CLOS­ING ITS DOORS

Rocco’s restau­rant to close by year’s end

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Lauren Hal­li­gan lhal­li­[email protected]­i­tal­first­media.com reporter

JONESVILLE, N.Y. >> Af­ter five years in busi­ness, lo­cal restau­rant Rocco’s will close its doors at the end of 2019.

Lo­cated at 989 Main St. in Jonesville, Rocco’s last day of busi­ness will be Dec. 31, the restau­rant re­cently an­nounced in a Face­book post.

“Dear Loyal Rocco’s Pa­trons,” it read, “We are very proud to have served the Clifton Park community for the past 5 years. It is with a heavy heart that we must an­nounce that we are clos­ing our doors for the last time De­cem­ber 31st. We want to thank all of our past and present em­ploy­ees, lo­cal pur­vey­ors and friends for mak­ing it such a great jour­ney.

“We would es­pe­cially like to thank our loyal cus­tomers. With­out you, Rocco’s would not have been pos­si­ble.” Clos­ing the restau­rant is bit­ter­sweet, said chef and owner Sean Lee, who also owns the nearby Half­moon Sand­wich & Salad Shoppe. “It’s hard to let go of what we did here.”

Cus­tomers are hav­ing a hard time let­ting go too.

“The out­pour­ing of sup­port and sad­ness when we put that Face­book post out was def­i­nitely no­tice­able,” man­ager Robert Van der Veer said.

Since open­ing in 2014, Rocco’s has be­come known for its fine food and cozy am­biance.

Set in an 1860s build­ing that pre­vi­ously served as a gen­eral store, many Rocco’s reg­u­lars love the his­toric at­mos­phere.

“I feel like the community re­ally em­braced Rocco’s and what we wanted to do here, and I feel like we filled a niche for Clifton Park too,” Lee said. “In­de­pen­dent fine din­ing is hard to come by in be­tween Al­bany and Saratoga, es­pe­cially in the chain-dom­i­nated mar­ket of Clifton Park.”

How­ever, when some­one ap­proached Lee about pur­chas­ing the prop­erty, “The num­bers made sense,” Lee said. “It was just a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity.”

Though staffing has been a chal­lenge for the busi­ness over the past few years, Lee said he was not con­sid­er­ing clos­ing un­til this of­fer was pro­posed.

Look­ing ahead, Lee is keep­ing his op­tions open re­gard­ing other busi­ness en­deav­ors.

“You never know what the fu­ture is go­ing to bring,” he said. “There’s a good chance

that in a year or 18 months we might be work­ing on an­other project, an­other type of Rocco’s or some­thing a lit­tle bit more ca­sual, a lit­tle bit less fine din­ing and white ta­ble cloths, but still keep­ing it at a high end stan­dard.”

For now, the fo­cus is on thank­ing cus­tomers dur­ing the last few weeks at Rocco’s.

While the restau­rant will con­tinue its late night 50 cent chicken wings and half price draft beer spe­cials, up­com­ing spe­cial events in­clude Rocco’s an­nual Christ­mas tree light­ing on Sun­day, Dec. 1, an Ital­ian wine din­ner on Wed­nes­day, Dec. 4 and a New Year’s Eve ex­trav­a­ganza on Dec. 31.

“New Year’s Eve is go­ing to be a nice, big fi­nal hur­rah,” Van der Veer said, “kind of a fi­nal good­bye, and also a thank you.”

Lee in­vites cus­tomers from the Clifton Park area and be­yond to stop in to Rocco’s one last time in the com­ing weeks.

Re­flect­ing on the past five years at Rocco’s, “It’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence. I’ve been in the restau­rant busi­ness my whole life, and I re­ally love what I do,” Lee said, call­ing the Jonesville restau­rant one of the best ex­pe­ri­ences of his en­tire life.

“It’s been an amaz­ing ride,” he said. “It was a re­ally fun jour­ney. We’ve made some in­cred­i­ble friends and peo­ple that we’ll never for­get.”

Guests like Chet Ro­gow­icz, who lives less than a mile away from Rocco’s, will cer­tainly miss it.

“It’s a very con­ve­nient place, re­ally good peo­ple,” he said. Ro­gow­icz has been vis­it­ing ev­ery Tues­day since Rocco’s first opened its doors. “I was so happy when it opened,” he said, not­ing that he en­joys the feel­ing of hav­ing a home­town bar.

As a lo­cal res­i­dent for the past 40 years, Ro­gow­icz has seen the old Main Street build­ing change many times, and is cu­ri­ous what it’s next chap­ter will hold.

More informatio­n about Rocco’s is avail­able on­line at www.roc­coson­main.com and www.face­book.com/Roc­cosOn­Main.

The restau­rant can be con­tacted by call­ing (518) 406-5251.

LAUREN HAL­LI­GAN - MEDIANEWS GROUP

Rocco’s is lo­cated at 989 Main St. in Jonesville.

LAUREN HAL­LI­GAN - MEDIANEWS GROUP

Rocco’s, which opened in 2014, wel­comes reg­u­lars to its bar and din­ing room each week.

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