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By Patrick J. Bradley
The owner of two local Papa Johns restaurants has announced plans to open two more national chain restaurants in Niagara Falls in time for the upcoming tourist season.
Muhammad Shoaib, who presented plans for them at the January board meeting of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, said the restaurants will open in May.
“I want to be open by Memorial Day and I think that’s achievable,” Shoaib said.
The new restaurants will have very different vibes.
•Moe’s Southwest Grill will be the first in Niagara County and will feature southwestern food including burritos, quesadillas and nachos. It will be located in the Wingate by Wyndham, a 110-room hotel at 333 Rainbow Blvd.
The Moe’s project will incur an estimated $400,000 in construction and equipment costs.
Future plans also call for additions including an ice cream stand and a souvenir shop.
•The second new offering will be an A&W Restaurant. These fast-food eateries offer A&W All American Food such as burgers and chicken with an emphasis on dessert sweets and treats. All are served with the legendary A&W root beer.
The Niagara Falls A&W Restaurant will be the first in Western New York – the nearest is in Cortland – and will be located in a former discount souvenir shop at 303 Rainbow Blvd. That building will require an estimated $500,000 in construction and equipment costs.
President and CEO John Percy of Destination Niagara USA, the city’s official travel and visitor information organization, applauded plans for the new restaurants.
“At Destination Niagara USA, we welcome the expansion of dining options for visitors to Niagara Falls – and it is especially exciting to attract family-friendly offerings that will be open year-round,” Percy said.
Moe's will be operated by Niagara Falls International Cuisine Inc., while the A&W Restaurant will be owned by Burger Factory Niagara Falls Inc. Shoaib, who is the president of both corporations, said the national brands have already approved the companies as franchisees.
“These will not be our last project,” he added.
The IDA is being asked to approve sales tax exemptions for both projects along with a five-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement for the A&W site.
Operating hours for the restaurants will be 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. during tourist season, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the offseason.
“The limited food options available in the downtown corridor do not meet the demands of the tourist community,” Shoaib said in the IDA applications for both restaurant projects.
Recognizable brands such as Moe’s and A&W “will help keep visitors in the downtown area longer and offer them a better overall experience,” he added.