SCHENECTADY — The tired sales pitch that warns you of what happens in Vegas isn’t necessarily true. Not in the case of Randy Loren’s Dolce Vita Ristorante.
Loren is an accomplished musician with songs that had received constant air play on radio, before the restaurant, as a dedicated performer. “I lived in Vegas for 35 years. I traveled the world. I was a recording artist. That was my profession. … We were selling 50,000 CDs. I was on Video Jukebox, MTV, VH1. Everywhere,” he said. An opportunity arose that would have had him touring Japan and Southeast Asia. However, familial obligations anchored him stateside and the record label cut him loose. It’s what ultimately lead him to establish roots here.
“Cornell [University] did a study,” said Loren. “During wartime, recession [or] economic depression; food, beverage, hair styling and gambling never falter. Everything else falls apart, those four industries never falter. People will always go eat. They’ll always go drink. They’ll always get their hair done, and they’ll always gamble.”
Dolce Vita translates from Italian as “sweet life.” The marriage between live music and good food makes for a sweet evening of entertainment.
Loren took his years in the music industry while living in Las Vegas and later applied it towards a life here in the Capital District. There’s no gambling, but what you do have at Dolce Vita is a traditional Italian restaurant, with his white piano and dance floor as focal points in an expansive dining room charged with an energy you’d expect in a desert casino. “It’s a romantic atmosphere,” he said.
“There’s no where… I’ve had people from everywhere, Saratoga, all surrounding regions, there’s nowhere with the atmosphere that we have. Our happy-hour is the most generous: from five to seven, Tuesday through Friday, $3 well drinks, $2.50 beers, $5 martinis or Manhattans) and $4 house wines. Then we have a $5, wonderful, generous bar menu.”
Loren also offers a Parmesan special every Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by a prime rib offering every Thursday.
Off the menu, Loren provides the entertainment, singing and playing piano every Friday and Saturday night. Once a month, he hosts a popular Las Vegas night.
“Last night, we had two kids who had never, ever been here before,” said Loren. “They came from Queensbury, and they were on Facebook. They came here and drove all that way. They sat in that booth over there, and said, ‘Oh my god. We feel like we’re in a Las Vegas showroom.’”
Loren said every touch in his showroom he learned from interior designers and restaurateurs, alike. “These lights give off a pink glow, which gives the white linen under the black lights an effect. See, I learned the room has to be alive [even] with no one in it.”
Dolce Vita is located at 1727 State Street in Schenectady. For more information, call 357-3324 or visit www.theprovensystem.com for details on its menu.