NIAGARA FALLS, CANADA (Business First of Buffalo) -- Margaritaville is pulling into Niagara Falls.
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe has selected Niagara Falls as the site for its first Canadian restaurant. Margaritaville Canada Ltd. has signed a lease with the owners of the Skylon Tower to open the 14,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant on Fallsview Avenue, across from the Niagara Fallsview Casino and Resort.
Margaritaville is scheduled to open by late spring or early summer, said George Davidson, Margaritaville Canada president and chief executive officer.
The restaurant is moving into the site of the former Wolfgang Puck's Cafe, which closed last summer.
Margaritaville Canada is investing "several million" into the Niagara Falls project, Davidson said. The restaurant is the first of several the Calgary-based company has planned for Canada. The company has the exclusive Margaritaville rights for Canada.
"The (Niagara Falls) location is just spectacular," Davidson said. "You couldn't find a better site between all the activity and overlooking the falls."
Besides Fallsview Casino, Margaritaville's other neighbors include the Hilton Niagara Falls, which last year opened a 59-story wing. The Niagara Convention & Civic Centre is about a five-minute walk from the site. The $100 million center, located along Stanley Avenue, is due to open next spring.
Davidson said the restaurant site is currently being expanded. Part of the renovations call for a second-story outdoor patio that will offer dramatic views of Niagara Falls.
Margaritaville will have a 350-person seating capacity, an increase over Wolfgang Puck's capacity by more than 175 seats.
The restaurant, during the peak summer season, is expected to employ at least 250 people on a full- and part-time basis.
Buffett has 10 restaurants, all named after his 1976 hit song "Margaritaville". The Niagara Falls location will be the most northern of the restaurant sites.
Davidson confirmed plans are in the works for other Margaritaville's across Canada. One will anchor the revamped Calgary Stampede grounds and complex.
"You can probably guess what other cities might end up with one," Davidson said.
He said locations in Toronto and Vancouver are being considered.
As for the restaurant's namesake, might Buffett be making an appearance in Niagara Falls.
"You never know," Davidson said. "He has been known to stop in his other restaurants from time-to-time."