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Explore Troy through cuisine

By Advaith Narayan September 18, 2020

At the end of Navigating Rensselaer and Beyond Week, every freshman concludes with Welcome Fest, where freshmen walk downtown to Waterfront Park and are welcomed by the mayor of Troy, President Shirley Ann Jackson, the Grand Marshal, and the president of the Union. Welcome Fest is usually the first time freshmen are able to fully experience and explore Troy. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, that event did not occur this year. While this article doesn’t even begin to make up for the absence of Welcome Fest, I want to take this opportunity to extend my welcome to all the first-year students to the Troy community.

So, to the Class of 2024, welcome to Troy!

I remember how, as soon as the planned festivities ended, my friends and I immediately went to get something to eat. I mention this because almost every experience I have in downtown Troy has to do with food. I find comfort in food, but searching for new places to eat is also a great way to explore and get to know Troy! Finding these places or just stumbling upon a cafe while on a run is a large part of how I became acquainted with Troy.

Troy is very different from where I grew up: San Jose. San Jose is a very diverse and vibrant city, and I was absolutely spoiled with so many different cuisines. I was a little afraid of moving to Troy and no longer having the smorgasbord of food that I was accustomed to, but the more I got out and explored, the more that Troy was able to meat and exceed my eggs-pectations. Okay, sorry for those puns.

Here are a couple of my personal favourite eateries in and around Troy that I would highly recommend you visit:

Bob’s Diner (929 19th St, Watervliet, NY 12189): As a Rensselaer student, you’ll likely find yourself working or studying at odd hours of the night. When you get that late-night craving for breakfast foods, Bob’s Diner is open 24 hours a day and is the place to go! There isn’t anything out-of-this-world about Bob’s; their food is exactly what you’d expect of a diner. But there is just something about going to Bob’s late at night that hits the spot. Since Bob’s is across the river, I would not recommend you walk there. But if you’re able to drive or get a ride, I would encourage you to check it out!

Quang’s Vietnamese Bistro (88 3rd St, Troy, NY 12180): This is my go-to for a cold day when I am feeling too lazy to cook. Quang’s has incredible vermicelli bowls and pho. The menu is small and the restaurant is too. It’s a cozy place to warm up during a snowstorm!

DeFazio’s (266 4th St, Troy, NY 12180): I will preface this recommendation by saying that I am not the biggest fan of New York-style pizza— I prefer deep-dish or Neapolitan. So your mileage may vary with this recommendation. DeFazio’s is my favourite pizza spot in Troy. They serve classic Italian wood-fired pizzas that are just plain delicious. Something that many of my friends did not know until I told them is that the shop right next door to DeFazio’s, called De Fazio A Imports, has amazing gelato that you cannot miss.

The Dutch Udder Craft Ice Cream (282 River St, Troy, NY 12180) and The SnowMan Ice Cream (531 5th Ave, Troy, NY 12182): I have a massive sweet tooth, so I frequent these two ice cream shops a lot. I don't know the best way to describe the differences between the two ice cream shops, so you should just check out both and let me know what you think.

That’s all I’ll give you for now, I can’t give away all my secrets.

As you visit these places, you will discover some really neat parts of Troy that you might not have stumbled upon otherwise. So while the weather is still nice, don a mask, grab a buddy or two, go explore, and have fun!

[Editor’s Note]: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants are constantly updating the types of service that they offer. For example, some places may only offer takeout or delivery. Please research what each restaurant’s policy is before visiting.