The first time a Capital Region auto dealer and a noted restaurateur tried to work on a joint project, it turned out to be a five-year effort. That was Armory Center and Yono Purnomo. But, that was then and this is now. Today, Angelo Mazzone, the über-enterprising founder of Mazzone Hospitality and its numerous restaurants and food services, announced he is teaming up with Bill Lia Jr., Michael Lia and Vincent Lia of the car dealership family to bring two BurgerFi franchises to the Capital Region.
The introduction of yet another burger brand to the market follows on the heels of comparatively recent additions such as Burger 21, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Smashburger to go along with the usual plethora of McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s locations. The first local BurgerFi is scheduled to open in the spring at 860 New Loudon Road, Latham, at a newly-built shopping plaza owned by the Lias. The second location is being developed at 460 Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs.
BurgerFi, a contraction of the sort-of word “burgerfication,” is headquartered in North Palm Beach, FL, and has 58 locations. While there are four BurgerFi locations on Long Island and one on Manhattan, the only current one Upstate is located in Poughkeepsie.
Although its centerpiece food is never-frozen grass-fed Angus beef, its menu is broader than that of many burger chains. According to a company website pronouncement, “BurgerFi picks up where the other ‘better burger’ franchises leave off. First, BurgerFi focuses on all-natural, free-range beef. We do this because it tastes better, and it’s better for you — with no chemicals, and no additives. Also, where others limit their menu to just the basic, no-frills options, BurgerFi has built a menu with specialty items like Kobe beef hot dogs, gourmet toppings, delectable desserts, craft beer and wine, and an overall focus on a healthier menu selection.”
Mazzone Hospitality includes six restaurants — Angelo’s 677 Prime, Angelo’s Tavolo, Aperitivo Bistyro, Tala Bistro, Prime at Saratoga National and Angelo’s Prime Bar + Grill; a catering division; and, food service operations at several major industrial sites in the Albany/Saratoga area.
The aforementioned effort of Armory and Yono’s took place in 1999, wjen Yono and Donna Purnomo uprooted their downtown Albany restaurant and moved it to a newly-themed Armory Center, where they also ran a quick-service lunch spot inside the auto showroom. That was supposed to be the centerpiece of a series of shops arranged on two levels around the floor. However, it never came to full fruition and in 2004 the Purnomos moved their restaurant to the then-new Hampton Inn at 25 Chapel Street in Albany and added a sister operation, the casual DP: An American Brasserie, under the supervision of their son, Dominick.