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Mallozzis to feed casino crowd

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Mallozzis to feed casino crowd

Schenectady’s new casino will feature two well-known restaurants — Johnny’s and Villa Italia.
Mallozzis to feed casino crowd
Bobby Mallozzi shows off tray of 7-layer Christmas cookies at the Villa Italia in this file photo.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Schenectady’s new casino will feature two well-known restaurants — Johnny’s and Villa Italia.

The Mallozzi family is planning to open scaled-down versions of Italian restaurant Johnny’s on State Street and Villa Italia Bakery on Broadway at the future Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor.

Bobby Mallozzi said the family-owned company, the Mallozzi Group, would also operate a burger joint and Asian restaurant as part of the casino’s marketplace.

The smaller versions of Johnny’s and Villa Italia at the casino at Mohawk Harbor off Erie Boulevard would have smaller menus with customer favorites, Mallozzi said.

Johnny’s would offer options like chicken parmigiana, lasagna, greens and beans, and antipasto salad. Villa Italia would have popular pastries like cannoli, chocolate mice and lobster tails along with a full coffee bar including espresso and cappuccino.

Villa Italia at the casino would be open 24/7 along with the burger joint. The Asian restaurant would be similar to Rush Street Gaming’s restaurant at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, Mallozzi said.

“Johnny’s will have a total of about 12 options,” Mallozzi said. “There are roughly 100 seats in the marketplace. Any of those four food concepts in the marketplace you can pick your food and eat on the premises.”

The Mallozzis will also run the casino’s steakhouse, which has not yet been named. The steakhouse would seat 140 people, plus an outdoor dining area overlooking the Mohawk River.

“They will announce the name at a separate unveiling,” Mallozzi said. “They will reveal the menu then too.”

Rush Street Gaming of Chicago will operate the Rivers Casino and Resort at Mohawk Harbor. The $330 million casino is currently under construction and is expected to open by next March.

The casino will have a 9,000-square-foot banquet facility that would seat 600 people. The Mallozzis would also operate the facility.

Mallozzi said the banquet hall would be built so that it could be divided into five sections to allow for five separate events at once. Three of the sections would have riverfront views, he said.

Staff at the Mallozzi’s restaurants and banquet facility would be Rush Street employees, Mallozzi said. He expects to hire between 180 and 200 people.

“Any of the food and beverage workers will become Rush Street employees, but our company will oversee them,” he said. “The hiring will be a coordinated effort between Rush and our group.”

Mallozzi said he expects hiring to happen by the end of the year. He said the company is now working on menus and cost options for the casino’s facilities.

“I think indirectly this project will benefit all of Schenectady County,” he said. “I think an influx of 2 million people a year can only help what already exists in downtown and in the county. It’s pretty impressive.”

Siblings Bobby, Christine and John run the Mallozzi Group. In addition to Johnny’s and Villa Italia, the company’s facilities include the Belvedere Inn, Mallozzi’s ballroom and banquets, Treviso and The Clubhouse.

Joe Scibetta, vice president of operations for Rush Street, said the company would begin seeking employees soon and start hiring by the end of the year with “hundreds of positions” that would be available for Capital Region residents. The casino is expected to employ 1,200.

Scibetta spoke during a Capital Region Chamber event at Mallozzi’s in Rotterdam along with Galesi Group COO David Buicko.

Scibetta says Rush plans to add a table to the casino’s poker room, bringing it from 15 to 16 tables.

The casino’s adjacent 163-room hotel — the brand has not yet been announced — will open about six months after the casino, Scibetta said.

He also showed new renderings of the Rivers Casino, providing a sneak peak at the gaming floor and banquet facility.

The gaming floor is depicted as a bright and lively room with yellow and red carpeting, red chairs and light fixtures and yellow walls with angled wood ceilings. Tables are shown in the middle of the room with slot machines lined in rows.

Buicko said Galesi is planning to announce “very soon” some of the retailers that will occupy ground-floor space of the 206-unit apartment building now being built. It is expected to be completed by early next year.

BBL Hospitality's 124-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel is also being constructed now and will be the first building to open on site this fall. Roads within the site will be created by the fall also.

A 15-unit townhouse building and office and retail buildings will open sometime next year. Galesi will build a condominium building based on demand for housing on site, Buicko said.

Galesi is working with the Capital District Transportation Authority to provide transportation from the casino site to nearby areas, he said.

There is a portion of undeveloped land at Mohawk Harbor that Buicko said Galesi is considering for additional housing or retail.

He also noted that Autmomated Dynamics has moved to new space at the Niskayuna Commerce Park. The company’s former building on Front Street at the entrance to the Mohawk Harbor site will be demolished in April.

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