Items tagged with 'Matt Baumgartner'

Checking out the new Wolff's Biergarten in Troy -- and Troy Cantina

Wolff's Biergarten Troy

The newest Wolff's Biergarten opens today in Troy in the King Street location formerly occupied by a Bombers Burrito Bar franchise, just off the eastern side of the Green Island Bridge.

The restaurant group headed by Matt Baumgartner and partners took over this location after the franchise owners decided to stop operating last fall. While assessing the situation they decided to switch the concept from Bombers to Wolff's. They also added a new concept upstairs that location -- Troy Cantina -- focused on tacos and tequila.

This is the group's fourth Wolff's, joining locations in Albany, Schenectady, and Syracuse.

We stopped by Wednesday to get a look at the transformation of the space, and talk with Matt Baumgartner for a few minutes about making the switch, plans for more biergartens in other cities, and how he picks out opportunities.

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A look inside Wolff's Biergarten Schenectady

The new new Wolff's Biergarten in downtown Schenectady opens Wednesday around 4 pm.

This Wolff's looks a lot like the Albany location, but it's larger, with three garage doors, more picnic tables, lots of flat screens for viewing soccer matches, and the requisite indoor faux tree. The building has been vacant for about ten years. It started out as a service station and last belonged to KEM cleaners.

If the Erie Blvd location seems strange, Matt Baumgartner says, it is a little.

"I think that's also consistent with Wolff's in Albany, which opened before there was much down in that area. And hopefully it will grow the same way."

Renovations on Erie Boulevard and recent growth in Schenectady were encouraging factors, he says. And the building itself interested him. "It was really affordable, and I love an old, sad building -- and this one was really sad. But I knew you could have garage doors, and having the garage doors is a real asset. People love them."

So with a Bombers and a Wolff's, is there going to be a Schenectady Sciortino's too? Baumgartner just laughs.

"Well, that's a good question. There's an empty building across the street."

After the jump, a look inside Wolff's Schenectady.

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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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A look inside the new Sciortino's, and talking with Matt Baumgartner about Albany's potential

Frank Sciortino's grandson, Matt.

At first glance, the old diner car still looks like the Miss Albany -- well, a scrubbed and polished version of the Miss Albany. The booths are the same - the classic diner floors, counters and tile. But the walls are the first give-away that you're not in the Miss Albany anymore.

The famous signs warning patrons about unruly children have been replaced by classic old photos. They're from the families of Matt Baumgartner and his business partners, Jimmy and Demetra Vann. Sciortino's is named for Baumgartner's mother's family -- specifically for his grandparents, Frank and Rachel Sciortino, whose pictures occupy a prominent space behind the front counter.

The latest in Baumgartner's string of Capital Region business ventures -- and his continuing effort to bring life into to Albany's warehouse district -- opens on Wednesday.

Here's a look inside...

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The plan for the Miss Albany building

sciortinos neon signMatt Baugartner posted today the plan for the Miss Albany Diner building -- an Italian restaurant called Sciortino's:

Sciortino's is going to be a casual, Italian restaurant featuring some of my grandparent's recipes, and other delicious stuff like meatballs, pizza and pitchers of beer (!!!).

That's the sign for the new restaurant on the right.

The place is named after his grandparents. Sadly, his grandfather passed away Sunday:

I'm gonna miss him very much. He was the best grandfather I ever could have wished for. I'm happy that his last name will live on in a restaurant that I hope he would have been proud of.

Matt and business partners Jimmy and Demetra Vann bought the Miss Albany building -- but not the name or recipes -- in February. As you well know, the group also owns Wolff's, which is just next door.

photo: Matt Baumgartner

To: Roy McDonald, From: Bombers and Matt Baumgartner, Re: marriage equality

mcdonald marriage equality billboard baumgartner

You can see it as you travel south on I-787.

This electronic billboard message is now showing along I-787, just north of the Central Warehouse. Bombers owner Matt Baumgartner bought the billboard to reach one person: state Senator Roy McDonald. The Republican, who represents Rensselaer County and much of Saratoga County, is publicly "undecided" on legalizing same-sex marriage.

We emailed with Matt, who's gay and has been an outspoken proponent of marriage equality, this afternoon about why he chose a billboard to reach McDonald.

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The Scoop

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