A quick look inside the new Troy Bombers

Bombers Troy exterior

Right off the Green Island Bridge.

The new Bombers in Troy opens this Wednesday. The opening is notable not only because it's an extension of Matt Baumgartner and company's popular local burrito bar brand, but also because it's the chain's first franchise location.

Monday night there was a preview party, so we stopped by to get a look at the new place, and talk with Matt and the owners of the Troy location for a few minutes.

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Tami and Damon Dzembo

"I had an epiphany in '08, and thought that Troy needed a Bombers," said owner Tami Dzembo, standing alongside her husband Damon outside the new location as a happy, loud crowd celebrated with drinks and food inside. "I love Bombers. ... and I just thought Troy would be a wonderful place. I'm a believer in Troy. I think Troy is on the upswing."

Added Damon: "As soon as Matt offered the opportunity to franchise, it was almost a no-brainer."

Matt Baumgartner and his business partners have a string of successful restaurants and bars in the area -- Bombers, Wolff's, the Olde English, Sciortino's -- so why hand things off to someone else in a franchise?

"For a while people said 'You should open up in other cities' -- like Syracuse," Baumgartner explained Monday evening while sitting on one of the benches in a large street-level window at the front of the restaurant. "But I knew I wouldn't be able to do all the travel."

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Matt Baumgartner

Of course, Troy isn't that far -- but: "Tami had approached us really early on." And Matt said he had a good feeling about the Dzembos, that they'd be the right type of people to be able to handle the stress of running a restaurant. "I'm proud of the location, but I'm really proud of the relationship with the owners."

It took a long time to get to this point. Working out the details and paperwork involved in setting up a franchise took time. And the building needed significant work (at one point last year it had a large hole in the back wall) -- which Damon, a general contractor, described with a laugh as "a great construction learning process."

But both parties stuck with it. That made an impression on the Dzembos.

"[Matt] had multiple opportunities to cancel the deal," Damon said, touching on the time it took them to gather up the money to invest in the venture. "He should have kicked us to curb a long time ago, but he didn't because he promised her Troy."

"On a hand shake," added Tami.

Location

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The building is at the end of what has been a rundown strip on King Street at Federal Street. As you drive over the Green Island Bridge, it's right there. You can't miss it.

"We have the best piece of real estate in the city of Troy," Tami exclaimed.

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Inside and out it's un-mistakably a Bombers. If you've ever been to the chain's Albany or Schenectady locations, you'll recognize the style right away: the neon sign outside, the red and blue color scheme, the booths, the pinup girl art. It's a fun space.

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Whatever skills are in Baumgartner's portfolio as a business person, we've thought for a while now that his biggest talent is his ability to design and execute spaces and experiences that draw people in. And looking at things that way, franchising makes a lot of sense -- it allows him to apply his eye for design and atmosphere to a larger scale. (And as he told us a few years back, "the set up of a restaurant is my favorite part.")

Talking Monday night, Matt said they're currently fielding interest from people in Oneonta and New Paltz about new franchises. Their ideal spots: towns with large college populations, foot traffic, and mixed-use residential. "Smaller, cool" cities, as he described them.

Which sounds a lot like Troy.

Troy

The Dzembos had a lot of praise for the experience of working with the city on their project.

"At all levels of the government, from the mayor down to code enforcement to the the guy in street turning on water valves, everybody's been great to work with," Damon said.

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They're hoping the opening of their Bombers will spur further development along that King Street strip -- sections of which have been vacant for years, and frankly, the whole stretch has looked rather sad. The Dzembos say they've heard rumors of plans for a new sports bar, or maybe a coffee shop, or a laundromat.

As Tami notes of real estate listings for the spaces, "They all advertise 'next to Bombers.'"

Find It

Bombers Troy
King Street and Federal Street
Troy, NY 12180

Comments

Congratulations to them.

Only one negative, the trim colors on the building look dated and doesn't compliment their signage at all.

The building looks like it should be in an Edward Hopper painting. I think that's a good thing.

I work in Green Island and come over the bridge into Troy for lunch a couple times per week...I'm very excited for this new spot! Congrats to the new owners!

Wishing them luck! They scored a sharp location, highly visible and tucked nicely right between Brown's and the Dinosaur BBQ.

Interesting comments re: working with City authorities. I've heard just the opposite from a few different business owners I've known (and worked for) in Troy.

The space is beautiful and they selected the perfect location for the restaurant!

@Architect: That is a great observation re: the colors looking dated. Downtown Troy is a registered national historical district. The building paint colors have to be approved by the city to help maintain the historic character of the community.

Interesting comments. I've never heard any small business owner in Albany EVER say anything positive about working with the city at any level. I'm hoping that changes in the post Jennings era but there is a lot to overcome in a city workforce culture that tends to range from bored indifference to outright hostility.

I have heard several small business owners say they will never invest in Albany again. Something needs to change. I once worked in a large corporation. Eventually all the good people left because they got tired of living in a Dilbert cartoon environment and as much as one person might want to change it, that isn't possible. I see the same happening with Albany. Either find yourself a high paying government job and learn to love the system or go somewhere else. Of course, there is the third option of drinking yourself silly until 4AM which is also popular.

now if only the City of Troy would be as "wonderful" to the long established businesses who want to expand but get stonewalled at every turn. they have a tendency to turn their back on the people who started the Renaissance of troy in the early 2000's.

Working with the City of Troy couldn't be easier. Just ignore them and do what you want. Most of the administration, including code enforcement, is asleep at the wheel.

It's great a new business is coming to Troy, but it's sad that the city officials act like they brought Google to the city rather than just another restaurant and bar which the area has plenty of. Also the amount of bureaucracy they went through would make anyone reconsider opening anything in Troy ever. And now I'm off to the Farmer's Market to buy a $5 tomato...

Just a guess. When you buy a franchise. You agree to put up the Golden Arches. Or paint colors.

Stop by the Albany Bombers some time. Eerily similar to the new one.

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