by jill nagy
Mel Hathaway, co-owner of the Flats Restaurant and Tavern in Rexford, describes the menu at his new eatery as “elevated tavern,” offering a lot of local tavern food favorites but with a twist.
Everything is made from scratch, he said, including sauces and French fries. “We try not to use our freezer very much.”
As an example, the “elevated cheeseburger,” which is a Kobe beef patty, lobster tail, bacon marmalade, crisp pancetta, roasted red onion, tomato confit, and gruyere cheese.
“It is one of our signature items,” he said. The so-called Rexford Burger, and the rest of the menu, was developed by executive chef Stefan Watts, formerly the chef at Smith’s restaurant in Cohoes. Other popular items include a hummus plate appetizer, a shrimp po’boy, and the chef’s own carrot cake.
The Flats Restaurant and Tavern is located in a new shopping plaza at 675 Grooms Road, at the intersection with Fischer Ferry Road, a neighborhood formerly known as Rexford Flats. Since he began in a brand new building in a brand new plaza—with dirt floors—Hathaway had his restaurant built “exactly as I designed it.”
His contractor, Riverview Construction, broke ground in January and the tavern opened in mid-June. His neighbors include an art gallery, a deli, and office space.
This is the first venture as restaurant owners for Hathaway and his wife and co-owner attorney Deborah Milham. However, Hathaway has been in the restaurant business for 35 years, working as “everything from dishwasher to district manager” for several restaurant chains.
He noted that he has opened six restaurants for other owners.
Hathaway has lived in Clifton Park for 20 years. He said he was pleased to find the location in Rexford where there is relatively little commercial development. He said the area was badly in need of a neighborhood restaurant and hangout.
So far, Hathaway is “ecstatic about how it is going,” and is grateful for the strong community support. “It’s been wonderful. It’s going great.”
The restaurant, at about 1,000 square feet, can seat up to 200 people. There are 43 tables, a bar, and an outdoor covered patio.
“Everybody loves the patio,” he said.
There are 45 employees.
They are open for lunch and dinner everyday but Sunday and Tuesday. Beginning on Sept. 4, they will add a brunch service from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
The Flats is online at www.theflats675.com. The telephone is 518 357-3827.