Mazzone Hospitality is planning to open a restaurant inside the East Greenbush casino if the operators of the proposed project get a casino license.
Mazzone is partnering with the operators of Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Churchill Downs of Kentucky to build a dining facility — possibly a steakhouse — that would feature local products.
“The team is very excited about being part of this casino,” Mazzone Hospitality owner Angelo Mazzone said during a news conference Wednesday morning at Angelo’s 677 Prime in downtown Albany. “We are looking forward to doing this, and it is an honor to be a part of this. This will be great for the Capital Region as a whole.”
Mazzone said the restaurant might be a steakhouse, which would be scaled up or down, depending on the number of visitors expected at the proposed casino. The facility will be “branded with our personality and look,” he said.
The restaurant would use products from area farms. The casino site will also have its own herb and vegetable gardens.
“Our goal was to do this from a local perspective and to feature as many local products and local images as we possibly could,” said Rita Cox, spokeswoman for Saratoga Casino and Raceway. “There is a tremendous amount of great food that is grown right here in our region, so we want to highlight that.”
The proposed project for Thompson Hill off exits 8 and 9 of Interstate 90 includes a 100,000-square-foot gaming facility, a 150-room hotel, 20,000 square feet of retail space, restaurants and parking garages.
Last week, the East Greenbush Town Board unanimously passed a resolution of support for a casino despite a majority of local residents at the meeting speaking out against the proposal.
According to the operators, the casino and resort is expected to create a total of 1,700 construction and permanent jobs. It would also generate $24.1 million for the Capital Region and $5.7 million each for the town and Rensselaer County.
“It is a great opportunity for us to align ourselves with the casinos and especially with Capital View Casino & Resort because of their background and things they have done for the community up in Saratoga,” Mazzone said. “It is just a great alliance, and we feel it will be worthwhile for us and our company.”
Mazzone has also expressed interest in other casino sites being pitched in the Capital Region. He was in discussions with David Flaum of Flaum Management in Rochester, who had plans for a casino in Albany, but after that project fell through, Flaum has shifted his focus to the city of Rensselaer.
During a Schenectady City Council meeting earlier this month, Mazzone also spoke in favor of a casino in Schenectady on behalf of the Chamber of Schenectady County. The council voted 5-2 to support the proposed project.
“I was not asked by Schenectady, and I did not talk to them about a potential restaurant,” Mazzone said after the news conference. “We have an alliance with everybody because there is only going to be one casino.”
The Schenectady casino project will have three different dining facilities, including a sports bar, a steakhouse and a marketplace. The marketplace would be “like an upscale food court,” said David Buicko, chief operating officer of Galesi Group, the Rotterdam developer proposing the Schenectady casino with Rush Street Gaming of Chicago. The marketplace would serve pizza, burgers and other quick bites.
Buicko said Rush Street Gaming is in the process of designing the facilities, and it has not yet been determined whether it would operate the restaurants or bring in an outside group.
“They will give strong consideration to outside local groups,” Buicko said. “They have the capability of doing it themselves, but they will explore local options.”
Mazzone said he supports a full-scale casino in the Capital Region wherever it may be. If East Greenbush were not awarded a casino license, he would pursue an agreement with the site that gets it.
“We did talk about an alliance with the folks with the Albany casino,” Mazzone said. “Basically, we’re supporting the governor’s decision of opening casinos in the region. We just feel having an alliance with Capital View Casino & Resort is in our best interest right now.”