QUEENSBURY — A new deck is in the plans for Johnny Rockets at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Water Park.
Officials want to build a 2,280-square-foot deck for outdoor eating on the side of the lodge. They’re expecting it to draw in many customers — so many that they will add six more employees to wait on patrons outdoors.
There would be seating for 120 people on the deck, half of which would be covered by a roof. On evenings with nice weather, there could be live music as well.
The town’s parking standards require Great Escape to add six more parking spots for the deck. But the company has asked for a waiver from the Zoning Board, noting that guests can park in the nearby Great Escape parking lot. That lot is already used as overflow parking for the lodge.
There are 302 parking spaces for the lodge and Johnny Rockets. For the amusement park, there are 1,400 parking spaces, beginning at the edge of the lodge property.
The biggest concern has been traffic.
A traffic impact plan from 2004 set specific guidelines for when the company would have to take additional traffic-control measures. Company officials said they are willing to follow that plan for the deck, but said they did not think the deck would add to traffic congestion.
They predicted that 90 percent of Johnny Rockets’ guests would already be at the site, either going to the amusement park or staying at the lodge. Only about 12 people a day would be “off the street” guests, they said in their application to the Planning Board.
Planning staffers agreed that the next traffic threshold would not be met by new customers for the deck.
Traffic is counted every year, on weekdays and weekends, at several locations, including the southbound through-lane and eastbound right-turn lane at Route 9 and the Northway Exit 20 northbound ramp.
In 2017, the traffic counts were well below the level required for the next stage of traffic mitigation measures.
Johnny Rockets is a 1950s-style hamburger diner. It opened in 2008, replacing Trapper’s Adirondack Grille. The diner emphasizes a family-friendly atmosphere, with jukeboxes, milkshakes and the occasional dancing from servers. The restaurant also has a bar with TVs near the proposed site for the deck.
The location has a long history as a restaurant.
The building began as a seasonal fine-dining restaurant named Alphonso’s, built in 1949. That was before Charles R. Wood constructed Storytown, U.S.A., which later became Great Escape.
The restaurant became the Red Coach Grill and the Coachman Restaurant from 1970 to 1999. When Six Flags took over the property, it was renamed the Adirondack Coach House, then Trapper’s.