Scotia’s Dairy Circus to rebuild

Popular eatery burned down last year
Scotia firefighters battle a fire that destroyed the Dairy Circus on Sacandaga Road on April 18, 2016.
Scotia firefighters battle a fire that destroyed the Dairy Circus on Sacandaga Road on April 18, 2016.

A Scotia ice cream stand and restaurant that became an institution is planning to rebuild after a devastating fire nearly a year ago left its future uncertain.

Robb and Doreen Clemons have submitted plans to the village to rebuild the Dairy Circus on Sacandaga Road (state Route 147), which was destroyed by fire on April 18, 2016. The village Planning Board is due to review the plans on March 6.

“They are planning to rebuild something very similar, with the same business plan,” said Scotia Mayor Kris Kastberg, a friend of the owners.


In the immediate wake of the fire, the Clemons’ said they didn’t think they would rebuild the restaurant, which had been in business across the highway from Scotia-Glenville High School since 1970.

“It’s taken a year for shock to sink in and for them go through what their options are,” Kastberg said. “It’s a family-owned business, it was Robb and Doreen and one of their sons.”

Through Kastberg, Robb Clemons said he didn’t want to speak publicly until he has gone through the approval process.

The building was originally built as a Dairy Queen, but the Clemons family took it over in 1970s. Robb Clemons’ father operated it before he and his wife took over. It provided ice cream, along with burgers, hot dogs, french fries and other classic drive-in fare. It has both walk-up windows and indoor seating. In addition, the restaurant served breakfast and did catering.

Dairy Circus gained a further measure of fame when it was the setting for a scene between Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes during the filming of the Hollywood movie “The Place Beyond the Pines” in 2011.


Nobody was hurt in the quick-moving fire. The cause was not determined because of the destruction, but the Scotia Fire Department said it was accidental.

The new restaurant would have a larger kitchen and different seating arrangement.

“They definitely had a niche that had not been filled by anyone else, especially with the catering,” Kastberg said.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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