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McDonald’s Workers Open Their Restaurant as a 24-hour Storm Shelter During Blizzard in North East

in Place 136 views

When three employees of a New York McDonald’s were forced to accept the fact that they weren’t going home during the Christmas storm that blanketed the northern US, they opened up the store to stranded motorists—and ended up hosting 50 people over Christmas weekend.

Amherst, like neighboring Buffalo, received upwards of 40 inches of snow—and it wasn’t long before police began dropping people off at their store on Sweet Home Road and Sheridan Drive last Friday night.

“We accepted the fact that we weren’t going home, so we might as well open up,” said Kristin Kosha, one of the workers there. “We figured someone might need some help.”

Expecting maybe a dozen, more than 50 New Yorkers sheltered in their store which, even before the act of kindness, was known as the “Sweethome McDonald’s” after the street on which it was built.

“We fed them, and had the coffees and hot chocolates going,” she told ABC-7 Buffalo.

“Saturday we had the Bills football game on, and they chatted amongst themselves and mingled—while we kept them fed.”

Dozens of stories of humans helping humans were published over the Christmas weekend, as a patch of terrible weather coincided with the holiday that celebrates goodwill towards man.

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Denny’s closes in Watertown

in Local Business/Local News 175 views

WATERTOWN — Denny’s restaurant on Arsenal Street has closed — this time for good.

Cheryl A. Mayforth, director of the Jefferson County Department of Employment and Training at The Workplace, got word about the closing on Tuesday night.

She emailed the owner of the franchise, Feast American Diners of Murrieta, California, on Wednesday morning and was told the closing was permanent.

The company blamed “a lack of sales,” and it tried to make a go of it “but the situation was not sustainable,” she said.

Employees were told about the closing at the beginning of their shift on Tuesday afternoon but were not given an explanation or confirmation on whether it was permanent.

No one was at the restaurant on Wednesday and it was dark.

About 25 full- and part-time employees worked at the restaurant. All the Denny’s signs were taken down on Wednesday.

The Denny’s was one of the first businesses to close when the COVID-19 pandemic began March 2020. The Watertown restaurant was one of 15 in New York, including in Rochester, Geneva and Auburn, that Feast American Diners closed then.

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Watertown restaurants move to drive-thru window craze

in Food 335 views

WATERTOWN — The Taco Bell on Arsenal Street will be the third local fast food restaurant adding another drive-thru window in response to changing market patterns following the pandemic.

The local Taco Bell is going through the approval process with both the city and Jefferson County planning boards to create a second drive-up window.

Taco Bell operators need to receive a site plan approval for the change and a zoning variance for a 5-foot setback requirement.

The existing single drive-thru lane becomes so busy at peak times that vehicles overflow onto Arsenal Street, said county senior planner Andy Nevin.

The operators of the Taco Bell are spending a lot of money for a long traffic lane around the restaurant that leads to the new drive-thru window, so Mr. Nevin assumes that the company has determined that customers like the convenience and quickness of using a drive-up window.

“With the pandemic, a lot of restaurants’ lobbies were closed and people had to use drive-thru windows,” he said.

Taco Bell’s decision follows Chipotle Mexican Grill adding a drive-thru window at the restaurant in City Center, a sprawling commercial plaza on Western Boulevard.

Customers will soon be able to order their burritos and other Mexican-inspired meals from Chipotle without getting out of their vehicles.

Customers will place their orders through the Chipotle mobile app or website, then pick them up in what the national restaurant chain calls a “Chipotlane,” all without having to leave their cars.

Just down the street, the Panera Bread restaurant is relocating to a former TGI Fridays solely because it wants to add the capability of a drive-thru window.

Danny Klein, editorial director for QSR (Quick Serve Restaurants) magazine, a publication for the fast-food industry, said national food chains are making changes to accommodate customer market patterns after dining rooms were forced to close at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Drive-up window will be added to Watertown Chipotle

in Food 2,682 views

WATERTOWN — Customers will soon be able to order their burritos and other Mexican-inspired meals from Chipotle without getting out of their vehicles.

Chipotle Mexican Grill will add a drive-thru window at the restaurant in City Center, a sprawling commercial plaza on Western Boulevard.

On Tuesday, the Watertown Planning Board approved the site plans that allow the project to move forward.

Customers will place their orders through the Chipotle mobile app or via its website, then pick them up in what the national restaurant chain calls a “Chipotlane,” all without having to leave their cars.

A Chipotle representative told planning board members that the project doesn’t include adding “an order board,” so customers must order their food before they get to the restaurant.

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New bar and grill at a former oil-change business serves up humor, sarcasm

in Local Business 436 views

WATERTOWN — Don’t fret if a server at a new Washington Street bar and grill puts a hat on you and makes fun that you’re not a perfect customer.

Shannon M. Exford, owner of The Bad Apple Garage, just wants to make her new restaurant a fun place to go.

“Sarcasm and humor” are served up with the menu at the new bar and grill, located in a former oil change business at 1120 Washington St., she said.

Humorous signs are displayed around the bar that once was the location of garage bays for the former Fast Lube of Watertown.

The Bad Apple Garage opened on Tuesday.

The bar takes on a repair garage motif. The interior features red and white colors for a reason; they were prominently displayed on the old Fast Lube business, she said.

Miss Exford — who owns two other restaurants and bars, The Bad Apple Saloon on Arsenal Street and The Wicked Bad Apple in Glenfield — had no intentions of opening a third restaurant.

She planned on starting a catering business as a spin-off for her restaurants. But before she knew it, The Bad Apple Garage was what she ended up with.

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The Eatery opens on Court Street

in Food/Local Business 520 views

WATERTOWN — Christin D. Filippelli has some big ideas for The Eatery, the restaurant she opened almost two weeks ago on Court Street.

The Eatery is starting in a 1,200-square-foot storefront at 168 Court St. that once housed a used book store. Seating 20 people, it’s open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a lunch menu of sandwiches and salads and some breakfast items. She employs three full-time workers and six part-timers.

But by late summer, The Eatery will triple its size in an adjacent storefront and employ 15 full-time workers.

That’s when Ms. Filippelli says she’ll offer a complete dinner menu and banquet facilities for wedding receptions, business meetings and special events.

“That side is huge,” she said.

For now, however, The Eatery offers menu items named after staff members and friends. The handmade wooden tables were built by a friend’s father.

She says it’s that family atmosphere that will bring her customers back to The Eatery.

They can join a coffee club for $125 a year and get as many cups of Joe they’d like. The Eatery serves “Whipped Desserts” by Mary Campbell and Stew Baytos.

Nonprofit organizations and local small businesses can use the storefront window to advertise.

A group of her teenage son’s friends work part time at the restaurant, which features some of her favorite quotes on the wall.

Soon, Ms. Filippelli will expand her hours to 7:30 p.m. and add a few comfort foods to a dinner menu before she opens the other side.

Opening a restaurant has been a longtime goal.

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Owners of Sackets’ Battlefield Eatery planning restaurant in Watertown

in Food/Local Business 701 views

WATERTOWN — Christin D. Filippelli wants people to feel like they’re at their home when they eat at her new Court Street restaurant.

She and her business partner Jessica R. Williams are renovating the building that once housed Severance Photo at 168 Court St. to open The Eatery.

She hopes people will feel The Eatery will be a second home for families and friends.

“I don’t want to be cliche and say like ‘Cheers,’” Ms. Filippelli said, referring to the lyrics of the theme song from the 1990s sitcom that “sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.”

Construction has already begun on the vacant building owned by local businessman Stephen J. Bradley.

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New Watertown restaurant aims to bring diners downtown

in Local Business 1,921 views

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – A new Watertown restaurant hopes to get more people interested in downtown.

Empire Square opened recently, serving what it calls southern fusion style food, like chicken and waffles.

The restaurant showcases eclectic decor and a Prohibition style cocktail bar.

The owner, a military veteran, has owned the building for 15 years. This is her second restaurant in the location.

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Former Fort Drum officer opening second restaurant in Public Square

in Local Business 903 views

WATERTOWN — Vonnette T. Monteith just couldn’t part with the historic building at 63-65 Public Square that she bought while she was still serving in the Army at Fort Drum in 2005.

While it wasn’t her original intention, she ended up opening a Mexican Restaurant, Casa de Flor, back then.

And now, acknowledging that she’s surprised that she’s doing it again, Ms. Monteith is opening another restaurant in the building she loves.

“I’m sentimental,” she said.

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New Canton McDonald’s to open Friday, ending restaurant’s five-year village absence

in Local Business 545 views

CANTON — Golden arches have returned to Canton.

After a more than five-year absence and a two-year planning and construction process, a McDonald’s restaurant is opening Friday, at 111 E. Main St. in the Price Chopper parking lot.

“We’re excited to be back in Canton and start a new chapter of business,” said franchise owner Paul M. Ross, who owns and operates 16 other McDonald’s locations in Northern and Central New York.

Mr. Ross, of Syracuse, said the Canton restaurant will ideally be staffed by 70 people, a mix of part- and full-time employees. On Tuesday, he said the restaurant has almost reached that goal.

The Canton restaurant returns the McDonald’s count in St. Lawrence County to six, with two in Massena and one each in Potsdam, Ogdensburg and Gouverneur.

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