Tom and Lora Lee Ecobelli had first row seats to memories while they were in the making. Now, they’re hoping to share those stories collected at Ecobelli’s Tam O’Shanter Restaurant in Ballston Spa in “Laurina’s Kitchen,”a book of recipes and memoirs.
The book, which focuses on the life of their grandmother, Laurina Ecobelli, is slated for a June release, allowing some time for those who mightlike to submit their memories to do so.
Laurina Ecobelli and her husband Dan opened the now historic restaurant in 1947. As many family stories go, the tale of how the couple came to own the eatery has been handed down and retold countless times. Lora Lee Ecobelli remembers her grandparents’ first days in the restaurant.
“My grandfather bought this Scottish bar and neither one of themknew anything about owning one. The bar patrons started coming in and my grandmother would be cooking for the family, and soon customers started asking about the food. It went from just a few patrons to being jammed once she started cooking,” she said.
From there, Laurina developed recipes and the clientele blossomed.
“She was the primary chef and everything was home made,” saidLora Lee.
As the Ecobelli family grew, it was Ralph, Lora Lee and Tom’sfather who helped run the restaurant.
“One of my favorite memories was in 1964. There was a huge blackout. My grandparents had a generator and opened the restaurant, and whoever needed to could stay there. I was little but I remember being put to bed near the fireplace in an open breadbox,” said Lora Lee.
Tom’s best memory is perhaps a bit more mischievous.
“Once when I was a kid I had a bunch of friends at the restaurant and I decided to ask everybody if they wanted a drink at the bar.There was no alcohol involved, but we mixed everything we could together. We mixed colas, diet colas, everything,” said Tom Ecobelli. He added that his dad soon put a stop to that.