Potato Recipes Will Tempt Taste Buds During the Merchant Mash Up on May 15

May 12, 2014

What do you get when Downtown Schenectady restaurants offer food tastings inside downtown retail and service shops for a night of food, shopping and fun? A Downtown Schenectady Merchant Mash Up! On Thursday evening, May 15 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation (DSIC) invites you to stroll around downtown from store to store to sample fantastic food, shop for unique treasures and enjoy live music and other in-store activities. This is the fifth Merchant Mash Up coordinated by the DSIC, which have attracted thousands of visitors to Downtown Schenectady. 

During past promotions, we left it up to restaurants to choose which types of food samples to offer. This time around, restaurants will be challenged to prepare unique recipes based on the versatile and universally-loved food favorite, THE POTATO. Featured recipes will offer a delicious range of tastes and styles, including Loaded Baked Potato Chowder, Potato Stuffed Jerk Chicken and Loaded Potato Flatbread with a Butterscotch Potato Chip Cookie, among many others. In addition, shops will offer specials of their own, including music, discounts, raffles and merchandise samples.



It’s easy to take part in the Downtown Schenectady Merchant Mash Up – Spud Challenge:

1. REGISTER – Before visiting your first location, come to the Merchant Mash Up event table on the Jay Street Marketplace to purchase an event program & map, which serves as your ticket. Registration is $8 per person, $5 for students, and free for kids ages 5 and under.

2. VOTE – Visit at least half of the 12 participating locations and then vote for your favorite Spud Challenge recipe. Your program doubles as your ballot and must be filled out and returned to the event table on Jay Street. Everyone who votes will be entered into a drawing for a pair of tickets to an upcoming performance at Proctors.



1. Crossroads Gifts & Wellness (133 Jay St.) hosting Zen Asian Fusion Lounge (469 State St.)

2. Esmeralda Jewelry (100 Jay St.) hosting Peter Anthony’s (135 Broadway)

3. Experience & Creative Design (510 Union St.) hosting Café NOLA (617 Union St.)

4. Hermie’s Music Store (163 Jay St.) hosting Ambition Café (154 Jay St.)

5. Lennon’s Irish Shop (164 Jay St.) hosting Katie O’Byrne’s (121 Wall St.)

6. miSci Gift Shop (15 Nott Terrace Heights) hosting Centre Street Pub (308 Union St.)

7. New York Folklore Society (129 Jay St.) hosting Executive Lounge (108 Jay St.)

8. The Open Door Bookstore (128 Jay St.) hosting Taj Mahal Restaurant (142 Clinton St.)

9. Orion Boutique (169 Jay St.) hosting Backstage Pub & Grill (501 Smith Street)

10. Patricia’s Room Antiques (162 Jay St.) hosting More Perreca’s (31 N. Jay St.)

11. WET Beauty Lounge (158 Jay St.) hosting Bel Cibo (166 Jay St.)

12. Whitney Book Corner (600 Union St.) hosting The Bier Abbey (613 Union St.)


In addition to the popular vote, special guest judges connected to the regional food industry will select winners this year in several categories such as Best Creative Potato Recipe, Best Traditional Potato Recipe and Best Overall Potato Recipe. Judges include Pam Allen, marketing consultant & former restaurant reporter at the Albany Business Review; Michelle Hines Abram, President of MHA Innovations; and Tom Thibeault of Adirondack Appliance.

As a shopping incentive, the first 50 visitors who spend at least $25 at any downtown businesses during the Mash Up and present their receipts at the Jay Street event table from 6:00-7:30 p.m. will receive a pair of free movie tickets to Proctors.

"The Merchant Mash Up is a fun way to introduce visitors to downtown’s great independent shops and restaurants first hand,” said Jim Salengo, Executive Director of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation. “Everyone loves potatoes, so turning the event’s food tasting component into The Spud Challenge this year creates a fresh new experience for both visitors and participating businesses.”

“The Merchant Mash Up brings in new customers,” said MaryAnn May of Lennon’s Irish Shop. “Last year, we had people coming in off the street and making purchases that had never been here before. They didn’t realize that there was something here for them even if they weren’t Irish and they were glad that they had stopped in.”

“We participated in the Merchant Mash Up for the first time last year as newer business owners and were thrilled by the exposure we got for our restaurant,” said Casey Blum, owner of Backstage Pub & Grill. “We love the idea of this year’s Spud Challenge and hope to end up with an award-winning recipe!”

If you haven’t been to Downtown Schenectady in a while, this is a fantastic opportunity to discover the district’s vibrant business community and stunning visual improvements. See you May 15!