IT WAS A SCENE YOU’D SEE near the end of an adventure epic, when the explorers finally break through to the treasure chamber and survey its long-neglected majesty. In this case, it was the kitchen of the former Ecobelli’s Tam O’Shanter Inn on Route 50 in Ballston Spa. The place has been closed for many years, but the kitchen remains intact, and as the party guests wandered in, they shared stories of the years they’d spent working here.
On Aug. 4, the building was opened to host a party for the launch of Laurina’s Kitchen, a cookbook put together by the sibling grandchildren of the restaurant’s indelible chef, and as Lora Lee and Tom Ecobelli busily signed copy after copy, they were deluged with fond reminiscences.
“We asked for people to send us stories as we were putting the book together,” says Tom, who is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles, “and discovering what the restaurant meant to people really blew us away.”
Lora Lee lives in Saugerties and also works as an actor and writer. “We’re still getting stories,” she says. “Someone called me just the other night and remembered that back in the ’60s, before the restaurant had anything like take-out containers, people would line up by the pizza ovens carrying their own pots. My grandmother would ask how many were in the family, and top off the pots accordingly.”