What to do with a closed Kmart? How about a restaurant?

195 Troy Schenectady Road in Latham NY & Executive Chef Paul Dimm (LinkedIn, Google Maps)
195 Troy Schenectady Road in Latham NY & Executive Chef Paul Dimm (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

Upstate New York residents accustomed to buying wares at the old Kmart in Latham will soon get a taste of something entirely different. Literally.

The Times Union reported that New Jersey chef Paul Dimm is opening an eatery called the Scarlet Knife at 195 Troy Schenectady Road. He is leasing the 15,000-square-foot space from local car dealer Bill Lia Jr. Terms were not disclosed.

Lia Group Realty has owned the Kmart site and 12-acre plaza where the retailer once reigned since 2014, when the store closed. Part of the property was converted into a Vent Fitness, but the rest has remained largely vacant.

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Dimm hopes to change that as soon as May or June, according to the Times Union. His restaurant will be an upscale establishment with seating for about 220 people inside and about 80 on an outdoor green patio, which will be named the Garden Center in an homage to Kmart.

The culinary experience is said to be inspired by the Jersey Shore, according to the newspaper. Seafood will be a staple of the menu while Dimm will tap the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market for fresh ingredients.

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Features of the Scarlet Knight will include an open kitchen for customers to ogle and a fireplace on the outdoor patio. It will also have a separate room dedicated entirely to desserts.

SWBR is serving as the architect on the project, while Wainschaf Associates is the contractor.

There is some uncertainty about the timeline, as Colonie planning and economic development director Sean Maguire said building plans are still being reviewed. But Dimm doesn’t expect any major delays in getting his restaurant up and running.

“There’s nothing that’s going to change our plans significantly in any way,” Dimm told the Times Union.

Kmart is close to going the way of the dodo after being pulled out of bankruptcy along with Sears by Transformco. Last month, CNN Business reported there would only be six locations left in the continental United States by the end of 2021.

[Times Union] — Holden Walter-Warner

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