Bo Henry and Stewart Campbell go for three. Why not?
First there was Harvest Moon downtown, then the Moon moved to Dawson Road, and soon after, right around the corner, came The Catch. Now local restaurateurs Bo Henry and Stewart Campbell have their eyes and the region’s stomachs set on a third eatery.
They’ve got it all planned out except for one little detail: what to call it. For that, they are opening it up to friends and customers. If you care to get in on the name calling, here are some of the details.
It will be going in at the former Plantation Grille location on Westover Boulevard. The menu will offer primarily steak, grilled chicken, some seafood, and occasionally a pasta dish or two. Beyond the food, the two see the new offering as a special occasion-type place, a bit quieter than most restaurants in the area with a touch of class, something the dinning duo says “Albany needs”.
With a piano or small jazz combo as the live music entree, it’s targeted to be a more adult, relaxed environment, but Henry is quit to point out it will still have “some energy to it”. To be sure. After all, this is Henry and Campbell we’re talking about.
Coming up with a name for the joint is involving into a community project that already is generating a lot of buzz. Customers are being asked to pass their suggestions along to the staff at The Catch and Harvest Moon, or to e-mail their suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. From the entries, Henry and Stewart will select what they believe are the best 10 or so names. Those 10 nominees will then be revealed for an online contest.
With both Harvest Moon and The Catch catty-corner to it on Whispering Pines Road keeping them and their staffs jumping, the obvious question is: why a third venture? Again, Henry stressed that the business partners – who are married to sisters — believe Albany is ready for this type of atmosphere and variety,
“It’s another choice, and something different than the other two,” he said.
They felt it was a good location; it was available, so they thought, “Why not? Let’s at least give it a shot,” Campbell said.
Along with the addition of another local treat for the region’s collective taste buds, this new outing will mean another 30 or so jobs to the area — some full time, and some part time. When this third restaurant is up and going, the two entrepreneurs will have about 120 people employed between all three locations.
The food service industry has one of the highest failure rates of any business model. Henry and Campbell say their success with the first two ventures is due in large part to their long-range view.
“When you say they are doing good; they are paying for themselves,” said Henry. “We are paying our bills and making payrolls.”
Stressing that they have to keep their margins low and the quality of food and service high, they fully expect that down the road their investment of time, money and hard work will pay off. They said their third establishment certainly will follow that same pattern.
Another reason the restaurateurs have to keep a tight rein on the operations is not only the economic times, but due to the Albany market, specifically.
“We’re buying the same steaks as a Morton’s, or a Ruth’s Chris, but I can’t sell them for what they do, not in Albany,” says Campbell.
It’s a risky business to be sure, but so far these two have managed to grab a significant segment of the local restaurant market and hang on to it. One element of their success has to be their attitudes. If, during your meal, you’ve ever managed to grab one of them for a second, it’s clear they are enjoying themselves, their businesses, and the people that come out to dine in their establishments.
The new place will operate on the same schedule as The Catch, opening at 4pm and closing when everyone is done, usually around 10:30 p.m. or so. Campbell says the date for starting up is anywhere from 60 to 90 days out, “We really want to be up and going by Thanksgiving.” So get your creative juices flowing on a great name for this third effort of theirs. You may see your idea in lights and on menus. There is sure to be a meal in it for you somewhere … over there …or there …or maybe there.
Written by Lon McNeil.