Cohoes restaurant set to re-open after fire

December 12, 2017 05:42 PM

COHOES -- The owner of Smith's restaurant, Joe Hostig, says things looked so bad after the fire that he wasn't sure what the future held. But his business is back, and he feels "Cohoes strong."
"It's overwhelming," he said.  "I mean, I'm so grateful and happy that we're able to do this so quickly."

Smith's restaurant is still a work in progress after severe water and smoke damage. This was one of the more than 30 buildings affected by a ferocious fire November 30. Owner Joe Hostig remembers looking out a side door and seeing flames shooting from his second floor.

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"Man hours are unbelievable," he said about the restoration work.  "There's been nights that there's been 18 - 20 people in here working on everything all at the same time.  It's just incredible. It's like a miracle."

It's been heating and drying and a lot of woodwork inside this 1873 building.  A lot of wood had to be restored and refinished.

Hostig says cleaning was overwhelming. The tin ceilings in the dining room are back to silver now, but they were black. Coverings protect the famous 50-foot African mahogany bar. Big Mike Smith keeps a watchful eye from his temporary place in the dining room.

There's a lot of history here. Hostig sees his speedy comeback in the heart of downtown as symbolic of the city's resilience. He says Cohoes has a lot of momentum and that Smith's is part of that.

The doors will open again here for lunch Monday.

"There's been so much outreach of people asking when, when, when, and when we tell them I really think we're going to be blessed with a lot of our people just showing up immediately. And they're more than welcome. We can't wait to have them, as much as they're missing us," said Hostig.

Smith's is also celebrating a new year and a new beginning in a new way: with two days for New Year's Eve celebrations, both Saturday and Sunday that weekend.  


Kumi Tucker

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