By Christine Graf
Beth and Doug Davis, owners of Manhattan Exchange in Schenectady, have opened a second restaurant in Jonesville, east of Ballston Spa.
The Exchange opened its doors at the end of June at 857 Main St. in a space previously occupied by the Main Street Grill.
Beth Davis is a baking and pastry graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and her husband, Doug, is a Schenectady native with extensive restaurant experience.
“He worked for the Malozzis, he worked at the Pentagon (restaurant in Schenectady), he was the opening chef of Duke’s at the casino,” said Beth Davis.
Davis worked at Villa Italia for a decade before the couple opened Manhattan Exchange in January 2020. That restaurant serves upscale pub food and seats 100.
“We were working so hard for other people, and we wanted to give ourselves the opportunity to work that hard for ourselves,” she said.
The Davises own both buildings that house their restaurants. They purchased the 1.64-acre Jonesville property in 2022 for $545,000. The property includes the building that houses the restaurant as well as a second smaller building and a barn.
“We were up and running well in Schenectady, and we felt like we could handle a second location,” said Davis. “We went to see the property in Jonesville, and it was just such a great opportunity. We had heard so many people saying that they were looking for another neighborhood restaurant in that area.”
After purchasing the property, they spent more than a year renovating the space, which now seats 80.
“We added an outdoor patio, and we opened up the space a little bit,” she said. “We moved the bar so that when you walk in it’s more open. We weren’t able to do anything structurally because it’s an historic building, so we tried to lighten it up and brighten it up while keeping the charm of the building.”
The property’s second building will be used for storage, and the owners are brainstorming to come up with possible uses for the barn.
The Exchange has a menu that is broken up between small plates and large plates with prices ranging from $14 to $30. Customer favorites include the seafood risotto and calamari, and the menu also features a variety of offerings including salads, burgers, chicken, and desserts. A small children’s menu is also available.
Since opening their doors on June 29, Davis said the restaurant has been busy every night.
“It’s been great. People are excited to have a restaurant at that location back again.”
The Davis’ have a total of 24 employees split evenly between their 2 locations. Despite the labor shortage in the hospitality industry, they have had no trouble finding employees.
Future plans include adding live music next spring and summer and offering family style takeout options.
“Now that we have our feet under us, we will be looking forward to finding ways to make the restaurant even better and servicing the community and the neighborhood the best we can,” said Davis. “We’re super excited and appreciative of the reception we’ve gotten.”
For more information, visit www.theexchangecliftonpark.com.