LeGrande Serras and his daughter, Aliki Serras, pose in the bar area of Reel Seafood Co. as Aliki takes over the restaurant her father has owned and operated for the last 30 years.
The New Year is bringing some big changes to a seafood restaurant that has been operating on Wolf Road in Colonie the past three decades.
A new owner, a new chef and a $1 million renovation to the restaurant comes as Aliki Serras purchases Reel Seafood Co. from her 68-year-old father, LeGrande Serras.
“I’ve obviously grown up in this restaurant in particular and the industry in general, and it’s something that I’ve gravitated towards. It’s something I generally enjoy,” said Aliki.
The 28-year-old wasn’t always sure she wanted to own and operate a restaurant like the three previous generations of her family, but the industry pulled her in. She has been working full time at the restaurant for the past five years and worked her way up from hostess to general manager. In the summer of 2011, she told her father that she hoped to take over the restaurant.
“I’m excited. I never thought one of my children would be in this business and representing the fourth generation for us and for my family. I think it’s tremendous,” said LeGrande.
When the restaurant first opened in 1983 there wasn’t much competition on Wolf Road, with only a dozen other restaurants. Now there are 55.
“Every one that opens — and I don’t care if it’s Chipotle, Texas Roadhouse — every one of them takes three, four or five customers. Bonefish, obviously more,” said LeGrande. “That gap has got to be bigger, and that’s where we have been all these years. In order for us to differentiate ourselves, we’re going into the next two steps up, maybe three steps up.”
In order to keep things fresh and to stand out from the other seafood restaurants, Aliki has planned a major renovation.
“It is very nice in here and has that warm feel to it when you walk in, but you know it’s important to give it that facelift, so to speak. So we are putting about $1 million (in) and looking to put in a raw bar and highlight that and the bar area in general,” said Aliki. “We will be going from 16 to 32 bar seats. Then just overall giving it a more contemporary feel, little bit less clutter, clean lines and we’re going for a different color scheme. So, it will be a Mediterranean/Aegean style with lots of whites and blues.”