They will still have to cross the border for it, but Swiss Chalet lovers in Buffalo and the Southtowns will soon have a closer option than the one in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Terry St. Amand, the longtime owner and operator of a Swiss Chalet in Welland, Ont., will open one in Fort Erie next year. Located at 575 Garrison Road on Highway 3, it will be off the first exit after the Peace Bridge and a mile from the U.S. border.
Swiss Chalet fans who travel to Fort Erie for bingo will be happy to know the new restaurant will be located between Golden Nugget Gaming Centre and Delta Bingo and Gaming.
St. Amand hopes to break ground by November and open next spring.
Like his first store in Welland, Ont., St. Amand's new location will have an attached Harvey's restaurant.
That means Swiss Chalet will be available via drive-thru.
Despite the presence of Harvey's, the restaurant will first and foremost be a Swiss Chalet. It is separated from Harvey's by a wall, and restrooms are situated between both dining rooms. While Swiss Chalet will be able to seat about 130 people, Harvey's will only have room for 50.
Unlike the Niagara Falls restaurant, Swiss Chalet will be full service, with servers taking orders and waiting tables. It will have a modern decor package, which will include a fireplace. Located on an 8.5-acre vacant lot, the restaurant will be newly built, along with a commercial plaza and "all the parking we need," he said.
St. Amand is well aware of Western New Yorkers' love affair with Swiss Chalet.
"Buffalo has a long history with Swiss Chalet," he said.
His daughter, Lisa Lynchehaun, owns another Swiss Chalet in Port Colborne, Ont., which also sees its fair share of American visitors.
"They love the Swiss Chalet sauce. That's their thing," St. Amand said. "They would take it home in a 45-gallon drum if they could."