Joe's Crab Shack will make its Western New York debut at a site on Maple Road in Amherst.
The national chain will lease a former Pizzeria Uno location at 4125 Maple Road, east of the Boulevard Mall. Plans call for the seafood restaurant to open this summer, said Kristen Temple, director of marketing for Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group, which owns the chain.
Joe's Crab Shack has grown to 114 locations since the first one opened in Houston in 1991, but this will be the chain's first restaurant in New York State. "We really see a lot of potential in the Northeast area as a place we want to expand," Temple said.
The chain serves crab legs, shrimp and other seafood in what it describes as a "hang-loose environment" on its website.
Just across Maple Road, Ignite opened the first Buffalo-area location of another chain it owns, Brick House Tavern and Tap, last December.
Their close proximity is a bit of a coincidence, said Ed McGraw, Ignite's senior vice president of development. Ignite had studied the Buffalo Niagara market before determining Amherst was the best spot for each chain to serve the metro area, he said.
"It was a viable market for both brands," McGraw said. It just so happened that two locations so close to each other were available.
Ignite recently turned a former Pizzeria Uno in Plainfield, N.J., into a Joe's Crab Shack, McGraw said. "The size works for us. We think it will be a pretty straightforward conversion."