A martini is a terrible thing to waste.



Aug 27, 2012 , 67 Comments

Next month, my business partners and I will be opening a restaurant called Sciortino’s in the diner cart next to Wolff’s Biergarten, in North Albany’s Warehouse District.

The name of the restaurant will be called “Sciortino’s”, after my grandparents, Frank & Rachel Sciortino who are from Utica, NY (pictured above).

Very sadly, my grandfather passed away yesterday.

He turned 90 years old on Thursday. I was hoping that he would have lived long enough to see Sciortino’s open, but that wasn’t in the cards I guess.

I loved my grandfather very much. He was a soft spoken, very kind man who loved the Yankees. When I was a kid, he used to give me $2 a week allowance for no reason, and would make me Pepsi-Floats before bed whenever I would sleep over my grandparent’s house.

I loved my grandfather for many more reasons, but mostly because he was giving. He never had a lot of money, but that didn’t stop him from always sending me socks, deodorant, Hanes tshirts, Gilette razors, and gift certificates to Red Lobster and Delmonico’s.

I once told him that I liked chocolate covered cherries, and when I went away to college, he sent me weekly care packages with $10 in it and a box of chocolate covered cherries.

I’m gonna miss him very much. He was the best grandfather I ever could have wished for. I’m happy that his last name will live on in a restaurant that I hope he would have been proud of.

Sciortino’s is going to be a casual, Italian restaurant featuring some of my grandparent’s recipes, and other delicious stuff like meatballs, pizza and pitchers of beer (!!!).

If you’d like to see our logo and a photo of the neon sign that is currently under construction at Ray Sign in Schenectady, NY, you can see it after the jump.


  • JS
    Aug 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

    So very sorry about your grandfather. I am sure he’d be very proud of your new venture.

  • Hopeful
    Aug 27, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Matt, I’m so very sorry for your family’s loss. Obviously your grandfather played an important role in your life and set a fine example for which you can live by. Trust me, he’s up there watching every move you and Sciortino’s make! Your grandparents are very beautiful in their wedding photo.

  • Jv
    Aug 27, 2012 at 8:17 am

    I am so sorry for the loss of your grandfather. I know he want a great deal to you and to your family. Good luck with everything and I can’t wait to try it out.

  • vwbugman
    Aug 27, 2012 at 8:47 am

    So sorry for your loss Matt.

  • cssm
    Aug 27, 2012 at 9:03 am

    What a wonderful tribute to your grandfather. I’m sure he knows of your latest venture and is so proud of you. He really sounds like he was a neat man!

  • Heather (not that one)
    Aug 27, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Matt, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope your fond memories give you some comfort.

  • Parma Ham
    Aug 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Matt, I am very sorry for your loss and just want to say thank you for bringing us really great restaurants. Your places stand way out and maike living in Albany that much better.

  • Stephen
    Aug 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

    A fitting tribute Matt. Sorry for your loss, I know what a big influence your Grandfather was on the family.

  • Aunt Janice
    Aug 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Dear Matt,

    This is such a beautiful tribute to grandpa. He was such a kind-hearted generous man and loved his grandchildren so much. Thanks for posting this and opening “Sciortino’s”. It is awesome, Matt.

    Aunt Janice

  • homeschooler
    Aug 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I too had a fantastic grandfather, different from yours but very much a part of my life. He (and my parents) helped shape me to be a responsible self sufficient adult. I loved him so much, he was my best man!

  • Roxy
    Aug 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Sorry to hear about your Grandfather. I am sure he is very proud of you. Love the sign and logo.

  • the Original Colleen
    Aug 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Condolances from mom and me. I shall partake in the new restaurant and think of your grandfather while enjoying the food and beverages.

  • Jessica R
    Aug 27, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Sorry for the loss of your grandfather, Matt. I’m sure his presence will be felt in the new restuarant.

  • MQ
    Aug 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Matt, Sorry for your loss.

  • lynn b
    Aug 27, 2012 at 10:44 am

    wow, this black and white photo of frank and racheal is amazing. seriously a dapper looking couple. i am so sorry for your loss, i know how very much you love him. xoxxo

  • Deanna (Silly Goose Farm)
    Aug 27, 2012 at 11:01 am

    So sorry for you loss, but what better way to memorialize your Grandpop than with a restaurant bearing his name!

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  • julie
    Aug 27, 2012 at 11:20 am


    I’m so sorry for you loss! Your grandfather sounds like an amazing man! I’m sure whatever you did he was always proud of you!

    The new restaurant will be an amazing tribute to him and I look forward to your next amazing adventure!

  • Peter
    Aug 27, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Matt so sorry for your loss. I became a Grandfather 2 years ago and I hope my grandson remembers his Pappa as you remember your grandfather!

  • Cristina
    Aug 27, 2012 at 11:50 am


    I am sorry for your loss. Your comments brought tears to my eyes and you can see how much you loved your grandfather. I can’t wait to try your new place and wish you the best of luck!

  • michelle johnson
    Aug 27, 2012 at 11:56 am

    So sorry to hear about your grandfather Matt. I’m sure he is
    very proud of the man you are today! From what it sounds like, you are a lot like him. I’m excited about the new place! Looking forward to it! I will have to bring Nonnie!

  • Deb Coté
    Aug 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Matt, I am so very, very sorry! I see you in your grandfather’s face, and you know he is so proud of you. God Bless his memory and you will do him proud!

  • Emily
    Aug 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    While I’m so sorry for your loss, Matt, I’m sure your grandfather is so proud of you. As a native of the Utica area who now lives in Albany, I’m so excited for this business to open. I hope you have chicken riggies on the menu!

  • Kem
    Aug 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Let me know if your interested in doing Pepsi Floats with some locally made ice cream!

  • Jodi
    Aug 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Matt, As always you are a very thoughtful, kind and generous man that puts others first. Your grandfather and your love for him WILL live on in the many memories you shared and this restaurant dedicated to him. I believe that no matter where we are in the world that we are, our loved ones are with us at all times. They live in our hearts and our minds. My Nana once told me that before she passed and I know it to be true. I now tell Ella this when we are away from each other and share. Big hugs to you and your family. xo

  • Kate D.
    Aug 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    So sorry on the loss of your beloved grandfather.

    What a wonderful tribute to his legacy that his name will live on in the restaurant. I’m sure Sciortino’s will be as successful as your other establishments. I really like the logo and sign.

  • Alyce and Vince Keaveney
    Aug 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Frank is smiling down Matt!

  • G-Dawg
    Aug 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    So sorry to hear of your loss, I’m sure he was very proud of you and the restaurant will be a great honor to him…..

  • Nonna
    Aug 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Mattie, wishing you peace of mind and peace of heart. RIP Pop.

  • Christopher Broughton
    Aug 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Matt — Also my condolences. Your grandfather sounded like a wonderful man, and he was very lucky to have a grandson like you. It will be an honor to him to have the restaurant in his name, and an honor for (all of) us to dine there!

  • Julia
    Aug 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    My Dad is from Utica. My grandparents were from there too & also didn’t have much money. But, they never treated me like that! They never made the effort to be that close to me. Consider yourself very lucky! I often envy people whose grandparents doted on them b/c mine never did. I also vow to be one of those ‘doting’ grandparents if I’m ever lucky enough to meet the right person & have children. I am very sorry for your loss~he sounded like a wonderful person.

  • Susan Holland
    Aug 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Sorry for the loss of your beloved grandfather and that he didn’t make it to see the opening. Condolences on your loss.

    I am excited to visit Sciortino’s because my family was a lot like yours (including your grandpa who looked like my Poppy!) and don’t forget the red wine. Will you have dandelion greens? Poppy’s favorite.

  • Donna
    Aug 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    So sorry to hear about your grandfather Matt. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Love Donna

  • Kat
    Aug 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of your grandfather’s passing…man…it’s been an emotional couple of weeks for you!

    Inquiring minds want to know – what will you be doing with the cow/steer head that’s over the diner? It might be a fun item to auction off for a local non-profit.

  • Sean
    Aug 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Beautifully written Matt. I’m sure he would be very proud of you, can’t wait to try it out some night with Meg if we can sneak away from our own restaurant. Best of Luck, and success!

  • John
    Aug 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Heartfelt condolences, Matthew! Good luck with your new venture. Im certain you’ll do very well.

  • Ralph Spillenger
    Aug 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Sorry about your grandad. I’m sure your new venture will do him proud.\
    Ralph Spillenger

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  • Terry
    Aug 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Nice tribute, Matt.

    The more Utica we can bring to Albany’s Italian dining scene, the better.

  • Karen
    Aug 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Beautiful tribute to your grandfather. What wonderful memories!

  • Tom Scarff
    Aug 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Sorry for your loss, Matt. I am very pleased that the Miss Albany will live on as a restaurant. Having relatives from New Hartford,I am aware that one of the secrets in Utica is that there are many fine restaurants. I’m sure that “Sciortinos” will be a fine place and a wonderful living memorial to your Grandparents!

  • michael cocca
    Aug 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Mi dispiacere per nono….salutte fer e famiglia e tutti

  • Jon Lively
    Aug 27, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    You are so inspiring!

  • Cheryl Mondi
    Aug 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Dear Matt and family,

    I am so very sorry to hear of Frank”s passing. They were always so nice to me, whenever I was in their company. Whenever I made tripe I thought of your grandfather, because I had sent him some, now and then. Love your mom, a very strong woman.

    Good luck with your new restaurant……such a beautiful tribute to beautiful people!
    God Bless,
    Cheryl Mondi

  • scott
    Aug 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Sorry for your loss.Your pop sounds like a great and kind man. You should be happy you had the chance to know him and develop the relationship you had with him. I never had the cahnce to know my grandparents very well,but any grandparent would be proud of you and your tribute.
    Best of luck and name a dish after your grandfather, he will love it

  • Linda Primomo
    Aug 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm


    We are so very sorry to hear about your Grandfather, it sounds like he was just an awesome man. This is such a wonderful tribute; He would be proud. It’s so important to be close to your family, and continue their traditions. Bona Fortuna!

  • BARV
    Aug 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Matt ~

    Sincerely sympathy on the loss of your Grandfather ~ I hope that all your wonderful memories will sustain you during this time. What a wonderful tribute and such an honorable gesture in your memories of your Grandfather. My Grandfather use to hold peppermint hard candies in his pocket and your kind words of your Grandfather so remind me of him. All the best ~


  • Bonnie
    Aug 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss but thank you for sharing such a touching story. I’m also very happy to hear of what you are planning to do with the diner. I was with the Browns the last night of the Miss Albany and they calmed any concerns I had as I am a bit internally protective over that diner. I’m glad it is in good hands. Some of my happiest childhood memories are when my family owned it before the Browns, so it was initially a difficult pill to swallow to know it wouldn’t be the same. I love some good Italian and I hope to be there opening day to wish you well and the happiness I found there.

  • Tandra
    Aug 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I will be there to support! And my condolences.

  • lynn b
    Aug 27, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    i still cannot get over this photo, it is amazing!

  • Bill Primomo
    Aug 28, 2012 at 6:56 am

    very nice tribute Matt, and we will help support it. bill and linda

  • DMBW
    Aug 28, 2012 at 7:35 am


  • Randy Garbin
    Aug 28, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I’m very sorry to hear about your grandfather. I lost my mother earlier this year so I understand your grief. I do hope, however, that your plans for the diner do not include stripping it of any of its original features. There are precious few diners like the Miss Albany still with that degree of preservation. A great deal of hard work and craftsmanship went into the construction of those buildings, and in honor of your grandfather’s hard work, I would hope that you continue to preserve the diner for future generations to enjoy.

  • Lori
    Aug 28, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Matt…what a beautiful man your grandfather was…and you are! I am sure he was very, very proud of you as we all are!

  • Craig
    Aug 28, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Sorry for your loss…and I agree with Terry above…the more Utican the better. I’m not from there, but my wife is and the food is exceptional. So if there are any plans to have some Utican culinary influence, that would be great…Tomatoe Pie, Greens, Riggies etc.

  • erik
    Aug 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I lived in Utica for 5 years and I miss tomato pie more than anything else (truly). What a wonderful idea for a restaurant name, I know your grandfather is proud of you!

  • mojo
    Aug 28, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Yes, I second the riggies and tomato pie.

  • Jana
    Aug 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Wonderful tribute!! Living out here, but growing up near Utica there are certain foods that I crave! I would love to see chicken riggies, greens, tomato pie, lobster tails & pusties (translation for non-uticans – these 2 are types of desserts).

  • Jillian
    Aug 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    This literally brought me to tears. So very sorry to hear of your loss. I have a very close relationship with my grandfather as well, and reading this entry made me realize how very lucky I am to still have him around.

    You look so much like him! So glad to hear that his memory will live on through what I am sure will be another Baumgartner success!

  • cm
    Aug 29, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Wishing you continued success. I loved this heartwarming tribute to your grandfather – a truly loving person. How very kind and thoughtful he was. I hope that warm memories will bring you comfort during this sad time. You are so fortunate to have such a wonderful family behind you. I don’t know you but I admire your entrepreneurship and hard work greatly and just want to say thank you for taking risks to bring Albany some great venues. I know people hurl stones at people who try and say things that it can’t work or that it is such-and-such but you are the one out there making it happen. How awesome it must be when all those who say it can’t be done are proven wrong. Good luck to you and again, my sincerest condolences.

  • DL
    Aug 29, 2012 at 9:02 am

    You have a way with words especially when you write about something you care deeply about. I think you made him proud regardless of the new restaurant named after him.

    I also think this is a a very moving tribute to your parents. Most loving/close relationships between a grandparent and a grandchild are fostered and facilitated by parents. I think the sad comment by #31 drives the point home. Your parents gave you and your siblings a very special gift that many kids grow up without.

    My sympathies to you and your family for your profound loss.

  • t
    Aug 29, 2012 at 11:37 am

    So sorry for your loss.

    I’m hoping this new venture is the classic Utica casual Italian restaurant a la “Spaghetti Joe’s” (or is it Paleteiri Joe’s?). Will the pitchers of beer be Ft. Schuyler or UC?

    Can’t wait to try it….tomato pie, greens, sausage and roasted peppers, mmmmm.

  • Debbie
    Aug 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    So sorry for the loss of your grandfather Matt. Best of luck on the new venture. Love the sign!

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  • Joanne Landau
    Sep 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I am a friend of Janna’s, and she sent me your story. What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. I wish you and yours much success.

  • Daniela
    Apr 26, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Grandfathers are very special pepole in this world and its hard when you loose one. I just lost mine last month and his memories keep me going. I hope you find peace in the upcoming days, months and years in his memory.

  • Annette Guido
    Apr 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Matt, Just heard about your place today. My family knew your grandparents very well. We were related to he Sciortino’s and all were parishioners of St. Mary of Mt. Carmel. Rachel sold us cards all the time. Your mom and Aunt Janice are a few years older than I am, but I remember them as well. I moved to the Guilderland area 10 years ago. Just had a piece of tomato pie. I look forward to stopping by soon.
    Annette Guido

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