Downtown Schenectady's newest eatery, Bombers Burrito Bar, will open at 11 a.m. today, offering food and drink specials to commemorate Cinco de Mayo.
Owner Matt Baumgartner said he will be rolling burritos and pouring beer until 2 a.m.
"I am really excited. It's like a dream," Baumgartner said. "It is fun to expand the brand and also to be able to set up a restaurant in a way that is efficient and sensible."
The Schenectady establishment, at 451 State St., is Baumgartner's second Bombers in the Capital Region. He opened his first at 258 Lark St. in Albany in 1997.
Mayor Brian U. Stratton said anticipation of today's opening has been building ever since Baumgartner put up a white, red and blue neon Bombers sign last week in front of the store.
"I have heard people talking about it. They know the legacy and it is all coming together. I look forward to proclaiming tomorrow as 'Bombers Burrito Bar Day,'"" Stratton said Monday.
Jim Salengo, executive director of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp., said he thinks the opening will be busy for Bombers. "We are really excited about it," he said.
Stratton said the addition of Bombers downtown "will bring a whole new element and twist to our nightlife, and it taps into the college student market. It is something students at Union College said they wanted."
The State Street Bombers is bigger than the Albany establishment and will be open longer hours. It will employ 65 full- and part-time staff, compared with 45 in Albany. It will open at 11 a.m. and serve food and beverages until 2 a.m. seven days a week. The Albany store stops selling food at 1 a.m. on Sundays.
The new Bombers occupies a three-story building, which Baumgartner bought and totally remodeled. The first floor will offer take-out and tables, but no wait service. The second floor will contain a bar and restaurant. The third floor will feature a private banquet hall, which will open at a later date.
Baumgartner said on his blog he fielded 400 job applications for positions at the Schenectady restaurant. He also said he had planned to open the place a year ago, but had difficulty obtaining loans because of the national financial meltdown. In January he secured $756,000 in bank financing and immediately began renovating the interior of 451 State St., which he purchased last year.
"Thank you for your patience. I think it will be worth it. The inside looks amazing, and our staff is a great group of fun people," Baumgartner said in his blog.
Baumgartner bought the State Street building, the former James' Boxing Gym, from the Metroplex Development Authority for $500,000. He paid half the price at closing and must pay the remainder over the next 15 years at 5 percent interest to Metroplex rather than to a bank.
Baumgartner also got $40,000 from Metroplex to install sprinklers on the three floors and to fit up the restaurant, and got a $75,000 facade grant. Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said the building's 100-year-old facade required a complete makeover. Metroplex renovated the 7,620-square-foot building with skylights and new windows in 2007.