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Mexican restaurant plans expansion to historic Potsdam building

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POTSDAM — The Cactus Grill and Cantina likely will be expanded this spring with a dining room and rooftop terrace.

The Mexican restaurant and bar at 18 Raymond St. has been open since 1995.

Owner Larry J. Hazen said he hopes to bring in more customers with the expansions, which he said have been a long time coming.

The upper floor of the building has been vacant since the restaurant opened, but Mr. Hazen said he has always had his eye on putting it to use.

“It always was there, and I had always planned to one day expand to that room,” he said.

The floor will be converted to a dining room that can be rented out for large parties and other events.

While recently replacing the roof, Mr. Hazen had another idea: create a terrace for diners who want an outdoor meal with a view.

“When we were putting it on, we realized what a view it is up there,” he said. He was inspired partly by the popularity of rooftop restaurants in New York City.

Mr. Hazen presented his ideas to the village Planning Board last week. There were a few minor concerns, including the building’s historic status. Many downtown buildings, including the Cactus Grill, are on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Market Street Historic District.

The building was built in three stages from Potsdam’s iconic red sandstone, in 1871, 1906 and 1925. It served as the Potsdam waterworks before the village sold it to Mr. Hazen, who turned it into the Cactus Grill.

Mr. Hazen said he plans to respect the age and history of his building, but doubts its historic status will cause any major delays in his expansion plans.

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