SCHENECTADY -- When Druthers Brewing Company opened the doors of its Schenectady location on Friday, there were already three people sitting at the bar.
After a half hour, the place had filled up, with many people enjoying warm, sunny weather on the patio.
Druthers CEO Chris Martell walked around with a coffee mug in hand, surveying his new restaurant and brewery.
When asked about how he felt about opening the new location in The River House apartment complex, inside the Mohawk Harbor development, Martell made light of the situation.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” he said with a laugh. “No, we’re really excited. You spend a lot of time building it, making it exactly how you want it, and you just hope people show up.”
Druthers announced late-Tuesday on its Facebook page they would open Friday, more than a year after they originally planned to open. Since then, Martell said they put in a lot of long hours, making sure staff was ready for the debut.
“We’ve been practicing it for a long time,” Martell said. “I think people are going to be impressed with what they find.”
Customers Jen Weiner and Meaghan Cloherty were impressed. Both are employees in Schenectady High School and said they have been tracking when Druthers would open since it was announced the business would come to Mohawk Harbor.
So, when they were looking for a place to eat after the high schools commencement ceremony Friday morning, they Googled Druthers.
“We saw it opened at 11:30 a.m., so we rushed over right when it opened,” Cloherty said.
Both women said the newest Druthers location was probably their favorite.
“I like how open it is; there’s a lot of space,” Cloherty said.
“There’s nothing like being on the water,” Weiner said.
Another person excited to see Druthers open was Galesi Group CEO David Buicko, the developer of Mohawk Harbor.
“I’m like a proud father,” Buicko said. “This is our first baby -- one of many babies.”
Buicko said many of the tenants living in the River House apartments had been asking when Druthers would open. He said they’ve been looking for a place to sit outside, get some food and have a beer.
“We promised retail. We built a swimming pool, an athletic facility, but they wanted food and beverage, so this satisfied a need,” Buicko said.
Weiner said not only was she excited about Druthers opening, but she was also excited about what it meant for the city.
“I’m just really excited Schenectady is kind of reviving,” she said. “I think a lot of people are going to be down here for this all summer. I think Druthers is opening that up for Schenectady.”
Weiner then looked outside from the bar at the patio and toward the harbor.
“This is beautiful," she said.