The former Italian restaurant and pizzeria Casa Mia is now under new ownership and is being turned into a new eatery called Hibachi & Sushi Asian Buffet.
The property on Route 9W is now owned by Jian Zheng and is being extensively remodeled to fit with the new theme. Zheng went before the Bethlehem Planning Board on Tuesday, Nov. 20, because renovations have become more complex than the initial expansion approved in May under former owner and Chef Raymond Cecunjanin.
“We’re trying to open as soon as possible, but we can’t do anything until you give the OK,” said Zheng when addressing the board.
Members of the Planning Board asked for a new site plan to be submitted for approval. Additions include a new freestanding sign, additional landscaping, a dumpster enclosure and relocation of water lines. Proposed changes to the outside of the building in addition to the sign included applying stucco material to all sides, painting the facades green and adding an “Asian-style” trim along the front of the building.
Some board members were concerned that the stylized tile would change the elevation of the building and asked for more information. Zheng said a relative had been hired to do the construction work because it is hard to find someone locally who knows the technique or could even appropriately draw the tiles.
“It’s very old, Chinese traditional,” he said, adding he owns four other restaurants with a similar look and can provide better pictures of other buildings with dimensions.
Zheng said the business will mostly be a buffet-style restaurant, but hibachi will also be available. He said his entire family has a total of eight restaurants that are similar. One is in Potsdam and another is in Saranac Lake. Workers are trying to get as much done at the Glenmont location while the weather is still warm, and the project is likely to be complete in the spring.
Planning Board members said they felt the plan was acceptable for approval, but the applicants were asked to return after the site plan has been changed.
Cecunjanin told the board in May he wanted to expand Casa Mia to add a banquet space in hopes of enticing additional business. He said competition was “stiff” since more chain restaurants have come to the area and he had hoped to have the renovations complete over the summer.
The addition was meant to increase the size of the business by about 1,500 square feet. He eventually opted to sell the business.
Fro-yo coming to Town Squire
A 16 Handles frozen yogurt shop is being proposed to fill a portion of the former Hollywood Video store in Glenmont’s Town Squire Plaza.
The project was submitted to the town through Capital Architecture. A similar type of frozen yogurt shop called Yogo Fusion opened in October across the street on Route 9W in Glenmont Centre Square.
The plans for the new shop include a patio with furniture, but very little will change on the outside of the building. Most of the renovations will be on the inside and the shop will be located between the Chili’s Restaurant and a Trustco Bank. The project was approved by the Planning Board at the Nov. 20 meeting and is moving forward.