NIAGARA FALLS - Duff’s Famous Wings meet one of the world’s natural wonders.
The beloved chicken wing joint is adding its fifth Western New York location – a restaurant in Pine Plaza, just down the road from the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls.
“We’re excited to get to open in the Falls. We think we’ll do really well there,” said Kirk Feather, who owns Duff’s Depew location and is co-owner of the Eastern Hills Mall location.
The new Falls restaurant, at the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Military Road, will move into roughly 4,000 square feet of space most recently occupied by Just Pizza in a plaza owned by Phillips Edison & Co.
It’ll be a franchise operation of four principals – brothers Charbel and Maged Natanios, brother-in-law Jean Maalouf and uncle Sammy Mansour – who hope to open by the end of June.
“We always wanted to do something together,” said Charbel Natanios, “and Duff’s is a product we always enjoyed.”
Longtime customers of Duff’s themselves, the family of new owners called chicken wings “a passion.”
This will be the first business venture for the men as a group, but each has other existing business interests.
Charbel Natanios, of Amherst, is co-owner of a UPS Store in Cheektowaga, along with his father, Frank.
Sammy Mansour, of Williamsville, has been part of a family-run convenience store on Pierce Avenue in the Falls for 25 years.
Jean Maalouf, of Amherst, runs a salon in Williamsville.
Maged Natanios, a Buffalo-area native who now lives in Maryland, is an executive with Marriott International.
When Maged comes back home to visit, he makes sure he eats at Duff’s at least twice, his brother Charbel said.
Joe Duff, one of the four partners in Duff’s Franchise Group and son of Ron Duff, co-owner of the original Amherst location, said the new restaurant’s interior is being completely gutted and redesigned.
The restaurant space will likely be slightly bigger than what existed for Just Pizza – about two-thirds will be for sit-down customers, with the other third a renovated bar area, Duff said.
The bar area is getting new flooring and new lighting.
“This is pretty much a perfect size,” Duff said of the square footage, which is smaller than Duff’s largest location, which is in Eastern Hills Mall.
The new location’s owners said they are looking to hire up to 50 new employees, and applications can be made online at duffswings.com.
In addition to the Depew, Clarence and Amherst locations, Duff’s also has an Orchard Park location, as well as three in Toronto and another in Southlake, Texas.
The Texas location opened in the beginning of March and “is doing very well,” said Feather, the vice president of and one of four partners in Duff’s Franchise Group.
And even though the Pine Plaza restaurant hasn’t opened its doors yet, the franchise owners – who call themselves “a little corporation” – have their eyes on opening more Duff’s locations.
“We’re not just stopping here,” Sammy Mansour said.