In between serving cocktails and managing a busy kitchen, Joe Schaefer and Pete Cusato toil in plaster and mortar, dust and decay. The pair are owners of the highly successful Savannah’s at 1 South Pearl in Albany, NY but thought about opening a second business a year ago.
They purchased and gut the vacant space next door, formerly the Copy Valet, to make room for a vodka bar called War and Peace.
Neither of them are Russian so the name War and Peace was decided on not because of Tolstoy’s popular tome but because “the two words evoke such strong emotions in people” said Cusato.
The Albany-Tula Alliance are anxious to share their passion for all things Russian so we were offered a tour of the new venue.
Schaefer said that he has been familiar with the sister-city organization through a friendship he had with former Albany Mayor, Thomas M. Whalen. Whalen was a co-founder and supporter of the Albany-Tula Alliance from it’s beginnings in 1991. Schaefer hadn’t thought how the organization could contribute today.
With that, founder & board member, Charlotte Buchanan, presented several traditional samovars from Tula, Russia, ideal for both making tea and/or putting on display.
Tea is as much a part of Russian culture as vodka and Buchanan gave a brief description of how the antique containers brew water and how the tea is measured into cups according to one’s tastes.
The gifts provoked the owners to consider putting the beverage on the menu.
Join us when we take a sip of both during their ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 19, 2012.