By Jill Nagy
Panza’s on the Lake, a Saratoga Lake institution for 81 years, is moving, perhaps temporarily, to a building on South Broadway in Saratoga Springs in May.
Meanwhile, the lakeside eatery is still open. But owner Tony Panza said that it is possible he may close it permanently on Easter Sunday if his plans for re-developing the restaurant and the site do not move forward.
Panza has been trying to get approvals from the Town of Stillwater to proceed with plans to build a boutique hotel as well as an enlarged restaurant and banquet facility at 510 Route 9P where the restaurant has been located for decades.
The hotel would be available to wedding parties and event guests using the banquet hall. The business submitted a project proposal last summer, but it didn’t meet all of the town’s criteria. The business needs upgrades in order to stay competitive in the wedding and banquet market.
Meanwhile, Panza has turned his attention to his new enterprise—Panza’s on Broadway, scheduled to open in early May at 129 South Broadway in Saratoga Springs. The building was formerly the Paradiso Restaurant and, before that, the Trade Winds.
Panza is enthusiastic about the new building. He said the stonework in the building lends itself to an “Italian grotto” theme. He admires its “beautiful window overlooking Broadway.” It also offers an amenity in short supply in Saratoga Springs: 60 parking spaces.
For now, Panza is leasing the Broadway venue but he and his brother and co-owner have an option to purchase it in the future.
“We want to proceed cautiously,” he said about renovations planned for the new location. He is pricing a new bar top, chairs and tables, lighting, and bathroom fixtures, among the improvements.
“All the staff is going over with us,” Panza said. “We’re used to working together.” He also expects to hire “quite a few new people.”
Also making the transition from Saratoga Lake to Broadway will be Panza’s menu.
The fate of the current Panza’s property is “up to the Town of Stillwater,” he said. “A lot of people support the hotel idea but a small contingent oppose it.” He aid he will not operate the restaurant on the lake without the hotel.
Panza’s website is www.panzasrestaurant.com. Its telephone number is 518 584-6882.
By Jill Nagy