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Checkers drive-in burger chain is planning first Buffalo location for Regal plaza

A national chain of drive-in hamburger restaurants is planning to open its first location in the City of Buffalo, as Checkers Drive-In Restaurants comes to a movie theater plaza on Elmwood Avenue.

If approved by the city Planning Board, the new 945-square-foot restaurant and drive-thru would be located at 2001 Elmwood, in the Regal Cinemas Elmwood Center 16 plaza, according to architect Steven J. Carmina of Carmina Wood Morris PC.

The building, to be located in the parking lot south of the AutoZone building, would also include a separate walk-up window and some outside seating, but no indoor seating, said Chris Wood, another partner at Carmina Wood.

The restaurant would be operated by franchisee Bill Nowak, through UCG Ventures. Cleveland-based DDR Corp. owns the property.

Tampa, Fla.-based Checkers is one of the nation’s largest chains of “double drive-thru” restaurants, with more than 800 locations in 28 states and Washington, D.C., under the Checker’s or Rally’s restaurant brands. Known for its burgers, its menu also includes breaded chicken and fish, chili dogs, fries, “Monsterella Stix,” funnel cakes, soft-serve ice cream and milkshakes.

Checkers was founded in 1986 in Mobile, Ala., while Rally’s Hamburgers opened in 1985 in Louisville, Ky. The companies merged in 1999. In Western New York, Checkers already has two restaurants in Cheektowaga, one at Buffalo Niagara International Airport and one at 2563 Union Road, at Losson Road.

It also has two at New York State Thruway service areas, one at the Pembroke Travel Plaza in Corfu, and another at the Seneca Travel Plaza in the Rochester suburb of Victor.