HOURS

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 12pm-8pm
Thursday: 12pm-8pm
Friday: 12pm-8pm
Saturday: 12pm-8pm
Sunday: 12pm-8pm

Our Story

1692 – Antonio Latini's cookbook Lo scalco alla moderna teaches literally dozens of people that could a)afford books, b)read, and c)wanted to learn to cook sauces how to make marinara sauce.  The world is forever different.  Our marinara recipe isn’t quite as old, but it is an old family recipe that has remained unchanged for decades, and is prepared fresh daily.

1863 – Saratoga Race Course opened its doors to the public, and attracted socialites, gambling junkies, and everything in between for the next 147+ years.  Restaurants, and trends, of all types have come and gone.  We’ve been here for almost 20 years, and aren’t going anywhere because we stick with what we do best – provide fresh, satisfying, home-cooked meals for you and your family.

1934 – The most important year in the history of The Ripe Tomato!  Owner Joe Gleason was born just outside of NYC.  Mr. Gleason picked celery, layed bricks, drove soda trucks, wrote advertising, played semipro baseball, built a residential development, attended college, and served our country in the Army – all before he was 25.  But he has never been in any line of work he loves as much as the restaurant business. You can still find him in the kitchen experimenting, and the dining room interacting with customers, almost every day.

1934 (yes we can repeat dates!) – The building that houses The Ripe Tomato was erected on Route 9, the major route north from Manhattan to the Adirondacks and beyond.  For the next 40 years, it served at various times as an inn for weary travelers, a rowdy roadhouse, various restaurants, and, yes, a brothel.

mail-1.jpg1970(ish) through 1990(ish) – The building housed two well-known community restaurants, ones that many of our customers still remember to this day – seafood house “Red’s” and fresh pasta-centric “The Elms” (next time you come in for dinner, check out the framed aerial photograph of the building circa 1970 and the utter lack of any surrounding buildings).

Some time in the late 20 century – Mr. Gleason, who is as big a track junkie as the rest of us (he actually owned and operated a thoroughbred farm in Dutchess County for a decade, which helped him hone his handicapping skills), negotiates the purchase of “The Elms.”  In a fit of creative brilliance, he rechristens the restaurant “The Elm Tree Tavern.”  Customers see the quite-similar name and react accordingly.  The food was great, but we were the only ones eating it!

Some time 2 years later in the late 20th century – Over dinner in an empty dining room, Mrs. Gleason (the brains of the operation) suggests rebranding the restaurant “The Ripe Tomato,” redecorating the interior and redesigning the menu (check out her now-famous tomato pictures throughout the restaurant!)

img004.jpgTo celebrate the grand re-opening, we hired an elephant.  Her name was Buella.  Cars u-turned on route 9 to see why there was a 2 ton packaderm wearing an equally large tomato-emblazoned cape lumbering around the parking lot.  They stayed to hang out, and fed her lettuce, which she liked, and canteloupes, which she disliked and spit out at high velocity.  Then they called their friends and families, who showed up too.  Soon, news crews materialized out of thin air, sharing the story with tens of thousands more.  Buella went back to Ringling Brothers later that day with a full belly after making many children very happy, and introducing the community to the restaurant in a very unique way.

A few months later - we received our first Times Union review. It was great, and we got really busy really quickly.  Mr. and Mrs. Gleason decided that they could use a little help with the day-to-day operations of “The Tomato,” and brought their son-in-law into the mix. If you’ve booked a reservation, planned an off-site catering job, or dined with us on a busy weekend, you’ve undoubtedly spoken with Milan, as he has managed the restaurant’s day-to-day operations for the past decade.

football_2010_008.jpgRecently - The next generation has started contributing to the family business – Milan’s sons Chris and Andrew can often be found bussing tables or working on the building when they are not at football or swim practice. 

Through the years and the new faces, however, we have always stayed true to what we do best - provide fresh, satisfying, home-cooked meals for you and your family - and we relish the opportunity to show you why we are one of the area’s most loved restaurants.