Local officials joined the owners of Slidin’ Dirty Thursday to break ground — or break wall, rather — on the food truck-turned-restaurant’s new Schenectady location.
Slidin’ Dirty started in 2012 as a food truck and catering service offering gourmet sliders and appetizers. Owners Tim and Brooke Taney opened their first restaurant location in Troy in 2014 and are preparing to bring the format to Schenectady this year.
Their new restaurant will operate out of 512 State St. in downtown Schenectady, the site of the old Foster building. The business will employ about 30 in about 4,000 square feet of space. It will include a bar, seating for 110 and an outdoor patio. The plan is to open in the spring.
“There are similarities in what we saw in Troy three years ago to what we see in Schenectady now,” Tim Taney said Thursday. “It’s a renaissance of a city that’s embraced small business and, in particular, the downtown and the growth we see here.”
As part of the restaurant’s construction, developers are planning to knock out part of the ceiling and walls separating the first and second floors. The second floor will feature a mezzanine area for additional seating.
With that in mind, project leaders held a ceremonial “wall breaking” on Thursday.
The Taneys, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, State Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville) and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) each swung a sledgehammer into the drywall on the building’s second floor, following remarks praising the restaurant’s decision to open there.
Tedisco, who almost struck the wall with the wrong side of the hammer, took two swings, prompting Santabarbara to do the same.
The restaurant will house the Slidin’ Dirty food truck and catering operation, Tim Taney said. Both of those currently operate out of Troy.
The eatery is part of a multi-million-dollar overhaul to the old Foster building, a complex built in the early 1900s that included the old Hotel Foster and Schenectady Railway Co. However, the building sat vacant for several years until 2014, when Troy-based Sequence Development purchased it with plans to create apartments and retail space.
Slidin’ Dirty will occupy space that served as the passenger terminal for the Schenectady Railway Co. in the early 1900s. Jeff Buell, president of Sequence Development, said the plan is to restore the façade to its original three-story archway design.
The restaurant construction alone will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Buell said. Renovations to the full Foster building complex will total a few million dollars.
The property encompasses 508, 510 and 512 State St. and 204 Lafayette St. It was previously owned by the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority and was bought for its appraised value of $475,000.
Metroplex took ownership of the building after purchasing it for $250,000. The authority then hired contractors to stabilize the building and proceeded to remove nearly 300 tons of debris. Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said the authority isn’t supplying additional funding for the project.
“It’s a great, historic renovation for a really important building downtown,” he said.