SCHENECTADY -- City residents will soon have a new option for ramen and even some sake, as the owner of Tanpopo Ramen plans a second location for Upper Union Street.
David Zheng said he is looking to expand his business beyond the eatery in Albany’s warehouse district, adding a restaurant at 1625 Union St.. The building was previously home to Hot Harry’s Fresh Burritos.
Zheng said he had been eyeing the Upper Union Street area for the past seven or eight years -- since before the 2015 opening of the Albany location.
“I think the main reason to pull the trigger is because Tanpopo [in Albany] has been open for three years already,” Zheng said. “[The business] is mature enough to expand to another Tanpopo Ramen.”
Zheng said he believes the restaurant will attract people who live in the neighborhood, as well as Union College students, business professionals and people who live in nearby Niskayuna.
Zheng also said the Schenectady location is far enough from the Albany location, approximately 18 miles, so they won't affect each other.
Zheng said the Albany location, while not in a residential neighborhood, still has a neighborhood feel. He said it also serves as a destination spot, attracting people from Latham and Troy.
He said he wants the restaurant in Schenectady to have a similar environment -- a spot people can walk to, but also one that attracts residents of nearby towns.
“In the restaurant business, you don’t want people to come and go and not notice other people,” Zheng said. “I want to create a spot where everyone knows everybody.”
Shane Mahar, spokesman for the Upper Union Street Business Improvement District, said the district is excited to welcome the new restaurant.
Mahar said the eatery will be a good fit with the approximately 90 small shops, restaurants and other businesses in the neighborhood.
“It’s bringing something that’s unique to a potentially untapped market,” Mahar said.
The proposed restaurant is scheduled to go before the Schenectady Planning Commission on Dec. 19 for site plan approval. Zheng said he hopes to sign a lease on the building soon.
He said the Schenectady restaurant will be bigger than the Albany Tanpopo, which can seat 30 to 35. He expects the location in Schenectady to seat 40 to 45 people.
Zheng said he plans to sell alcohol at the restaurant, but only beer, wine and sake.
“We are a very simple type of restaurant,” he said. “Keep it simple and keep it good quality. That’s what we do.”