When the tavern first opened in 1935 it was called Jim's Tavern. Jim O'Hearn and his family first ventured up the hill from Remsen Street to start a community focused tavern they could call their own. For five years the O’Hearn‘s provided food and beverage to the residents of Bunker Hill. During Workd War II otbis said that Jim helped out his small comm as fathers, husbands, sons and uncles all went off to fight bravely for their country. In the mid 1940‘s the O’Hearn’s had a bigger vision and decided to sell the Tavern. Jim went on to open The Century House on what is now route 9 in Latham. His family still runs the business to this day.
Joe’s Tavern got its name in 1944 with the sale of 16 Division St to Joe and Delores Ponzo. Joe and Dee made the move up from Brooklyn where they had also owned a restaurant. The people of Cohoes were quite pleased the Ponzo family brought their pizza recipe with them. With the delicious pizza being served every night, the beverages flowing and the fun and caring Ponzo’s providing their guests with warm, energetic and comfortable service, the tavern quickly became known as Joe’s in Cohoes and the name stuck! During the war, as well as after, the Ponzo’shad a deep commitment to their community. the stories of their hospitality, generosity and compassion can still be heard on certain evenings in the dining room today.
The Anania Family we’re next in line to own this now developing landmar in Cohoes. They purchased it from the Ponzo’s in the 1960’s and kept the tradition alive. Joe’s became the Friday night hangout after dances, basketball games and social gatherings at the Lyceum at St. Agnes. Gerald Anania was also a community focused man giving many Cohoes residents the opportunity of a job whether it be washing dishes, making pizzas or tending bar. People still walk through these doors talking about their first job as a teenager here.
In 1973 Helen and Paul Bertrand took ownership of Joe’s. With a few small upgrades, including the pizza oven we still use today, the tradition and name kept building as the pizzas kept rolling out of the tiny kitchen, always served with a smile from Helen. The people in the surrounding community would send their children over with a big empty pot that Helen would fill with spaghett, sauce and her famous meatballs. Helen Bertrand Rifenburg is also the creator of the Willy, a sandwich that is still on our menu to this day! For 27 years Helen and her family touched the lives and stomachs of people from Cohoes and the neighboring cities.
On the year 2000 Marty and Kathy Riberdy bought the tavern and had Helen show them the ropes. As the pizza kept coming out of the kitchen friends gathered in the dining room, known as the bamboo room, for dart leagues. The tunes were flowing out of the jujebox, horseshoes in the backyard and with Marty and Kathy’s contagious energy and smiles a good time was had by all!
In 2007 Angela Marra and Kevin McCarthy decided to expand the menu as they became the sixth owners of the tavern. With a focus on the food Angela and Kevin brought back the old time feel of community in the dining room. After a few years business opportunities pulled them in a different direction and the tavern was faced with the possibility of closing its doors which it did for the first time at the end of February 2011. After two months of small repairs and minor renovations, including removal of the bamboo, Joe’s opened its doors under new and current ownership.
At Joe’s Tavern it is our mission to provide the highest quality food at reasonable prices while giving exemplary service that will establish community relationships for years to come. My wife Amber, and myself, Michael Fortin, are committed to providing a wonderful experience for you, your family and your friends that will keep you coming back time and time again. We use only the highest quality and freshest ingredients available to us and take pride in each and every dish we serve and drink we pour. Whether it be dining with us, taking it home to your family or having a party catered by us, we promise you our best every time. So much more than a tavern... SMALL PLACE, BIG TASTE!!!