20A eatery a welcome addition as crowds near chain's record

Businesses in Geneseo continue to diversify, as Route 20A welcomes Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar to the mix.

The popular chain restaurant held its grand opening on Jan. 28 and has been enjoying steady patronage since its doors have been open.

Applebee's, which can be found in 49 states and 17 countries, finally fought its way into Geneseo after a long struggle to gain approval from the Town Planning Board. Approval was granted only after the establishment agreed to reduce signage and change the interior motif.

Applebee's, which sits in the Genesee Valley Plaza that also houses Wegmans and Peebles, currently employs 125 people and has already been frequented by a massive number of patrons. According to Manager Jenn Dydo-Spencer, the restaurant has had the second highest opening of any Applebee's to date.

Despite the restaurant's initial warm reception, not all dining experiences have been positive.

"Everything tasted as though it had just been microwaved, like a poor imitation of the original," said student Eric Metz.

For other students, however, the arrival of a new restaurant is a welcome change.

"It's great to have another option for dining," said senior Julie Lambalot.

Although Applebee's competes with many local independent restaurants, it has been surprisingly well-received by local proprietors.

"The more the merrier," said Luke and Paul DeVelder, owners of The Vital Spot bar.

Michael Adams, owner of Bank Street Bagel Café, said that the restaurant is a "double-edged sword." He explained that as a father, curbside pickup is convenient; as a business owner, the added competition is undesirable.