Latham Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry closing April 30

This is sad.  Not just because of the business closing … but because of the way it’s closing.

According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry in Latham is closing for good on April 30.

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I’m not happy about this. I remember eating at Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry’s Central Avenue location for many years, enjoying the restaurant’s comfort food, its atmosphere, that flashing Googie architecture neon sign…

Oh, wait. That Bob & Ron’s closed last year.

Bob & Ron's Fish Fry Albany sign, April 17 2016.  BlackBerry PRIV camera. phone. Photo by Chuck Miller.
Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry Albany sign, April 17 2016. BlackBerry PRIV camera. phone. Photo by Chuck Miller.

So here’s what happened. The old owners sold the restaurant to a new owner. The new owner opened a second Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry in Latham. The original Central Avenue location was shuttered in November, and that beautiful sign was sold at auction.

And now the Latham restaurant is closing.

I’ve eaten at the Latham restaurant a couple of times – there was definitely a different vibe about the place. The fish fry sandwiches didn’t have that same taste to them, the offerings didn’t have that same snap to them, and that flashing neon sign was barely a logo on the restaurant’s cups.

So what is causing the Latham restaurant to close?

Well, the Bob & Ron’s owner was kind enough to list the reasons in a response on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

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… to be honest there is no way we could pay the high minimum wage that is coming and mandatory 3 months paid sick leave- this state is going in the wrong direction for small businesses …

Wow. I’m just going to leave that quotation right where it is.

Look… It bothers me when a Capital District icon like Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry closes down. But as far as I’m concerned, Bob & Ron’s closed last year. This new store was a Bob & Ron’s in name only. And although I’m not thrilled that the Latham eatery is closing …

With Facebook comments and responses like he ones posted above, I’m not surprised.

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37 thoughts on “Latham Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry closing April 30”

  1. It HASNT been the same in years. I grew up eating in he original Bob & Art’s, later Bob & Ron. We once again have a case of new owners who seem to lack the sense of historicity, run the place into the ground. B&R’s comments say that loud & clear. You p/o your customers, fail to maintain quality of food and service, well, as you sow….
    Yes, NY especially has myriad unfunded mandates. Small businesses like that should be exempt from some of these. Yet, I you have good quality employees, you should be willing and able to accommodate them if they themselves or a family member have a health crisis or other family emergency. Who can afford to go without a paycheck today?
    Any business who doesn’t maintain quality, standards will, indeed , soon bite the dust. These owners seemed to treat their customers–many like me going back 50+ years–with contempt.
    I only hope Ted’s maintains its standards. I worry about Ted’s becoming overextended, too many locations, etc. As for B&R, the original restaurant is very much missed. I’d often walk up from Westgate for a fish. But this isn’t the first, nor, alas, will it eb the last, of someone purchasing an iconic business and running it into the ground.

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  2. I go back to original location by the overpass when it was Art And Bobs. I just knew when it got sold and it left the Delenardis(?) family control it wouldn’t last. To bad for sure.

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  3. We’ve been warned for eons that, :”the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, and the restaurant business is not an easy one and has dashed the really great intentions of new owners, who often bite off more than they can chew and reality slaps in the face.

    Ironically, the very people who are likely to suffer the most from misguided efforts to improve their lot, are those either starting out, or trying to supplement other work efforts to better make ends meet. We’ll never hear for sure, whether all this $15.00 minimum wage argument turns out to be as big a threat as predicted, because the results will be spread out so far and wide, that people simply won’t notice.

    Technology is generally a good thing, but there are ALWAYS serious unintended consequences. Blacksmiths were once an important trade. Does anybody, but those displaced people who worked really hard emptying garbage cans into garbage trucks, even notice the work is now largely done by a single driver operating some sophisticated equipment. I’m sure that driver makes a higher salary than before, but what are the 2-3 guys that hung on the back of the truck, bringing the cans to the truck doing?

    Seems we once seemed to understand that “minimum wage jobs” were not intended to support a family, at least not a single minimum wage job. They were designed and intended to “tide you over” until you could progress into something more fruitful, or help you bridge a gap that needed filling.
    Successful technology seems usually to provide some benefit that effects the masses, except those on the lower economic rungs, who are willing to exert the type labor that can easily be accommodated mechanically.

    The thing that prevents, or delays, conversion to technology is most often “cost”. As long as the cost of completing a task can be done more effectively by unskilled human labor, there will be more opportunities for more people to enter the labor market, earn some money and develop work skills, awareness and behaviors that can assist them in moving up the ladder. Most often, machines are faster, considerably more consistent, a lot more predictable and when the cost comparison shifts to favor the technology over the human employee, it’s not a hard decision to take advantage of the cost benefit.

    Ever wonder, or just realize, how many of those “minimum wage” jobs so many of us held getting through High School, College or even our young family lives simply don’t exist any more? What’s taken their place to keep so many of today’s High School, College or even young families busy and making a few bucks while developing useful skills and attitudes?

    It’s not just technology, part of the change is “us”. Do you think grocery stores are willing to hire as many part-time (student) “baggers” to pack grocery bags, when so many people are willing (if not eager) to stuff their own bags. Thousands, if not millions, of “back office” jobs have been eliminated because higher skilled and better paid workers are able, and now expected and required, to do their own support activities. It’s always the work done by those at the lower rungs of the ladder that gets automated.

    We’ve also been long warned, “be careful what you wish for…..”

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  4. Poor management blames everything but themselves. The minimum wage is being phased in a number of years. IMO, the owners are throwing every excuse they can to deflect their own mistakes.

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  5. I may be wrong about this but I thought that if they (and any small business) had a minimum number of employees they’d be exempt. This is not an argument as to the value of raising the state min wage to $15/hr; rather, I am in favor of a living wage for all blue or no-collar wage earners regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender. I moved to FL recently and am working a “family job” building a restaurant downtown for that same wage as an alternative to “retirement.” Here and in many parts of the South that “min wage” amount is rarely met and hard to insist upon as a new hire even for skilled employees like myself.
    Small businesses come and go. I know, I have started and closed 3 legit businesses in my life, now working on the 4th here. No offense offered to Bob and Ron but I must say I went may times to Ken’s FF in various locations over the past 12 years and always enjoyed it, they seemed to be doing a booming business so maybe the quality of the food has a lot to do with their continued success. They will be subjected to having to raise wages for their employees as well and like many other businesses will consider raising the cost of those fish rolls to balance the books, maybe something Bob and Ron should have tried before denying their employees a chance to balance theirs, too.

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  6. So the first one was because o Albany taxes, this because of a minimum wage that hasn’t gone into effect. GOT it.

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  7. Went to the Latham location a few weeks after it opened. Got served an unappetizing chunk of fish that was nothing like what I used to get at B&R on Central over the years. Took it back to the counter and got a shrug from the counter staff. Bad product + indifferent staff = Out of Business. Next up? Brueggers…

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  8. This is a shame. I used to go to the Albany location and went to Latham a few weeks ago after the Albany location closed and had an excellent meal. Bob and Ron’s fish fry is just so much better than Ted’s. Less greasy. I am sad to see them go.

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  9. Are you telling me that your employees are so bad that you can’t get $15 an hour’s worth of value out of them? Nope, it’s more likely that you have no idea what you’re doing.

    Look around – every restaurant I go to is packed. It’s not them, it’s you.

    Stop blaming the State for your own failure.

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  10. The medical leave act won’t be adding additional costs to the employer.
    1) It is employee funded… a small amount (I think it will be a maximum of $1.60 eventually, in three years or so) will be taken out of the employees paycheck every pay period.
    2) When a person goes on this leave, they are not expected to continue to receive a paycheck from the employer, so the employer is not paying someone to not work for three months. The checks will be coming from the state to the employee.
    3) If the employer has to hire a temp worker for that time, then they will be paying someone else during that period of time, and that is it… which is an expense the employer would have incurred anyway if the employee was not on this leave.
    So how can an employer claim that this employee benefit would be detrimental to businesses? All the employer is required to do is hold that job open for the original employee upon their return…. In reality, the only extra cost might possibly be overtime for other workers if the employer does not hire a temp worker…but then again it is overtime against the salary cost of the employee that is on the leave.

    Will it be easy for an employer if they have to hold a job open for an employee who goes on this leave? No. But the same thing would happen if that employee was forced to stop working suddenly. Either you find someone to take that employees place, or have other workers cover. I was out of work suddenly for a week and a half due to a blood clot that was discovered. Women go on maternity leave for six to eight weeks. There are deaths in families. Employers get caught short at any time currently….

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  11. We notice a lot of chain-type eateries popping up and it’s probably because the big chains are the only ones who can afford doing business in NY. The local family owned smaller businesses are at a disadvantage.

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    1. @John Miller – what is your evidence of that?

      Think about it – have you been to a Wolff’s Biergarten or any Angelo Mazzone restaurant or, for that matter, any place in Saratoga lately? Even the humble Blue Ribbon diner in Schenectady?

      They’re all packed and none of them are national chains.

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      1. The number of small family owned restaurants that exist around here is not zero. I never suggested that but your reply seemed to suggest it. It’s just that most of what I see popping up, especially on wolf Rd., are the larger chains.

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  12. What utter crap from the new owners of Bob and Ron’s. I have a friend who worked there until recently – The Central Ave location closed because they hired a bunch of college kids the summer of 2015 and didn’t hire any real – permanent help so come the fall they were under staffed.

    The owners of Bob and Rons are trying to push this off on a hike in the minimum wage that hasn’t happened yet. The purpose of the minimum wage wasn’t intended for cheapos to exploit workers, it was designed – according to FDR when he signed the National Recovery Act said “No business which depends on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level. I mean the wages of decent living.”

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    1. They fry their fish in old dirty grease, and the cold slaw is weeks old, needless to say, you never tried fresh fish from Bob & Ron’s. Also they have no healthy choices.

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  13. Maybe seafood restaurants aren’t a good business to be in now. Joes Crab Shack closed and I read Bonefish Grill isn’t doing too well. Plus, fried fish isn’t very healthy and people are more health conscious these days.

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  14. I like Gene’s Fish Fry on Route 4 in East Greenbush. Only open during summer, though, but it’s coming up!

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    1. Gene’s is my personal favorite too. Although the clam strips at Bob & Ron’s were always beloved by my family. We’ll miss them for sure. The kids held back tears when driving past the torn up sign just earlier today.

      Now we’re on the lookout for the next best clam strips in the Capital Region.

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      1. The family has no clue about what they’ve done here. Generations have loved B&R and losing it is just like losing a member of the family. First dates were shared there. First times with the kids. Too many fun family dinners to count. Many many good memories. To all us customers, B&R was more than a local business. It was a treasure, and a most favorite place to meet friends. This may sound crazy, but it’s how I feel: losing the ability to ever have a B&R fish fry again is like saying you can never get a pizza or a favorite steak again. Ever. Truly SUCKS. And it didn’t have to happen.

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  15. I am tired about the bleeding heart liberals and there living wage stand, Minimum wage jobs are not mean”t to be living wage jobs, they are for the highly unskilled worker to advance their skills so they may earn more, There are beginner wages for a beginner job. If you want better wages then get better skills. This country lost millions of higher skilled higher wage jobs, to be replaced with lower wage lower skilled jobs, You can blame your current president for that. Why should someone with no to low skills expect to earn what higher quality skilled workers make?

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  16. This is the result of silly Phony Governor Andrew’s insistence on the $15.00 minimum wage. How are the Social Security recipients going to go out for a cheap dinner! And how are the elderly going to pay $15 per hour for home health care aides. Andrew is acting MENTALLY DERANGED and may be the reason we are heading for the GREATEST DEPRESSION yet, which he’ll no doubt blame on the Republicans! Impeach that dumb man. Did he double State pensions and use his influence to ensure Social Security is doubled? NO!

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    1. Have you ever had to hire a Home Health Aides one for YOUR Parents? $9 maybe $10 an hour. The good ones are vastly underpaid – and they don’t stay long in such low paying jobs. Even in today’s environment a Home Health Aid can get paid more working in food service than taking care of mom and dad. A HHA should start at $15 for what they have to do.

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  17. The minimum wages and the mandatory leave are brutal for small businesses like this. It’s one thing to mandate these in NY City where people will pay high prices for food. it’s another in the rest of the state.

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  18. So, the owners of Bob and Ron’s bought the business, sinking their own money into it in hopes of making profits, but lost their money when they closed the business. They cite high taxes, the coming increase in minimum wage, and other costs as the reason that they lost their savings in closing the business. Hmmm….. Who could have thought that high taxes, high labor costs and other costs could have such results?

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  19. I must say, I will definitely miss BOB and Ron’s, it was clean, the food was delicious, there was a choice of grilled salmon for us healthy eaters. The place was always crowed, I find it hard to believe they need to close. Their competition has gone straight downhill, they cook in dirty grease, their cold slaw is sour, it make me physically ill to eat there. Can’t figure this one out. Will miss Bob and Ron’s…been a customer since it was Bob and Art’s.

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  20. Bob and Ron’s is the victim of a fish that became harder and harder to get (cusk) combined with an owner that insisted on changing the winning formula. From the minute the DeLeonardis family sold the business, the new owners started changing things — different fries, self serve drinks and condiments that blocked the flow of traffic, no more table condiments, and I swear the breading recipe was different. To suggest they were a victim of the economy and that paying a higher minimum wage would break them is completely ludicrous. What a shame indeed. Our family mourns this loss, but really we started mourning several years ago.

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  21. Hasn’t been the same since the Deleonardis family sold it. Was the best in the area bar none. The new minimum wage could very well impact small restaurants but that was not the case here. The recipes used and portions changed with the new ownership.

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  22. It’s a new generation. They don’t to work. They just want money to flow in in gobs and have the nights and weekends off to drive around in the new BMW.
    Same as the short lived Bombers Burritos in Troy. They ran it for a year or so and outright quit because it was hard work. (after they took all the free grants and start up money from the taxpayers)

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  23. Too bad the owner wasn’t mentioned by name in this article. Nor was it mentioned that this owner recently closed another business at the same site literally overnight. My sense is that this owner got whatever tax deductions he could wring out of the place and will claim the whole thing as a loss. The owner will do anything to take advantage of his employees and customers, and has unfortunately been very successful at doing so. Shame on him!

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  24. All this is due to the mismanagement owners of Bob and Rons. I had a friend who worked for Bob and Rons. part-time – a valuable employee who worked both locations the owners his pay for the past four years was $10 an hour. No raise in 4 years.

    Over the summer of 2015 at the central ave location, Bob and Rons hired a bunch of college students. When the Fall hit they went back to college and because the owners only pay the NYS minimum of $9 an hour they attracted no quality permanent workers.

    The young people of this generation do want to work, they just don’t want to work for owners who take advantage of them with low pay FOR YEARS and then blame the minimum wage laws and the workers for their own bad decisions, Bob and Ron’s death was a suicide.

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  25. The manager is straight up lying, minimum wage hike doesn’t take effect upstate for years! Why is nobody calling him on this?

    They ran an iconic business into the ground, now they have to paste their politics and excuses all over the place while begging us to patronize their greed one final time.

    Pass.

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  26. Does anyone know who TouchFree Car Wash, Inc. is? The company seems to own the property now, and apparently managed its most recent restaurant “tenants” right into the ground. But the history of the site shows far better owner attitude and popularity. Sammy’s Saucers was there in the old days (when I was growing up). Who would argue that they were not a success? I remember going to the laundromat there somewhat later in life every so often at 8 AM after work (circa 1995) and speaking with the owner as he was opening up. What a great guy! He had some good sea stories to tell to a fellow ex-Navy guy! He also made a fortune in quarters. He was winding down his successful business and it was a delight to meet and get to know him. Too bad the attitude of the current owners is so different from that gentleman. Until that changes, it will be failure after failure for these current owners.

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