Dale Saunders, left, owner of the new Riverfront 2 Bar-B-Q at Lee Market Plaza in Lee County, and Adam Campbell, manager and chef, are preparing to open the restaurant, which will specialize in barbecue and catfish, in February.
ALBANY -- Some people say that Riverfront Bar-B-Q, downtown, is the best barbecue in four states, and while Dale Saunders, founder of the establishment, doesn't discourage that kind of talk, neither is he one to stay in just one spot.
After a year's run at slightly fancier fare with his Riverfront Steak and Seafood restaurant on North Jefferson Street, later re-named Riverfront Seafood Shack, Saunders closed that business because of a lack of clientele.
"Out of sight, out of mind," Saunders said. "People loved the food. They loved the service. It was just so tucked in there, no one was thinking of us during the week."
Saunders was upbeat about the closing, saying he "learned some valuable lessons," as well as having perfected some righteous recipes for catfish and ribeye steaks -- recipes he will carry over to his new restaurant, Riverfront 2, in the old Beef O'Brady's building at Lee Market Plaza in Lee County.
"I've been wanting to open something like this a long time," Saunders said. "We were looking for the right location and this is it. It's convenient to both northwest Albany and Lee County, with the kind of visibility and style we need."
Although originally planned to open the first week in January, an unfortunate injury to a family member forced the postponement of that date to "sometime before the end of February," according to Saunders. Renovations to the building were still taking place on Thursday.
Saunders said that although the downtown restaurant has never been equipped to offer much other than his notable barbecue, the new location will serve up catfish in the style of his late Riverfront Seafood Shack.
Another difference from the downtown Riverfront, according to Saunders, is the hours of operation. The Lee County establishment will be open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. till 9 p.m., while the downtown restaurant is open for lunch every day but at night only on Fridays and Saturdays.
Saunders said the new 3,300-square-foot business will seat up to about 155 customers "both inside and out," with great food that "won't break the bank. Unlike the sports bar which previously occupied the building, Riverfront 2 is intended as a family restaurant. However, according to Saunders, beer and wine will be available with meals.