Orchard Park icon set to re-open a year after it abruptly closed

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Ever since it closed abruptly in late September 2015, not only Orchard Park but all of greater Buffalo has been missing an important part of the community. But that will change come early next week when Eckl’s re-opens for business.

The staff at Eckl’s has been busy this week getting ready for re-launch this weekend — shining the famous carving station, for example.

A, invite-only soft opening was scheduled for Friday, and the big grand reopening on Tuesday.

The restaurant shut its doors last year after original owner, Dale Eckl, fell ill. They thanked their customers for decades of loyalty, and closed their doors on Sept. 26.

New co-owner Jim Cornell saw an opportunity, knowing what the southtowns staple meant to the community.

As a result, the restaurant’s shell will remain the same, as will the menu. About half of the nearly 30 employees are returning to work under new ownership, including two members of the Eckl’s family.

“They entrusted us with their name, even though they’re not in the business anymore, it’s still Eckl’s,” said Ted Smith, the restaurant’s general manager. “So if we were to drop the ball it would be obviously a reflection on us but kind of a reflection on them too, and we had a nice meeting with them and they were very confident that we would take care of business.”

There will be some updates and additions to the building, including a new entrance and an all-seasons patio, when the weather warms next year.

Both Cornell Smith said they realize the importance of a brand that stood the test of time.

“Part of its legacy is that it really did perfect the beef on Weck sandwich,” Cornell said. “And of course it will be featured prominently on our menu as we reopen. (The restaurant) was never broken, so we didn’t really think it would be a good idea to fix it.”

Eckl’s new owners said they hope to expand in other parts of Buffalo in the future, including in Larkinsville. Those who can’t wait until Tuesday to get a bite of their famous roast beef, Smith said he will be posting updates on their Facebook page and website. They’re also considering another soft opening (limited menu) on Sunday to accept the Orchard Park crowd post-Bills game.


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