Kelly Finn and Joe Proctor spent the early days of their relationship on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, passing the time in the comfortable, trendy restaurants the neighborhood is now known for.
“We were kind of doing market research,” says Finn, who lived in the neighborhood. “But we didn’t know that at the time. We were just eating and drinking our lives away.”
In January 2018, they opened Caskade Kitchen & Bar in Cohoes (pronounced ka-HOSE), a former manufacturing city about 15 minutes north of Albany. Proctor has worked in kitchens since he was 15 years old, most recently opening Troy Lobster. Finn comes from a background in hospitality, working for eight years in sales at boutique hotels before moving upstate to work as an events coordinator for Peck’s Arcade.
Troy was an obvious location to start their business, but in their research the pair discovered Cohoes shares much of the same infrastructure that has spurred growth in Hudson and Troy. There is renewed focus on economic development, plentiful parking, and numerous condominium complexes chock full of young professionals. “Our sidewalks are going to be doubled,” adds Finn, “and we’re going to have outdoor patio seating by the fall.”
Their food, in turn, seeks to satisfy their contemporaries’ tastes. Short and sweet, rotating frequently, the list of small plates on Caskade’s menu coaxes familiar, fresh ingredients just beyond customary cuisine. Take, for example, the mango gazpacho with crab jalapeño relish, the cantaloupe carpaccio with heirloom tomatoes and prosciutto, or the pork belly bao buns with hoisin, pickled carrots, cucumber, and spicy mayo.
Burrata; crostini with Ewe’s Blue and lardo Iberico; Finn, Proctor, and their dog, Pickles
Like many small business owners, the hardscrabble pair did much of the renovation work themselves, watching YouTube videos to learn how to install metal piping shelves, strings of Edison light bulbs, and a Venetian plaster wall. Fellow restaurateurs on Remsen Street were instrumental in helping them get Caskade up and running.
Although the restaurant is still in its infancy, one thing is certain: The couple’s “market research” has paid off. “We’ve only been open for three months and everyone is already saying, ‘Well, the next place you open…’” Finn throws up her hands, “It’s like, ‘Whoa! We’re living in the moment here.’”
Open Tues, 5–10 p.m.; Wed, 5–11 p.m.; Thurs, 4–11 p.m.; Fri–Sat, 4 p.m.–1 a.m., 182 Remsen St, Cohoes, 518.720.1553