Joe’s Tavern to close, but Curry Patta is back on the table

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff
Nadia Raza sits in her now-closed Pakistani Curry Patta, in Altamont Corners. Raza plans to reopen the restaurant in another location after closing her most recent venture, Joe’s Tavern. 

ALTAMONT — Joe’s Tavern is closing at the end of the month, but those enthralled by Altamont restaurateur Nadia Raza’s culinary offerings can look forward to her re-opening the much-beloved Curry Patta once she finds a suitable location. 

With Joe’s Tavern, named for her husband, Raza had been able to avoid the kind of dramatic rent dispute that she says led to the closure of Curry Patta. She was not, however, spared any of the other day-to-day frustrations of running a restaurant. 

“We had a landscaper cutting the grass outside and weed whacking, and he accidentally cut the propane line,” she told The Enterprise this week of one such incident. “I was in the kitchen cooking for Pakistani night, and all of a sudden everything turned off. I called Long Energy and they were gracious enough to send a technician ASAP, but that took almost over 2 hours.”

Raza had no choice but to tell her customers that she could no longer fill their orders. 

“Some guests can be very understanding,” she said, adding, “Others are not.”

There were times when a chef would call out sick and the dishwasher was running late, leaving her alone to cover all those responsibilities. Even when staff was available, their competencies varied, and, with high turnover of kitchen staff, it could be hard to predict who, exactly, would be around to rely on. 

One chef, Raza said, told her during his second shift that he was homeless and that, in order to keep working there, he would need the expense of a hotel room covered. 

The restaurant has had six chefs since it opened in December, she said, with her husband, Knox native Joe Conklin, then at the helm.

But the biggest challenge of all has been her cancer battle. Raza said she was diagnosed with a “quiet, non-symptomatic type of thyroid cancer” and had surgery just a month after the tavern opened. 

“I was in recovery from the surgical procedure for almost two months,” she said. That took a big toll on the business. My continued recovery from the effects of follow-up treatment and need for regular monitoring, coupled with the larger capacity of the building and the absence of my husband who is doing construction in St. Kitts.”

The couple had a rent-to-own contract with the owner of the property — whom Raza said has been “incredibly understanding and supportive” — with the opportunity to withdraw within the first year.

“We thought it best to withdraw now to ensure a continued positive outcome healthwise,” she said. 

Now, Raza’s efforts turn to finding a new location for Curry Patta, which used to operate out of Altamont Corners but closed after property owner Jeff Thomas claimed she was behind on her rent, which she disputed, making several counterclaims that The Enterprise reported in detail last October. 

The Thomas situation is behind her now, Raza said this week, and, in a certain sense, she’s glad it happened. 

“Whatever the reasons he had for attempting to change the intentions of the addition or my purpose in being there, I have had to process that spiritually and let it go to focus on my recovery,” Raza said.

She added that, had it not been for Curry Patta closing, she wouldn’t have discovered her asymptomatic cancer, because she only would have sought medical assistance had symptoms become obvious since she was so busy running the restaurant.

“There is something to be said for the cliché ‘everything happens for a reason,’” she said.

Unfortunately for Raza’s fans in Altamont, the couple are listing their home for sale, meaning that they’re not necessarily seeking locations close by. They’re searching “as far as Saratoga and as close as Delmar,” Raza said. 

But however far it is, it will be a homecoming for Raza, who said that Curry Patta is her “true love.”

With Joe’s Tavern, she said, “nothing extraordinary was on the menu. We weren’t a destination. We were just a local tavern with bar food and, with all the transition in chefs, we couldn’t keep good consistency.”

But Curry Patta was “thriving in Altamont,” she said, adding, “Perhaps I am still grieving the loss of Curry Patta and the recent challenges with my health but to me, when the doors opened to Curry Patta each day, I felt as though people were coming to my home in Pakistan.”

And that home came with family, in the form of a loyal front-of-house staff and a devout chef who she said are waiting for the restaurant to reopen so they can follow her there.

“The chef that was at Curry Patta is 70 years old, prayed in the kitchen 5 times a day and blessed our restaurant, while maintaining the utmost professionalism and putting out great food,” she said.

In the meantime, before Joe’s Tavern officially closes on Sept. 30, Pakistani food will be on the menu every night, and on the final night, local artist Debra Jean will be performing, and the restaurant will serve complimentary appetizers and provide access to a complimentary grazing table and a cash bar.

“Guests have been showing an outpouring of love and support and are sad to see us close because they enjoyed the Pakistani Tuesdays,” Raza said. 

More Hilltowns News

  • The Albany County Legislature’s Finance Committee approved the purchase of the Berne-owned property at its Nov. 16 meeting, and Legislature Mark Grimm says that the full legislature is expected to authorize it at their next meeting on Dec. 4.

  • Incumbent Rensselaerville Justice Gregory Bischoff won re-election by only nine votes, trailed by his Republican opponent, Richard Tollner. Although the Albany County Board of Election has released its official general election results, some ballots have been sent back to voters to be cured of any defects, and the final total for the Rensselaerville justice race won’t be known until the end of the month. 


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