NISKAYUNA — One last rack of ribs and one last charitable benefit will be served up Saturday at LT’s Grill.
After 14 years, co-owner L.J. Goldstock is handing over the Balltown Road restaurant to a Schenectady restaurateur who will close it for renovations and reopen around the start of the new year as LT’s Mexican Grill.
“It was a lot of late nights but it was a lot of love we put in over the years,” Goldstock said. “Now it’s going to be something even nicer.”
Everardo Sosa Mendoza, owner/operator of La Mexicana Restaurant and Grocery, performed the renovations himself on the 1759 State St. shop and also will make the changes at LT’s, though they won’t be as extensive as those La Mexicana needed. His in-laws and the oldest of his four children, now 16, will help him keep everything in motion, including LT’s catering business.
While Sosa Mendoza said he’ll be keeping some of Goldstock’s signature items, including the barbecue, the steak and the dry-rubbed wings, the menu at LT’s Mexican will be more similar to that of La Mexicana.
“We’re going to bring the tamales, the burritos, the quesadillas,” he said.
The Schenectady resident is a native of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. He shares cooking duties with his wife, Maria, a native of Jalisco state in central Mexico, and their food shows both regional influences.
“It’s like two different flavors,” he said. “We do a good combination between Oaxaca and Jalisco.”
Sosa Mendoza is looking forward to some increased visibility with LT’s. While it’s not far as the crow flies from La Mexicana, it’s in a different community, and sits in a destination shopping plaza rather than on the side of a busy through route.
LT’s derives its name from the first letters in the names of L.J. Goldstock and co-owner Tom Coppola, who converted the space in Shoprite Plaza from a shell that previously housed a Blockbuster video store. (Goldstock and Coppola are both graduates of nearby Niskayuna High School. Coppola serves as Glenville's commissioner of public works.) Goldstock said he’s proud the next iteration will keep the name.
“His food is phenomenal,” Goldstock said of Sosa Mendoza. “It’s a very big thing for me to have my name on the banner with him.
“Once the community sees what he’s putting on the table, it’s going to be amazing here.”
Goldstock is also proud of being part of the fabric of the community for so long. Weddings, funerals, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, graduation parties and other gatherings all found a venue at LT’s Grill, and the parking lot outside hosted fundraising and community events.
“I wanted to be very involved in the community ... I’m going to miss that,” said Goldstock, who is ready to step back from 80-hour workweeks. “I’m very proud to see a family like his come in, take it over and make it better.”
That last community event will be the annual Stuff The Fire Truck benefit that LT’s Grill hosts with Sondra’s Fine Jewelry, at which donors fill a Niskayuna Fire District 1 truck with Christmas gifts for the Toys for Tots drive.
That will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on what is forecast to be a sunny but cold day.
Inside, dining will start two hours earlier than normal, at 10 a.m.
At 9 p.m., the LT’s Grill era will end and a new chapter will start for Goldstock and Sosa Mendoza.