By Sarah Jean Worden
The tri-county area is well decorated with the names Mazzone Hospitality and Prime Business Dining, companies owned by restaurant mogul Angelo Mazzone.
Many area residents, business people and tourists of the area enjoy meals and meetings prepared by teams of his 1,000 employees.
In Saratoga County, his ventures include Angelo’s Prime Bar + Grill in Clifton Park; Prime at Saratoga National at the renowned Saratoga Springs golf club; and the dining facility at the historic Hall of Springs in Spa State Park. Soon, he will run the restaurant at Pavilion Grand Hotel in Saratoga Springs.
Mazzone’s name became established in and around the area long before he invested in the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia in 1988. In the early 1970s, he attended Hudson Valley Community College and then transferred to Schenectady County Community College to complete the hotel and restaurant management program. He “met a girl” who later became his wife and the mother of his children. The couple left New York briefly but ultimately came back to the area for work and to open Peggy’s Restaurant on State Street in Schenectady at a time when that city was starting to rebuild its downtown.
“I was part of the redevelopment,” Mazzone said. At that time, Peggy’s was expanding its catering. While he was developing that project, he saw an opportunity at the Glen Sanders Mansion.
“This is the place,” he said. And the decision was made to purchase the property on the Mohawk River. He added two ballrooms and a dining hall to the smaller historic house.
“People told me I was crazy to invest $2 million into Scotia,” Mazzone said. At the time, the banks of the Mohawk were littered with tires and waste. But his mind was made up and he put intense energy and time into cleaning up the area and focusing on the natural draw of the landscape.
“We very successfully worked as a team,” he said, and the mansion became a catalyst for the surge of his restaurant development.
Nearly three decades later, Mazzone’s name is on over a dozen upscale eateries in Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga counties. He said his focus most recently has been on business dining and catering.
He operates nearly 10 upscale cafeteria style kitchens for companies like GlobalFoundries in Malta.
His rich Italian heritage, his love of good food and making people happy is what’s important to him and why he continues to jump on opportunities to grow his business when it feels right, he noted.
“We never had a systematic growth plan. Whenever opportunities become available, I either love them or hate them,” Angelo said.
That’s what happened recently in at Pavilion Grand Hotel.
“I never thought I would open another restaurant,” he said. But it was an opportunity he saw to take a struggling concept and do what he does best–turn it into a “place to be.”
Although the final concept and menus are not completely hashed out, he is shooting for a May opening.
“It’s going to be something Saratoga will really love,” he said.
Of his career, Mazzone said the one thing he would do differently would be to work for a larger corporation first to learn as much as he could before splitting off and doing his own thing. He said a corporate restaurant environment is an amazing opportunity for those interested in pursuing the kind of success he’s earned through trial and error.
“I still go to work every day,” he said. “Until recently I worked all the time.”
Now, the past year and a half he’s been taking some time away from work to play a little golf and spend time with his five grandchildren.
Mazzone has put “hours upon hours upon hours” of his time into building what some would call an empire. “I don’t do it for the money. If I did, I wouldn’t be where I am.”
His love for the hospitality business that has been the driving force behind his success. He said when it comes down to it, “it’s about taking care of people. It’s about making people happy.”