PLATTSBURGH — Crews were bustling through a training session Tuesday at Five Guys Burgers and Fries here, with the sizzle of grills and aroma of fries emanating throughout the restaurant.
The long-anticipated eatery, located at 418 Route 3 in the Town of Plattsburgh, opens today.
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“The best thing about coming to Plattsburgh is getting to hire 50 employees from the local area,” Vice President of Operations Bill Rabbit said.
The franchise is owned by RSVT Holding, which is owned by T.J. and Savida Hada. Based in the Albany area, they have nine Five Guys franchises between Glenmont and Queensbury.
They are excited to open their 10th franchise, Rabbit said.
The restaurant features bright red-and-white tiled walls, with gray tile floors. The tile ceiling includes large red ductwork and red and white drop-down lights.
The eastern and southern walls are almost completely glass, so there’s plenty of light. It has indoor seating for 60, with outdoor seating for another 24.
Rabbit said Five Guys’ success is based on a simple menu. It is mainly hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, BLTs, veggie sandwiches and french fries, the latter cooked in 100 percent peanut oil.
Fifteen toppings are available at no extra charge. That allows the chain to offer about 250,000 combinations, Rabbit said.
Burgers and hot dogs are also available without a bun. Customers can enjoy free in-shell peanuts.
Five Guys restaurants have no freezers or microwave ovens, so everything is made fresh, he said.
“I think that’s a key to our success.”
DELUXE SODA MACHINE
The self-serve soda dispensers are very high tech, designed in collaboration between Coca-Cola and Pininfarina, an auto-design firm based in Italy that helped craft some Ferrari models. The machines can offer more than 100 flavors of soda, many of which aren’t available in stores.
The touch screen in the Plattsburgh restaurant displays about 20 brands. Those expand into as many as seven flavors of the selected brand, such as Raspberry Diet Coke.
Bill Greer, Five Guys regional manager for the Northeast and Canada, likes that the Plattsburgh location is highly visible from Route 3 and Interstate 87. The Hadas, he added, go out of their way to make their franchises top notch.
Rabbit said the franchise owners enjoy contributing to the local communities in which they operate. There are numerous opportunities for fundraising events available, he said.
The Hadas opened their first Five Guys franchise in Niskayuna in 2005. At the time, it was only the 52nd such franchise in the United States, Rabbit said.
The chain started in Alexandria, Va., in 1986. Today, more than 1,000 Five Guys restaurants operate in 47 states and six provinces in Canada.
The restaurant was originally planned for the former Carsana’s location at the intersection of Cornelia and Broad streets, a plan that was approved by the City of Plattsburgh Planning Board in September 2010.
But the developers backed away from that site due to concerns about possible below-ground contamination from a former service station. That property has since been remediated.
The Hadas instead chose the site of the former Mangia restaurant, close to Interstate 87.
FIT IN FOOTPRINT
Town of Plattsburgh staff was very accommodating as the Five Guys project moved forward, Rabbit said.
“They gave us as much assistance as they could,” he said.
The Planning Board approved a plan with a 1,200-square-foot expansion in December 2012 that would have allowed for a TCBY yogurt shop at the location as well. But issues arose with the State Department of Transportation due to proximity of the entrance to the on-ramp to the northbound lanes of Interstate 87.
That led the developers to abandon the expansion. But because the project was still going to be a restaurant and fit in the existing footprint, it no longer needed Planning Board approval.
Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said he was happy Five Guys was ready to open, especially with 50 new jobs.
“It’s a good brand, and we’re pleased to have them in the town,” he said.
Five Guys is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. People can order by phone at 561-2156, by fax at 561-2157 or online at fiveguys.com.
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