BROADALBIN — When Broadalbin native Grant Guttenberg walks out into the dining room of Project 29 Pub & Filling Station in his gas station attendant’s uniform, he looks as if he’s ready to go out and pump gas for your car. But what he’s really ready to do is to fill you with craft beer and craft food.
When Guttenberg was 15, his brother was working as a cook at a restaurant and asked Guttenberg if he wanted to be a dishwasher. Within months, he was cooking, and that has led to 35 years working in the restaurant industry.
In May of 2015, Guttenberg purchased a building that had housed Al’s Roadhouse and The Funny Farm Comedy Club before that.
Using what he learned in the construction technology classes he took several years ago, he worked 18 hours a day reconfiguring the space, cutting out walls, putting walls up, installing booths, repainting and redoing the kitchen.
He, along with the help of family and friends, completed 95 percent of the renovations themselves so that the new restaurant could open in August of that year.
The interior has an industrial yet friendly feel, with painted grey walls, some of which are made out of repurposed pallets, pipes painted black, lighting that Guttenberg crafted himself from work lights, a large pulley hanging from the high ceiling, and his hand-made bar tap wreaths as part of the décor.
“We made it our own,” he said. “I knew what I wanted it to look like.”
Originally, Guttenberg had thought to open a growler filling station, but he liked cooking too much to leave out the restaurant part.
MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Exterior of Project 29 Pub & Filling Station in Broadalbin.
He designed the menu after the way he likes to eat with things like sandwiches and tacos. The pub fare is familiar, but with Guttenberg’s own twists added in. For example, one favorite appetizer, “Nacho Mama’s Nachos,” features seasoned shredded beef brisket and homemade corn salsa. Grilled cheese isn’t plain either, with smoked gouda, Canadian bacon and Memphis sweet barbecue sauce.
He changes the menu about every six to seven months, based on customer feedback. “We like to listen to what people say when we run a special and then implement it into the menu,” he said.
Specials include items like mako shark tacos and twist on ceviche in the summer and Rueben empanadas, which Guttenberg cooks from scratch.
Guttenberg interjects his humor into the menu, with touches like giving the prices in fractions rather than decimals.
The bar area of the restaurant is run by Nicole Covey, who Guttenberg calls his “right-hand woman.” She chooses the menu of New York State crafts beers, which is always being updated and changed so that she can bring new beers to customers.
MARC SCHULTZ/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Project 29 Pub & Filling Station in Broadalbin.
The waitstaff develops good rapport with customers, Guttenberg said. He describes his customers as a wide mix of people with a lot of very loyal customers.
Guttenberg knows the restaurant business can be a tough one, so he wants to make sure Project 29 Pub stays relevant with customers and in the industry. “I do good pricing, good food, and fun,” he said. “We’re doing it with fun, not for fun. We try to keep everything really light here.”
More from Dine 2019: Montgomery, Fulton and Schoharie Counties
- Grapevine Farms in Cobleskill offers comfort food, wine — with an unexpected twist
- Glen Falls' Morgan & Co. offers fine cuisine in a historic Adirondack home
- Authentic Italian at Parillo's Armory Grill in Amsterdam
- Table At Fort Plain: Fine dining midway between Utica and Albany
- C.P.'s Family Restaurant in Hagaman offers memorabilia with its burgers
To that end, the establishment hosts a trivia night on the first Wednesday of the month and music in the bar area every Friday.
There’s also a giant Jenga set that customers can play. The back seating area has a dartboard. In the summer, there’s outside seating on the deck and a firepit in addition to another area with picnic tables and cornhole games where customers can take their beers outside to enjoy.