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Downtown restaurant favorite Friday gathering place

ALBANY — From staying open Friday nights during the Downtown Merchants Association's First Friday events, Our Daily Bread restaurant at 106 N. Washington St. has become the home of a growing musical/dining scene.

The restaurant, whose normal business hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, hosts various local musical and spoken-word artists each Friday night, drawing a growing crowd of diners and local music enthusiasts looking for a happening place to kick off their weekend.

"The most typical reaction we're getting is 'I never expected to see anything like this in Albany,'" said Jason Warren, who with his wife Mendy opened Our Daily Bread on Feb. 10. "Everyone seems to really enjoy coming in and listening to the local artists. We keep it family-oriented, we don't pay anyone to play and people are still beating down our door to get a chance to play."

When the Warrens decided to keep Our Daily Bread open during First Friday events, which started in the spring, they were approached by representatives of the local spoken-word community hoping to set aside a night for them.

"We decided to start staying open the first and second Fridays," Warren said.

When the crowd, drawn by the artists, chef Warren's Friday specials — "Whatever strikes me on a given night" — and Mendy Warren's famous home-made cakes and desserts, kept growing, the Warrens decided to invite local artists to play at an open mic gathering on the third Friday of each month.

Local jazz artists asked if they could nail down the fourth Friday, and the Warrens' little restaurant was suddenly an entertainment option on Southwest Georgia Friday nights.

"We've got our Music Trends third Friday booked for the next two months," Warren said. "We check out each band to make sure they fit in with what we're trying to do, but we do try to keep it something for local artists."

Young musicians who study at the downtown LeVee studio, a Darton college jazz ensemble, 14-year-old Hannah Murphy and Adrian Blu from Atlanta, who plays with Albany-based musicians, are among the artists who perform regularly at Our Daily Bread. Blu is scheduled to perform at the restaurant Friday night.

"We're getting excellent feedback from our Friday nights," Warren said. "We haven't been open a year yet, so we don't have numbers (of patrons) to compare to, but we're still happy here. We love downtown, and our business plan involves a lot of praying.

"We're seeing forward motion downtown. Our goal is to keep doing what we're doing and make it to the spring. Then we focus on the next thing."

Comments

chinaberry25 1 year, 5 months ago

This is a good thing but I do not know why the powers that be are throwing money into downtown Albany. It is a dead horse already stinking. Nothing is open to spend money. Whey the library closes it will be even deader on weekends if that is possible.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 4 months ago

The library downtown isn't closing just renovating. Not sure what you are talking about.

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billybob 1 year, 5 months ago

The 'local spoken word community'??

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LoneCycler 1 year, 4 months ago

"Spoken-word" is code for smug hipster left-wing anti-establishment anti-white male open prose poetry. Since Our Daily Bread keeps it family oriented, this is like listening to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright figure out a way to say "GD America" without using profanity. Think of it as Tosh Sevier approved social commentary. The Jazz ensemble is awesome and worth hearing -- talented young artists all.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 4 months ago

Spoken Word is not a smug hipster left-wing blah, blah, blah... Maybe you need to hear the poets because that is not what they talk about in their poetry.

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Sapphireblue959 1 year, 4 months ago

chinabery25, have you visited the downtown library lately? It is dead, dirty carpet and walls from the first to the second floor. It is disgusting, I felt like taking a bath after I left there; was there for about 5 minutes, had to print something out quickly. The library needs a face lift badly, but since it coudl be closing, oh well.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 4 months ago

It's not closing. It will be getting a facelift soon.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 4 months ago

Sapphire, I go to the library about twice a week. I have seen a decline since the Duggan Man left. He did not allow all the riff raff to sleep on the chairs and all others bring food and drink and make a free for all cafe. The new library needs to have stricter rules with no free computers. Without the computers you would not feel like it is grand central station in NYC. I go to do research for genealogy and I do hope they leave that at the Thronateeska and I will not need ever to go there again. The Columbus library does not have this atmosphere and they are quite and respectful. They are allowed to get away with it so they do.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 4 months ago

Jason and Mendy are the two most caring and hardworking people I know. Love goes into their food and you can tell. ODB is my favorite place to eat.

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