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We were the first to arrive for the dinner crowd at Joe's. Grabbed a seat in the back dining room which can definitely use a makeover. Decided that the bar area was a better place to sit. It wasn't long before the bar was filled up. Many of these customers must be regulars because of the familiar exchange with the bartender.
We ordered fried mozzarella, (ask for Melba sauce ;) Utica greens, and a small white chicken Florentine pie. We devoured the appetizers and asked the bartender to bring out one slice of pizza and box the rest. That dough, which is from Bella Napoli, it is incredible. Chicken had a flavorful marinade and the spinach was plentiful. Awesome food and I'm glad we stopped in for a taste of Joe's!
Spaghetti doesn't get the top billing of very many restaurants these days. The only reason it does at Joe's is because the place has been around for such a long time, they wouldn't dream of changing the sign.
I suppose I should come back and at least give the spaghetti a try. But that would be a hard sell with such solid versions of tavern classics.
For me, the four stars here really represent a meal that was better than one might expect. And there's probably no better place to start than with the pizza. That crust was serious business. It's not a tavern style pizza shell of oily dough pressed into a pan. This is a crisp on the bottom, yeasted dough, that has picked up some good color from the oven floor. It's completely remarkable given the setting.
The mozzarella and melba were fine. Clearly in the top half of the category, but not quite at the level of cracking into the upper echelon (currently occupied by Ralph's, Scubbers, and TJ's). Joe's melba was more than just syrup, but could could use some of the brightness of the berries.
Wings here are totally solid. It's kind of a misnomer to say they are "pan fried in olive oil" since I got a look at exactly how deep that pan actually is. The wings get a nice bath in the stuff, which is really the only way they can get nice and crispy all the way around. And inhaling that classic Frank's and butter aroma, makes the mustiness of the dining room fade away. I actually think the smell had something to do with the cleaning products used and not food smells or moisture. But it's hard to say.
This was actually my first taste of Utica greens ever, so I don't really have much with which to compare the experience. But I was a big fan. A bit of heat, and some tasty chunks of cured meat, tossed into a whole heap of savory, tender greens felt both virtuous and decadent. Clearly one of the drawbacks of tavern dining is the lack of vegetables, and I appreciated this as a way to get a bit of variety into the diet without venturing into salad territory.
Most salads in the region, for most of the year, are a crime. But that's another issue entirely.
I'm thrilled to have found this place. It's an undiscovered gem in Cohoes. And it clearly deserves a place in the parthenon of the region's great taverns. I hope it stays open forever, and that those who go there all the time realize just how special it is.
Never...EVER judge a book by its cover. Joe's Tavern Is a tiny gem of a restaurant hidden in a local neighborhood...SO hidden you think your GPS is wrong and you should turn around and so unique that when you walk in the door you don't realize it's a restaurant because you walk in through the bar-can't even see the dining area. Never would I have thought a little hole in the wall called Joe's Tavern would be this good.
So I started with a local seasonal beer while my daughter and I read over the menu and watched some football. Planned on getting the chicken and sausage in penne a la vodka, but when I heard the specials that went out the window....more in a minute.
So I started with a side salad with a great vinaigrette and what I think were homemade croutons. My daughter ordered the chicken parm with penne and marinara and nice bread. Wow would be my description. Yes, chicken parm got a big wow from both of us, lightly breaded and topped with a super delicious marinara that is slightly sweet, but still a little savory. Cooked perfectly.
I heard this special and was 100% sold. Seafood and vegetable risotto (no disgusting peas though)- Sold! The dish included shrimp and scallops, done perfectly, and a nice piece of salmon seasoned nicely and cooked with a slight char to the outside and yet still moist and flaky on the inside. The dish was slightly salty, but not overpowering and the whole dish was dusted with a bit of paprika...oh so yummy. Big risotto fan so when it's done right it makes me happy.
My daughter, the athlete with the endless appetite, took a peanut butter explosion to go for dessert. I was allowed a forkful and it too, was delicious with layers of brownie, chocolate and peanut butter.
Good thing I don't live around here...I'd have ONE Yelp review and would just update it once a week. 4 stars ONLY because I've only been here once and because I didn't try the pizza...which by the look of the locals devouring it at the table next to us MUST be great.
To top things off we had a great waitress who was on top of things and the manager/owner helped clean tables and was at our table twice to make sure we had a good meal
If I'm back here next year I know where I'm having dinner. Joe's Tavern...don't ever judge a book by its cover!1/7/2016 I know it's been about a year since you wrote, Steve, but we figured better late than never to say… I know it's been about a year since you wrote, Steve, but we figured better late than never to say thank you. It sounds like you were absolutely blown away by your meal with us, and we couldn't be happier to hear it. I know Parsippany isn't exactly next door, but have you been back to Cohoes since last year? We'd love for you to try our pizza and get a chance to win that fifth star!
Hope you had a great year,
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I love dinner parties, and especially dinner parties with people who love to talk about food. So when a group of seven of us convened at Joe's, we were ready with our critical taste buds to check out this place. Because it's a tavern, we ordered the common tavern foods of the Capital Region, but this place has a very interesting menu beyond what we selected. We ordered the garlic crust pizza, sausage onions and peppers pizza, medium wings, hot wings, fried mozzarella with melba sauce and Utica greens. For my tastes, nothing really fell short. Mike, the current chef-owner, puts a few spins on these classics, but in general he stays with what is expected and passes the bar. He makes mozzarella triangles instead of sticks and told us he pan fries the wings in olive oil.
My first bite of pizza was to taste the crust and I was very pleasantly surprised. It was tasty! Mike and I agree on what the sauce should taste like, and that was definitely a plus. There was also a good balance between cheese, toppings and meat, so I was quite happy with the pizza.
The melba sauce was melba and not syrup, which I always appreciate.
The Utica greens were a real treat. Once again Mike showed that he has discernment regarding this dish. He cooked the greens to tenderness and pulled them out before bad things began to happen. He kept a light touch with the cherry peppers so the dish was spicy and savory and perfectly tender. Yum.
The wings are completely classic and I wanted to snarf many more than I did. I'll be back for those when I want a clean hot sauce with no spin. I enjoyed both the medium and the hot.
The rest of our party will just have to write up their own opinions, but I did hear several of them say they would be back.
This review is based on one visit, but I will definitely be returning, because I want to see what else is on offer.
What kept me from giving it five stars? When I walked into the dining room there was a really bad odor. It comes from a combination of years of food smells soaking into the walls, too much moisture and no renovation. This dining room needs an overhaul and clean up and new materials. Probably the air conditioners should be replaced as well, or at least the filters. I can only hope that this will come soon. I know there's an aura of keeping it like it's been for almost 100 years, but...this place needs help and maybe the owner can find a way to really clean it up without negatively affecting the historical nature of the place.
Would give 3.5 stars if I could...Definitely a hidden gem in Cohoes, with some yummy food options. I've tried a handful of menu items, most of which have been delicious. They also have some interesting specials if you check out their facebook page. My only issues with them are that you just kind of walk in and seat yourself, and hope that there is someone paying attention, and the decor is a bit outdated. I also had a pasta dish with vodka sauce that was drenched in sauce, and the pasta was overcooked to the point where it broke when I attempted to pick it up with my fork. As someone who likes my pasta more al-dente, I wasn't a fan of that. Other than that, I am very satisfied when I leave!
First time checking out Joe's and we were very pleased. The two staff members who waited on us were very friendly and attentive. We got the garlic parm wings and a pizza. The wings were very good, nice and crispy. The pizza was a pretty huge 8 cut.
We will definitely be going back, nice hidden gem in Cohoes.
The owner is very nice. Pizza is amazing and do are pasta dishes. Great tasting food with a good variety on the menu. Looks like youre going to someone's house when you pull up, but cute Barr and great service1/7/2016 Friendly service and tasty food is what we're all about, Heather. Thanks for being a fan of ours and… Friendly service and tasty food is what we're all about, Heather. Thanks for being a fan of ours and for spreading the word on Yelp! Think of our place as your home away from home. Here's hoping we get to welcome you again sometime soon.
All the best,
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Excellent zuppa di pesce had this dish in many restaurants this was high on my 1thru10 scale will return1/8/2016 Happy to have your recommendation, George! The zuppa di pesce is always an excellent choice. Have… Happy to have your recommendation, George! The zuppa di pesce is always an excellent choice. Have you made it back to explore more of the menu yet?
Hope to see you again soon,
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Joe's is great food good drinks Mike the owner is good chef makes sure only good food comes out !1/8/2016 Happy to have you in our corner, Justin! Thanks for the kind words and for sharing what you love… Happy to have you in our corner, Justin! Thanks for the kind words and for sharing what you love about us on Yelp. Have you been a regular here for a while now?
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We love Joe's, been there more than a dozen times. The owner, Mike, is great stops to see and talk with every customer. The wait staff and bartenders are very friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. They remember our names. Favorite dishes the daily specials are always good, the Chicken/Veal Parm is very good, Vodka Penne is fabulous. The salads are great their homemade vinaigrette is close to the best I've ever had. The crowd is always friendly we usually eat at the bar and its always a good time. Prices are very reasonable
Mike and Billie
Hidden gem with great italian food. Pizza is a nice thin crust with generous sizing. The specials change regularly and the menu is full of great stuff.2/4/2016 With recommendations like yours we won't stay hidden forever, Jeremiah. Thanks for your support!… With recommendations like yours we won't stay hidden forever, Jeremiah. Thanks for your support! It's been over a year since you wrote, and we hope you've been back since for more of that pizza you loved. Let us know if you have anymore feedback to share!
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I've lived close to this restaurant for 4 years and finally went in the past week. My wife and I loved the place and it's going to be hard not to go every single night for the amazing homemade food. I personally loved the mozzarella with melba sauce. I will be back again and again.
The food was delicious! It is a hometown bar, the decor could use a little updating but the food was excellent. We started with hot crispy buttered garlic knots and Utica Greens... which could have been a meal on their own. I'm a risotto snob, I had the Tuscan filet over roasted red pepper risotto.... so delicious! The staff was friendly and it was so nice that the owner and the cook came out to chit chat and were very happy to hear our comments. Definitely want to go back!!
This place is great for dining in.
I love their pizza, well-done, with meatballs. It reminds me of living in NYC.
Their Utica Greens dish is really fantastic. Their sausage-based stuffed mushrooms are old-school fantastic.
Regarding service, expect the owner/chef to visit your table to make sure that you like your meal. He's a young, energetic guy who really seems to care about what's put in front of you.
My only wish here is for a larger wine list. But, that's not a complaint, simply a request for a really nice spot in Cohoes.
First to Review
This place is old school, as the TU says it's known as "the Cheers of Cohoes". It's one of my dad's hang outs so I've been here a couple of times with him, but it's not only old timers a good younger crowd too. I couldn't believe the $1 drafts (only Coors Light or Bud but still), which depending on how you look at it could be good or bad - good if you live close by and want to relive the college years or bad if you got a drive and no DD. The food is decent and cheap.
Business info summary
- 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm Closed now
- Price range
|Tue||4:00 pm - 10:00 pm||Closed now|
|Wed||4:00 pm - 10:00 pm|
|Thu||4:00 pm - 10:00 pm|
|Fri||4:00 pm - 11:00 pm|
|Sat||4:00 pm - 11:00 pm|
|Sun||12:00 pm - 10:00 pm|
- Price varies
- Boneless Wings
More business info
- Takes Reservations
- Accepts Credit Cards
- Good For
- Bike Parking
- Wheelchair Accessible
- Good for Kids
- Good for Groups
- Noise Level
- Full Bar
- Outdoor Seating
- Has TV
- Dogs Allowed
- Waiter Service
From the business
Joe's Tavern is a small place with big taste! We have been serving the area's finest food at the best prices for more than 80 years. Established around 1930, Joe's has been a staple of the …Learn more about Joe’s Tavern , Opens a popup
Joe's Tavern is a small place with big taste! We have been serving the area's finest food at the best prices for more than 80 years. Established around 1930, Joe's has been a staple of the community for multiple generations.
We are known for our delicious pizza and spaghetti, but we have expanded our menu to include multiple sauteed pasta dishes, steaks, seafood, an array of delicious appetizers and mouthwatering specials
We pride ourselves in serving fine dining food at tavern prices with fast and friendly service. Come see what we are all about and become part of the Joe's family! We promise that you won't be disappointed!
Established in 1930.
Joe's Tavern has been serving Cohoes since 1930. Our mission is to provide the best Italian cuisine around in a warm, welcoming environment. With over 75 years of success, we look forward to adding you to our long history of happy customers.
Meet the Business Owner
Mike has been in the restaurant industry for many years. Mike enjoys being able to serve the public at Joe's Tavern, where our fine Italian meals are the driving force of the business. Mike hopes to provide you such a positive experience you'll remember to return to Joe's Tavern when you're in need of a great meal.
People also viewed
The beer is always cold, the owners, bar tenders and other staff have become family and when I crave their wings, nothing will make my cravings subside but a 12 hour drive for a dozen HOT WINGS.
The two rivers pizza is delicious, and the calzones are amazing.
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Yelping since 2008 with 17 reviews