Two new businesses are moving to Downtown Albany, but they are no strangers to the community.
The son and daughter of Mama Gina's owners are starting up The Pizza Shop on Broad Avenue next to CafÃ 230, and The Levee Studios is transporting business from their location on Dawson Road to 100 Pine Avenue.
"We saw a lot of activity going downtown and it seemed to be the thing to do, it seemed to be the right fit for music," says Co-Owner of The LeVee Vince Dettore.
He says at least three restaurants plan to have live music during evenings in Downtown Albany as well as at the Nights @ Dtown monthly events, and he wants The Levee to be a part of it.
"We have over 100 music students, we have multiple bands that come out of The Levee and we hope that some of those bands can contribute to that music," says Dettore
Francesca Mannino Bragg is also testing out the waters when it comes to Downtown Albany nightlife: The Pizza Shop will be open until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. If all goes well, she says they may open for dinner other nights as well.
"Because we still have our old customers who want to come down and have dinner," says Bragg
But she says it's the lunch crowd that encouraged her to bring the familiar Italian tastes and atmosphere to downtown.
"The lunch group: That was my thing, the lunch. You've got APD, we know a lot of the doctors, the lawyers, the policemen and everyone down here. Everyone was like, 'Come downtown! Come downtown!'" Bragg says.
Bragg says they are using the same recipes as her mom and dad, including the bread. She says they anticipate the restaurant will open in the next week or two.
The Levee says they plan to move their music school, "School of Rock," to the new downtown location by Aug. 1 and their production studio soon after that. Dettore says when The Levee is completely moved, they want to throw a moving-in party downtown to celebrate, complete with outdoor live music.