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Jack's Oyster House celebrates 100 years

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Albany/HV: Jack's Oyster House celebrates 100 years
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It opened its doors in 1913, and now, 100 years later, a family-owned Albany restaurant is still going strong. Our Megan Cruz has the story.


ALBANY, N.Y. -- It's lunchtime at Jack's Oyster House. For a century, locals, tourists, celebrities, and politicians have come for a great meal with a side of Capital Region history.

When you walk into Jack's Oyster House on State Street, it's tradition that the owner greets you himself. Brad Rosenstein says that's just what you do, when you welcome people to your home.

"We're the second oldest continuously-owned by the same family fining dining restaurant in America and we're very proud to still be around," said Rosenstein.

Jack's first opened its doors on January 24, 1913. As the restaurant turns one hundred this week, Rosenstein reflects on his family's humble beginnings here in Albany.

"My grandfather decided when he was 20 years old to open a restaurant for himself and called it Jack's Oyster House and it was on Beaver Street two blocks away," said Rosenstein.

You see a picture of his grandfather Jack when you first come into the restaurant. Other photos also line the walls recounting the restaurant's history.

"The Oriental Occidental Restaurant on State Street," says Rosenstein, as he points at a 1937 picture of State Street. "My grandfather was able to pick that up."

The new location on State Street soon made Jack's a popular choice for politicians at the Capitol.

"It's called the Governor's Table," he said. "We've had every single governor sit there over the years."

It's at this booth and others that Rosenstein says prominent diners brokered deals that shaped state politics.

"We've been brought up here to be confidential and if we tell too many stories about what goes on, people aren't going to be able to trust when they come here to have that confidentiality. So I apologize, but some of those deals we try to keep quiet," said Rosenstein.

But Jack's hasn't just been a place for political milestones. Hundreds have celebrated birthdays, engagements, and weddings here.

"It's surreal. We get so many comments and people mentioning how near and dear this restaurant is to them and their families," said Rosenstein.

It's for those customers that Rosenstein says the restaurant has always been open seven days a week. It was only closed once, in 1987, for his grandfather's funeral. A demanding job, but one he says is worth it.

"The biggest reward is when the guests acknowledge how much they're enjoying the experience," said Rosenstein.

An experience his family hopes to be serving up in another hundred years.

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