim and Augie
    May 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you, Matt, for setting this up. It’s great to see the community pulling together at a time like this.

  • jazz’s daughter
    May 6, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    What a difference a few hours make. When I woke up I was shocked to hear such horrible news about the Lark. I immediately thought about Tess and her staff, and Jazz, my Dad. Who else would have had a wedding shower and baby shower at the Lark Tavern but Jazz’s kids? Within such a short time this tragic thing has been turned around by such a wonderful community. Tess has been such an inspiration to so many and there is nothing I can say that hasn’t already been shared except I am one more who wants to give back to someone who always pays it forward.

  • Megan Perry
    May 6, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Tess looked out for me since before I even knew I needed looking out for. I practically lived at Hollywood when she was there, and she pretty much watched me grow up. As a former Lark St. resident and business owner myself I know the community will pull through and get the tavern back on it’s feet!

  • Kacey
    May 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I am a member of Charmed & Dangerous and the Lark Tavern has been our home for quite a few years now. We have been touched by Tess’ random acts of kindness toward the people in this community. If people are in need, Tess is there, whether it be with money, food or words of wisdom. It’s a pretty safe bet that anyone who has had the fortune to have a sit down with this lady left the conversation feeling like a better person. If you were standing at the bar ordering a drink from Alex or any of the other ladies, you were made to feel as if those drinks were designed just for you! They were the most fabulous cocktails around especially when served with those dazzling smiles! Sitting down for a meal guaranteed you were licking your fingers and rolling yourself out the door. I can vouch for this personally. Any help that can be given to this amazing crew is well deserved. They have all done their part in building up the community surrounding them, It’s time to do our part! Lastly kids, lets keep the negative energy away from this. Positivity is what will re-build the Lark. I love you Tess, Shy and Lark Girls! ~Cocoa

  • K.Goldman
    May 6, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    My warmest wishes go out to Tess and her staff.
    Tess and go way back, and she has always been one of my favorite gal pals!
    My thoughts are with my dear friend Tess. Thank you Matt. You’re an angel :)
    love, Karen

  • Shannon M. (DJ Jezebel in Hell)
    May 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    We will set up a donation box this Saturday at our goth/industrial dance night Original Sin over at Valentine’s starting this weekend. Our DJ’s start spinning just before midnight and let’s hope everyone isn’t totally passed out from Tulip Fest! We will see if we can organize something a little more elaborate for our next gig on 5/22.

  • Gruyber
    May 6, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Okay… I hope I don’t get the Fred treatment for daring to give something other than praise, but I really don’t like the idea of giving to this cause. Why? Because I don’t know where the money will go. Were it specifically for certain employees who are going to be out of a job and in a desperate situation, then it would be worth considering (I assume most will be eligible for unemployment benefits). Since we don’t know where it’s going, then it’s possible it will be used to help rebuild the place. Some of the commenters here seem fine with that, but I’m not. If I’m going to invest money in a business then I want to see a return on it. And no, I don’t think just having it back in business is that much of a benefit to me.
    Please don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that people want to help out. I’d just like this “charity” to be a little less vague as to where the money goes before I consider donating. I’m also not trying to trash the Lark Tavern. I’ve enjoyed the time I have spent there and really do hope that it can be reopened quickly.

  • Pete Agostinello
    May 6, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Waterworks Pub will also set up a donation box this friday night at the door. My bartenders and I will also be donating a large portion of our TIPS. It is unbelievable when tragedy strikes, but its heart wrenching when it falls upon one of your own. Tess and company, our hearts and wallets will be with you during these tough times.
    Much love

  • Matt Baumgartner
    May 6, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    @ Gruyber…

    a. You’re a coward for not using your real name.
    b. Why do you look for the worst in people? You clearly don’t know Tess. Even if the money DID go towards rebuilding The Lark Tavern, then everyone wins because the woman throws more fundraisers for people in need than you are clearly aware of.
    c. It’s called GIVING. It’s what friends and neighbors do.

  • Michael P. Farrell
    May 6, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Nice response Matt!

    It’s called Giving.

  • mike graney
    May 7, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Speaking from first hand experience, I can tell you that insurance doesn’t cover half of what your real losses are (not including business interruption), so any money donated will go to good use.

    My place had a devasting fire only 7 months after I opened in 2002. As I was driving to the bar, (after a buddy had broken into my house to tell me my business was on fire), all I could think of was: 1) I pray no one is dead/hurt, and 2) what are my employees going to do?

    I’m sure that’s exactly what Tess was thinking about the last 24 hours. The money will go where it needs to. No one needs to worry about that with Tess.

    After our fire, sooooo many people stepped up and helped us even though we were a relatively new bar. Watching people reach out to help, when you’re going thru a tragedy, is a very humbling experience.

    Get ready to be humbled Tess. You’ve developed a tremendous amount of wonderful relationships while in this business and it will all come full circle in the upcoming weeks. I’l reach out after things calm down a bit.

    My thoughts are with you! ;)

    Mike Graney
    Graney’s Bar & Grill

  • Ted R
    May 7, 2010 at 12:32 am

    $9,000 so far! This is truly amazing!

  • Andrey
    May 7, 2010 at 12:43 am

    O joy that in our embers Is something that doth live. William Wordsworth

  • karen
    May 7, 2010 at 1:47 am

    @matt, you should have removed gruyber’s vowels.

  • bonnie kelleher
    May 7, 2010 at 5:13 am

    I have never met Tess, but have been to her place many times, of those times I stopped by, several were to support a fund raising event being held there. A charity that I am involved with was supposed to have a fund raiser there next Friday night. I will be happy to give money to Tess, I’m certain that she will do right by everyone who donates to this fund. Thanks Matt, for setting this up.

  • Lisa Frisch
    May 7, 2010 at 6:25 am

    If Tess or any of her employees need any legal advice, we can provide free legal consultations at The Legal Project. Matt, can you let Tess know if she needs us, to give us a call or send me an email? 435-1770. This is a terrible tragedy and a big loss, but it warms the heart to see how everyone is stepping up to help. Thanks, Matt, for being there for your friend and for your community.

  • Patrick Ball
    May 7, 2010 at 6:31 am

    I agree Matt. Anyone whose takes three seconds to get to know Tess knows that everything she does benefits others in some way. We all are donating to help get them back on their feet. I don’t care how my money helps make that happen, as long as it does.

  • Chris D
    May 7, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Gruyber, are you a fucking bank? Return on your investment? Return to your empty shell of a life. If you knew Tess, she is not about money more about community. She is the Mother Teresa of Albany, who the hell care what she does with the money cause she will donate it away even to a jackass like yourself.

  • Kacey
    May 7, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Clearly Gruyber has not been blessed enough by being cared for by Tess. She is THE most giving person I’ve ever known. She would literally take the shirt off of her own back to help a neighbor in need. She is generous to a fault. If you’ve ever seen her running around her establishment, stressed out beyond belief because she wants to make money , “this family is in need”, “this person is gravely ill and cannot pay the bills”. I do not worry at ALL where my money is going, I do not need to know exactly where it is being placed. I know it is going somewhere good.
    Gruyber, Fred, may you both be blessed by someone’s act of kindness one day so you can know what we are talking about. Peace be with you…

  • Judy
    May 7, 2010 at 7:13 am

    We’ve been to the Lark several times over the years. It’s one of the few places we could go to watch and listen to our son and his numerous bands play where we felt like we belonged. Tess was always very welcoming. She has been so supportive of the community and young musicians, and we will support her as much as we can. The Brodeur family.

  • slilly
    May 7, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Big hugs from the Lillys to everyone at the Lark. We know Tess will be back better than ever and look forward to that day coming as soon as possible.

  • Mark
    May 7, 2010 at 8:26 am

    @Gruyber…….you are what is wrong with society today, you are thoughtless, uncaring and just plain stupid.

    I’m embarrassed for you. Moron.

  • Markie
    May 7, 2010 at 8:30 am

    The money will go to the 35 dedicated, hard working and loyal employees, (YES, dedicated, hard working and loyal…….3 words that are not in most people’s vocabulary anymore) who need to pay rent, buy food, put gas in the car, buy medications, feed their pets…….

    I’m amazed at the Gruyber guy. Is he really that hardened and nasty?

  • Jeff
    May 7, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Sad day for Albany…
    Love Tess, Love her staff and Love the Chicken Pesto Wrap they would make special for me…
    Thanks Matt for setting this up..

  • Jeff
    May 7, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Oh.. and on Gruybers comment..
    I wonder how many time Tess have given and given w/out knowing 100% where the money is going.. !! I dont have to worry where it goes just that Tess has it to use how she needs.. Love doesnt come with strings!

  • Kim S
    May 7, 2010 at 9:11 am

    @76 Marc D: how dare you… you are disgusting.

  • Jessica R
    May 7, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Tess always donated food to our production of “The Vagina Monologues” the last three years. We then were able to save costs, and turn around and donate our profits to local charities that benefit women. Tess, thank you for your generosity! I am so happy to see so much money being raised already!

  • Sudz
    May 7, 2010 at 9:37 am

    No one has ever become poor by giving.
    Anne Frank

  • Luke Jonathan
    May 7, 2010 at 9:39 am

    gruyber needs a time out, and a hug, i think, maybe a friend? although i think i can guess why he probably doesn’t have any.

  • Gruyber
    May 7, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Matt, let me apologize because my words apparently came out wrong. Also, perhaps I inadvertently indicated being on Fred’s side. I was simply trying to give some helpful criticism. I’m certainly not looking for the worst in anyone.
    Perhaps if I knew Tess personally I would not have posted that. Fair enough. Do note that I did not accuse anyone of anything.

    And to those with some of the more vicious respomses to me, I really believe that that sort of reaction to someone who simply expressed some reservations has a real potential of ultimately hurting a cause like this. I would suggest keeping that in mind. Then again I recognize I may have come off the wrong way. I really shouldn’t have started out by mentioning Fred.

  • Mike D
    May 7, 2010 at 10:04 am


    I think I speak for everyone when I say we’d definitely attend a fundraiser for Tess, especially if it were held at the garten.

  • veek
    May 7, 2010 at 10:11 am

    we really feel for tess and all of the people touched by this fire. we lost our home early christmas morning to a fire down here in austin, tx. we were also fortunate in that my husband, two kids, and two dogs were able to escape unharmed – but did so with only the clothing (and collars) on our backs. it is a devastating experience to lose everything. it is like sailing without a rudder. while i would not wish this on anyone, i do know that tess and her staff are about to experience a similarly amazing outpouring, a sheer tidal wave, of generosity and love from her community like we have from our small community. matt is right, insurance is never enough. and while we don’t have much at all, we wanted to contribute to tess and lark tavern as our way of paying it forward. best of luck, tess. may your road to recovery be a smooth one and may you find strength from unexpected sources. oxoxox veek

  • Sridar and Sita
    May 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Tess and Alex..we are so sorry
    LT has been a home away from home since we moved to Albany in 2002. The food, the ambience but most important the PEOPLE. You always walked out of lark making more friends that you walked in with. Tess has also supported many a cause in the community. Love you guys. You will be back on your feet soon…hang in there

  • MD
    May 7, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I am so happy to see people giving so generously.
    A true testament to Tess and her staff.

  • Crystine
    May 7, 2010 at 11:23 am

    We have a donation box at Valentines that will go directly to the employees of Lark Tavern.

  • Kacey
    May 7, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Kudos, Gruyber, for eating humble pie. That’s not easy. You are right, you should never have mentioned Fred. I totally agree, as I mentioned before, we need to keep this as positive as possible. Tess and the Lark Girls have had enough negativity. It really does have an impact on all of this. Look how much money has been raised so far, that’s indicative of the love that is surrounding these wonderful people. If you know Tess, you know she is all about love and light. Let’s focus on that. Let’s not perpetuate the negative BS. Incidentally, Matt, you are truly a wonderful friend and human being for honoring Tess by setting up this forum and fund. Peace be with you….

  • Eddie
    May 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I’ll start by saying I didn’t see anything wrong with Gruyber’s post.

    As for the Lark Tavern, I don’t go there all that often – maybe once a month – but every time I’ve been, Tess has gone out of her way to welcome me and my friends which is why I keep coming back. She even let me close my tab after only having one drink and not meeting the $10 card limit (which I think is bs by the way). I’ve always felt that Tess takes great pride in how she and her employees treat their customers which is more than I can say about a lot of bars Center Square and Albany. When the place reopens I’ll definitely go above and beyond the $10 card limit!

  • Jessica
    May 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    It’s so nice that 99.9% of the comments (or close to it) are so positive, and such a testament to Tess and her staff. This makes me proud of Albany. I echo all those above and also just wanna say to #76, I love that your vowels were stolen.

  • Ric Orlando
    May 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Hey Tess- Contact me for donation of chow for workers, out of workers or whatever. I can feed you!

  • Mary Jude
    May 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Matt, I am a good friend of Tess’s as well as you are and I believe we may have met before. Thank you for all you said. I don’t know where to begin to express my heartfelt Prayers and thoughts that are with Tess right now (and as a matter of fact, I have her in my Prayers on a daily basis), that is the amount of what I feel for her and that she really means to me, this will not surprise her, in fact it may definitely have crossed her mind early on that Mary Jude has probably Prayed for me already and I will be conveying all of that to her very soon. I knew she had a lot on her mind yesterday and I had to get my bearings, sentimental person that I am. On a Spiritual level I look at the people and all that are involved here-not something as a building or as a material item but it is a place in the heart, a true spirit that does exist in a place because of the people and that is how I feel about this., The memories are strong and I look at the restaurant as a haven so to speak, when you have needed it, you could go there and it was just great, a certain peace and comfort, so that is what I want to say about Tess, the staff and The Lark Tavern, a special place in my heart. that I Thank God for. I will keep all of this in my Prayers. I will be supporting Tess and that fund as best I can. I thank you again for your kind words. God Bless, Mary Jude

  • Dave Kanyan www.davekanyan.webs.com
    May 7, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I am sure I can speak on behalf of the “Albany Area Comedians”, (many of us who got our start at the “Comedy On The Park” stand up comedy open mics on Sunday nights) that if there is a show that talent is needed we would be more than happy to make people laugh as we have in the past. There are probably 50 comics or more that can do any amount of time onstage to help get Tess and her family back on their feet!
    Give us a call, we’ll be there! NO JOKE!

  • Mo Haskins
    May 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Seriously those who are only focusing on the whole insurance comment (Fred) need to go somewhere else, this is a tragedy and you are getting into an argument about something unrelated. Congrats at being ants at a picnic and pissing people off for attention. I am one of the many comedians who got their start at lark and this is like our Mecca. May 6th is a sad day from now on.

  • Russ Davignon
    May 7, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Lark Tavern has been the birth place of a host of great area Comics and anything I can do to help I will. Lark Tavern and Tess are wonderful and weather you were a regular customer, or a new Comic who took a class there, or someone who got up at their Comedy open mic, now is the time to join together and repay them for all they have done for Albany, The Capital District and for local entertainment.

  • scottybro
    May 7, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Matty….. right on buddy, please give Tess my best

  • Erin
    May 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Over $12K! Amazing! I love and adore both Tess and Lark Tavern. That’s all.

  • Mike D
    May 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Here’s to a speedy recovery!!

  • DB
    May 7, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Gruyber- fuck off

  • Robert D
    May 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm


    The Lark Tavern has been such an intergral part of the community. What it gives is invaluable. Thank you Tess, and thanks Matt for setting this up.

  • mike shaver
    May 7, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Help Lark Tavern
    Start Time: Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 5:00pm
    End Time: Friday, May 14, 2010 at 1:00am
    Location: Nottingham Chop House on Wolf RD Albany, Ny

    Description Lets help Tess and her staff raise money. She would do it for anyone of us. A portion of the sales after 5pm till close will go straight to tess and lark tavern. Please invite everyone you know.

  • Lisa Pelton
    May 7, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    I cannot express enough how saddened I am about this awful situation. To Tess and the staff at Lark Tavern, even though I don’t frequent there as often as I used to, it doesn’t matter, because being there is like being with family no matter how long it’s been. It’s really sad that certain people have used this as an opportunity to bash the bar and say horrible things. If you have truly spent any time there or know what the establishment is about, you would never utter those words. I spent some of my best times there and always knew that it was a great place to go with whomever I was with. Like so many before me have posted…let’s become one as a community and help out in any way that we can. Don’t let idiots take away from how we were brought up, looking out for others, making sure our friends are taken care of and doing what is right. I know I take great pride in knowing that all of this is going to a great cause, a great woman and rebuilding a great place. Love you guys!

  • shy
    May 8, 2010 at 12:06 am

    hey this is the chef at the lark tavern for the past 7 yrs. just want everyone to know how much your love and support means to me and my lark family and to the few assholes out there FUCK YOU!! you think you know what your talking about but heres the thing Tess doesnt own the building its out of her hands!!! she cant do shit and she wont get shit.

  • Ursula
    May 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Way to go Matt! Any time to deal with this kind of loss is hard, but in this economy, for owners and staff alike, its just terrible. And same goes for the community, The Lark Tavern has been an icon and it’s loss is a physical and emotional blow to the capital district as well. (I X-posted a link to the fund on my pen name facebook.)

  • Shawn Jeune
    May 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I just wanted to say that i have enjoyed going to the lark tavern. The staff there are absoultely amazing! Tess always makes everyone feel like family. I had one of the best birthday parties this past year at the tavern. Tess constantly does fundraisers for community families who have suffered with health issues, financial situations, tragedies. Anyone who knows Tess knows that she is so genuine; it is very unique to find such an amazing person in Tess and her staff. @ Gruyber, you do not have to donate any money to any cause you choose not to. I think that for you to go on here and suggest that people not donate because of a lack of knowing where the money is going to go is not really an opinion that would ever be widely supported by the people on this site; I am sure you had to know that when posting this. Tess cares about people including her staff and I know that the money raised will go to the right people, because i know Tess. I also want to say to Matt Baumgartner that I think it is absolutely amazing everything you have done for Tess and her staff so far. It is this kind of support that speaks volumes about this community. I am so happy to have the opportunity to know so many great people since moving here 4 years ago.

  • larissa w.
    May 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm


    I think it is awesome how much money you have raised in a matter of days. I also think it is great how many people have been selfless and donated to a great cause. It is always good to see so many people come together when a horrible situation arises.

  • michael cocca
    May 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Well Fred and Goober,
    Obviosly, you had good luck with your claims, I did not. with inflation, you can never put back what was there, and this doesnt even count the loss of day to day revenue and tips these people are loosing.
    Youve also obviosly have not had good life experiences, or you wouldnt be this bitter, and for that i am sad for you.Maybe Mary Jude will pray for you.
    People in the capital district rally to help people, thats what we do, thats why the area is called Smallbany.
    If this offends you, maybe you should live in a big faceless city, where no one cares. in the meantime, all the regular humans will continue to do what their heart tells them, and for that, we all live in a better place.
    my beast to you all at the Lark.
    Im here if you need me

  • michael cocca
    May 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    That is ,My best to all at the lark.

  • Melissa J
    May 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Gave what we could, so sad, spent many a fun night at the Lark Tavern, best to Tess and her staff

  • george
    May 8, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    ????? srsl? $,?t smn wh hd ls srvc nd vrprcd wtr drnks?srsl? yr jst gvng hr k? dmb fcks! cnt wt tl m t f ths gdfrskn plc ppl r jst fckng stpd.dmb fcks.

  • Augie
    May 8, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Shy – In case anybody hasn’t told you, thank you for being there for Tess and the Lark family. You are a great support to this family and I love you. Whatever Jim and I can do….you know we will. Love ya both.

  • Matt D
    May 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    WOW!! Responses alone should tell idiots like Fred and Goobar the KIND (hearted) of person Tess and her staff are. I lived around the corner for yrs and have known Tess for a few more then that. Just to sum up for a few and I mean a few that don’t know her, the kind of soul she is. A few yrs back I moved an hour away. I was having a few on a Fri. night and Tess felt I had too many to drive home and insisted she drive me. I already had made arrangements to stay with a friend in Albany, but how many bar owners would do that? She is an AWESOME person to say the least. Her staff is among the best!! I wasn’t the least bit surprised that the first thing she looked for and was worried about was her staff finding employment. She is always putting others and her girls first.
    Further more as for a return on your investment (such a stupid comment this is not a retirement fund this is a cause) there is none better I have donated to or seen in a long time. These are local people needing assistance and the direct return is they will have money to help support themselves and their families. I could not ask for a better return on my so-called investment.

    My best wishes and thoughts go out to all involved with THE LARK TAVERN


  • Gruyber
    May 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Matt D, why am I an idiot? Because I don’t personally know Tess?

    By the way, if Matt B were correct and I always looked for the worst in people, I would look at all these “fuck you” comments and come away with a negative impression of Tess’ friends and therefore Tess herself. Fortunately I’m not actually like that and I recognize the herd mentality that is going on here and that some people, like shy, are understandably upset. Not everyone is like me though and that goes back to my last post where I tried to encourage people to keep things positive. If you’re going to lash out and scream “fuck you” every time someone thinks twice about donating money to rebuild your favorite drinking establishment (again, not saying that’s where the money is going), then you’re not doing anything to help this cause.

    And please, everyone, I don’t know anything about insurance claims and never said I did. I’m not Fred. I should never have mentioned him, and have acknowledged that. Please stop associating me with him. Oh and if you’re just looking for someone to attack, look for the posts that Matt took vowels away from. If you can figure out what they’re supposed to say, they look rather nasty and are probably more deserving of being piled on than me.

  • poshocergopropterhoc
    May 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I have to echo the concerns of a couple of other people on here who have been shouted down because their views are unpopular.

    Businesses have insurance for a reason. Employees have unemployment insurance for a reason.

    The desire to do something to right a wrong or fix a tragedy is very strong, but where is the oversight?

    Anyone who donates money to this “fund” has, for all intents and purposes, given a free cash gift to Matt Baumgartner, a restaurant owner in Albany who promises to donate it to the owner of Lark Tavern, another restaurant in the community.

    Is Matt a recognized public charity in the eyes of the NYS AG’s office, and is he paying taxes on his donated receipts? Has Tess even asked for the money? What happens if Tess, for tax or other reasons, doesn’t want the money because it could reduce the insurance payments that she is entitled to? Are her employees aware that if they receive compensation in lieu of their wages, they may no longer be entitled to full unemployment benefits?

    What happened to the days of sending donations to a trust held by a local bank, who had an ethical obligation to make sure the funds were used appropriately?

    I want Tess and the Lark Tavern to bounce back and for her continue doing all of the good that she does for Albany, but is this really the right way to do it?

  • daleyplanit
    May 9, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    I trust that even if in some event the funds don’t go to the tavern for some reason, that they’ll be used responsibly – to a charity or a good cause. Matt and Tess are competent business owners and respected members of the community. Their charachter has been tried and tested. They aren’t stupid. People are giving to people, not to a couple of bars. I don’t need proof that the donations are going to Tess. It’s an old fashioned trust. Matt and Tess have their reputations on the line and they know that. It’s trust that has made Bombers and The Lark Tavern successful. Nearly $20k committed, in just a couple of days? People are not donating because of burritos and vodka tonics.

  • Ken
    May 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Come on guys, really? This doesn’t have to turn into a political forum on taxes and unemployment. We’re just raising money to help OUR FRIENDS. Haven’t you heard posh? You’ve never been to Baumgartner Banks? oh It has trusts set up all over Albany!

  • Kacey
    May 9, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    @ George…..
    Boooooooo!!!! You need a time out and a vitamin water. You will feel better. Peace be with you.

  • Patrick Ball
    May 10, 2010 at 8:24 am

    once again……we know them, we love them, we trust them and we do not care how they use the money to bring our family back together again.

  • Eric
    May 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    If the building isn’t owned by Tess, isn’t there at least the possibility that the building owner will not rebuild? This seems unlikely since an establishment that payes their rent every month (which I have to assume LT does/did) will generate more revenue that a burned out brick shell.

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  • mike graney
    May 11, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Sad to say, but there is always a chance that the landlord takes the insurance check and puts it in his pocket. Then, in 6 months, he sells the property, and burned out building to someone.

    I was in the same position during our fire, but thankfully our landlord worked with us and rebuilt the building. Here’s hoping DiNapoli DOES rebuild and gets Tess, and her staff, back in business sooner than later.

    I wonder what DiNapoli would charge Tess to buy that building in its current condition? I’m sure it’s an option that Tess would relish.

  • HereWeGo
    May 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Insurance, monitary gifts, taxes, etc. Tess is a smart cookie, she’ll figure out exactly what she needs to do and execute on it.

  • Gary Wolfe
    May 11, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Teresa- Karen and I are very sad to hear about this tragedy. We do not get in there enough anymore, but did a lot in our college days. We will keep you and your emplyees in our prayers. I do not know how you could replace that old bar, they just do not make them like that anymore. Thank God no one was injured.
    We know you will be back.

  • Vic
    May 12, 2010 at 2:49 am

    poshocergopropterho … Are you for real. If you don’t want to give …DON’T. Those of us that know Matt and Tess..know that the money will be used for the purposes intended. You obviously have no clue. Unemployment insurance will be pittance for bartenders and waitresses who rely on tips for there income. And, have you ever had to deal with an insurance company for anything. They are in the business of collecting money…not paying it out. They will do anything to cut the amount they have to pay out.

    For the life of me I do not understand why the cynical have to stick there nose in where it doesn’t belong. You don’t want to help ..DON’T. You want to live in a world where you sit ideally buy while your neighbor’s house burns…god bless you. But many of us want to help. Especially help Tess who has so selflessly helped so many.

    Your left handed attack on Matt is utterly ridicules. He has obviously listed, very publicly, how much has been raised. It would be insane for him to not donate that money for its intended purpose.

    By the way…cute attempted use of Latin for your name. Next time sign it with your real name!

  • Paul
    May 13, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Any news on Tess’s negotiations w/ the landlord?

  • Richard Roy
    May 14, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Tess is one of the kindest, most generous and loving people in Albany. It’s very hard to understand it when such bad things happen to such good people. Still harder to understand is why anyone would slam a fundraising effort on behalf of Tess and her terrific staff by Matt (another great, caring person).

    My prayers are with Tess and her employees as they try to tread water in this economic climate. I’ve seen Lark Street come together before. Let’s keep that tradition going, showing that a business community and it’s patrons can have very big hearts. Bless you, Matty!

  • the Original Colleen
    May 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Good job everyone, keep it up. And don’t forget about next Saturday’s events to benefit Tess’ Lark Tavern. Get a babysitter, reschedule your party, car pool or start walking now, but get your butt to Washington Park and then down to Broadway – near the U-haul building at the end of Madison Avenue….let’s pull together.

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