Wilton — When Brian Brumley turned 50, he declared he would work smarter - not harder.
“I always had, in the back of my mind, that when I turned 50, I was going to slowly back away from the fast pace of the deli business and start a new, slower-paced restaurant,” he said.
That was last year, and now, Brian has embarked on the venture.
Readying His Stance
Being in the restaurant industry since he was 14, at age 23, Brian Brumley and his childhood friend, Anthony Gargano, took a risk in 1996 and became co-owners of the Spring Street Deli & Pizzeria in downtown Saratoga Springs.
“People who worked for me 20 years ago still stop me in the street to tell me what a great experience they had,” said Brian. “It’s been great watching Saratoga grow. I love the Saratoga Springs community, but I feel like it’s the perfect time to step away and scale back a little. The business has been incredible, but after 28 years, it is time for a change.”
Now, at 51 years old, Brian Brumley wants something else - simplicity.
Eying the Shot
As it goes with transcendent businesses, customers and owners alike benefitted from Brian and Anthony’s tremendous ability to supply favorites to those headed to the race track, as well as consistently good food locals loved. There is no denying the duo made great things happen.
The two no longer share ownership of the Spring Street Deli & Pizzeria. Anthony bought out Brian’s share of the business. Brian is now busy launching Rustic Pizza & Eats adjacent to his other business, the Olde Saratoga Mini Golf Course (founded in 2019). The new restaurant is slated to open this fall.
Taking the Swing
When Brian purchased the building at 556 Maple Avenue in 2009, he left the kitchen intact but added display racks in the former dining room when it reopened in 2012 as Saratoga Wine & Spirits. For 70 years prior, the building on busy Route 9 was the site of many bars and restaurants including The Gringe Tavern, Mino’s Restaurant, and Bizbee’s Waffle House.
Therefore, the work to be done for Rustic Pizza & Eats fall opening is mostly cosmetic, said Brian. All approvals are in place, so once the exterior and interior painting are complete; and more modern refrigeration and appliances are installed, Rustic Pizza & Eats will be ready to open.
Brian has also been working with his chef on a select menu tailored to take-out, delivery, and catering.
“My vision is to create a menu focusing on more modern-day preferences that will include cleaner eating with locally-sourced chicken and grassfed beef, fresh, creative salads, grain bowls, specialty pizzas, smashburgers, and traditional Italian sandwiches.”
“We will also keep some of the more popular Spring Street staples, such as the all-day egg sandwich. This menu will appeal to a large amount of the Wilton community,” he said.
Retaining plenty of parking spots in the high-trafficked road is fortuitous for Brian as Wilton is projected to add almost 500 single-family homes withing the next few years.
It’s almost as if he can’t help but be at the brink of opportunity when it’s emerging.
Brumley is simultaneously trying to break the stigma of restaurant work. He is creating a much smaller, more scaled-down menu than he’s used to, and Rustic Pizza & Eats will be closed Mondays. Because of their location across from Maple Avenue Middle School, he will try (as much as possible) to follow the Saratoga School District schedules.
“My goal is to make a less stressful, employee/family friendly restaurant with great, clean, healthier food choices.”
Keeping an Eye on the Ball
Even after opening Rustic Pizza & Eats, Brian will continue to offer delectable wood-fired catering from his mobile pizza oven. While Rustic Pizza & Eats will serve desserts, ice-cream will continue being served from Olde Saratoga Mini Golf’s concession stand, as well. Their popular “Puff, Puff, Putt” events allowing cannabis smoking, will continue every Tuesday, 5 – 9 p.m. until the second week of October (weather permitting).
Centralized within the Wilton community, Brian looks forward to making residents lives easier. He’ll be developing a regular delivery schedule for the Maple Ave School and giving back through food drives and coat collections, contests, fundraisers, and special happenings such as Haunted Mini-Golf and a Christmas-themed event.
The Olde Saratoga Miniature Golf Course and Rustic Pizza & Eats is slated to become Wilton’s go-to for quick and easy family dinners, parties, and corporate outings.