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Adding Crossgates restaurants may make another leave

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Even as plans are being made to increase the size of Guilderland's Crossgates Mall to accommodate two new restaurants, a current dining tenant owned by a local company is thinking about leaving.

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The lease for J&A Prep Kitchen will expire in January, and owner Marello Restaurants and Catering may move the restaurant elsewhere, according to head man Joe Marrello. He says competition from national chains with locations in the sprawling suburban mall makes survival difficult.

The Guilderland Town Planning Board recently heard plans for a two-story addition that would give new businesses desiring outside access they require to move there. The developer would not identify the prospective new tenants, but did say they would include two new restaurants and two new entertainment attractions.

J&A Prep Kitchen, a casual version of Jacob & Anthony’s American Grille in Saratoga Springs, opened in August 2011, and for more than a decade before that the Marrello company operated a franchise of the Houlihan's chain in the mall. It also owns Bellini's Italian Eatery restaurants in Clifton Park, Saratoga County and Slingerlands, Albany County.

Although Houlihan's owns or franchises 84 casual restaurants in 18 states, it no longer has any locations in the Capital Region.

The menus and other details for J&A's Prep Kitchen (the "prep" refers to prep school style, not as in kitchen prep) are available online. Phone: (518) 869-8077.

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