The team at The Bullpen has been through a lot together.
Born and raised in Glens Falls, David Krogmann, Scott Endieveri, Pam Bricoccoli, Jason Krogmann, and Paulie Bricoccoli have been friends, family and business partners for decades, with The Bullpen operating at 216 Glen St. for nearly 25 years.
“I think people root for us because we’re hometown people. We have so much community support,” said Paulie. “But we’ve also been pretty lucky.”
Learn how The Bullpen has persevered during a pandemic, gained new customers, and why Chef Pammie’s pickiness pays off.
The Bullpen never closed.
When COVID-19 hit, the team transitioned from an indoor bar and restaurant, plus a catering business upstairs, to strictly takeout. The team opted to increase their kitchen staff’s wages to keep morale high during the challenging time.
“Our customers were also generous with tipping,” said Paulie. “Patrons came in offering $100 tips for the kitchen staff. It was incredible.”
Paulie shared that part of the Bullpen’s luck is experience “making lemonade out of lemons.” The team bounced back following a devastating fire in their building in 2013. Shortly before this event, the then-mostly bar business had been planning to place greater emphasis on expanded food options, updating their menu from basic “pub grub” to include a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and salads.
When the fire occurred, it expedited the process, plus necessitated an entire redesign of the building. Despite the challenging recovery, the Bullpen re-emerged stronger, having gained a new elevator and sprinkler system, plus a new kitchen and private event space upstairs.
“There are still people who don’t know we’re not the same Bullpen we were before 2013,” said Paulie. “We hear from people all the time saying they didn’t realize the food is so good.”
However, many new customers have grown to know The Bullpen these past few months. The team credited Chef Pam’s creative menu planning in attracting new customers, and keeping loyal fans returning.
“Pammie is very particular with ingredients, food quality, and presentation, and even with quality of takeout containers,” Paulie said. This attention to detail matters, with their food staying hot, fresh and/or crunchy when being ordered to-go. Bullpen owners shared that through takeout, their food profits have remained as strong during COVID-19 as previous years.
The team also owns and operates another Glens Falls restaurant, Talk of the Town, and has seen steady takeout business at that venue too.
Kids Love The Bullpen
The group acknowledged that the business has often evolved to reflect where they are in their lives.
“In our twenties, we were accustomed to bartending until 4 a.m. and hosting the late night crowd from South Street,” said Jason.
But times have changed.
In “normal” times, The Bullpen is still a venue open during later hours. However, the late night hours are not as long, and no longer drive the business.
“We get the downtown bankers for lunch. We host a lot of kids,” said Jason. Scott referenced the Glens Falls School District’s “Poems-to-Go” Anthology published in June. A booklet of students’ poetry was distributed to takeout patrons of select Glens Falls restaurants, including The Bullpen. A middle school student penned a poem about his family’s love for watching sports and enjoying food- ultimately making memories- at The Bullpen. “He’s missed coming to The Bullpen and getting wings with his father,” said Scott of the young customer.
The Bullpen’s wings are definitely a hit with customers young and old, and a variety is offered: BBQ, Buffalo, Garlic Buffalo, Maple Chipotle, Spicy Asian, Mango Habanero, Caribbean Jerk, and Hellfire. The tavern has won the restaurant competition, Wing Fest, for five years.
Other menu favorites are classic pub food in a variety of gourmet flavor combinations. Creative recipes for quesadillas (think BBQ Chicken or Shrimp with green chiles), gourmet grilled cheeses (among other specialty sandwiches), and huge kobe burgers are always popular.
Paulie shared that customers were initially surprised when The Bullpen started offering salads, but these have proven to be some of the tavern’s top-sellers.
Missing the Downtown Drivers
How does The Bullpen feel about downtown right now? “Positive. Downtown will persevere,” Jason said. “We’ve been headed in such a good direction, and it’s important to keep it going,” added Scott.
In addition to having steady takeout customers, Bullpen owners are seeing more patrons comfortable with eating indoors, though they also notice that families’ dining times are more scattered throughout the day.
Undoubtedly, The Bullpen has lost business that has stemmed from downtown events. Missing are patrons that came before or after hockey games at the Cool Insuring Arena (Glens Falls Civic Center), or who stopped on their way to and from shows at the Wood Theater.
“The community still constantly supports one another, though,” said David. “We all continue to promote downtown businesses with customers.”
A Best Kept Secret
While most of The Bullpen’s catering jobs have been canceled or postponed, the upstairs event space- known as Suite 216- remains. On Sundays, the space is open to the public. A customer recently called the suite “a best kept secret” for watching Sunday football games.
Just like with the downstairs space, Bullpen owners closely monitor how many customers can be seated in the room. Suite 216 is another spacious area equipped with a bar, several high definition televisions, and socially distanced tables.
Special thanks to Della Auto Group for supporting this story.
Says Christopher Della Bella: Nothing is more Glens Falls than the Bullpen and the friends who own and operate it. They are an integral part of the community and continue to support the area and help our hometown flourish. Always a delight to spend some time at the Bullpen and catch up with the owners and familiar faces inside!