The former site of Minissale’s Wine Cellar Cafe, at 1 14th St. in Troy, has sold for $260,000 to Han One Dynasty, LLC, a recently created entity with an office at a home in Loudonville. The sale was recorded at the Rensselaer County clerk’s office this month.
Minissale’s closed in 2016 after nearly 40 years in operation. Donna’s Italian Restaurant, a Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine venture, took over the restaurant space later that year but closed after six months, in May 2017.
Tyler Fronte, the buyer’s agent, said an “authentic” Chinese restaurant is planned for the space. It may open as soon as mid-July. (The buyer does not have any connection to Han Dynasty, a Sichuan restaurant chain with multiple locations, including some in Philadelphia and New York City, Fronte confirmed.)
Reached by phone on Monday, Phil Minissale, who had owned the property with his brother Ted, said he knew the site would become a Chinese restaurant but didn’t know much beyond that. The Minissale brothers also own a sauce business, which in the past had used a kitchen at the 14th St. property for production, but they’ve already relocated that enterprise, Phil said.
The neighborhood near the building, which is just off Congress St. near Prospect Park, is known as Mt. Ida or The Hill. Last year, Times Union columnist Chris Churchill wondered why, “given the proximity of RPI and its 7,000 students,” Congress St. “never developed into a classic college strip.”
“Early crowd, tough parking situation, but a great neighborhood with a ton of upside,” Vic Christopher told the Times Union’s Steve Barnes when Donna’s announced its closing. “Maybe we were a little early to the party with this project, but that area is going to be booming.”
The ex-Minissale’s building is a stone’s throw from The Hill at Muza, a popular beer garden. A new brewery planned for a former church at 560 Congress St., may open by the end of this year, according to a Facebook post last month.
The city’s new, yet-to-be-adopted comprehensive plan calls for the creation of “a master plan to guide improvements to Prospect Park,” which would consider “a range of possibilities for making it a year-round destination, including the potential for a cultural or mixed-use attraction at the top of the park, such as a children’s museum.”
The comprehensive plan says the 80-acre park should be better connected to various neighborhoods. It also floats the idea of a theater or skate park at the site of the park’s defunct swimming pool.
This story was updated to include information provided by the buyer’s agent.