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Thursday, July 23, 2015
Widewaters Drive-In Restaurant will maintain its iconic look when opened anew in 2016. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler 
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


"I want the people to come here, get an ice cream cone, sit down in the shade in 12-acres of land and enjoy themselves." That, in a nutshell, is Tim Mulvey's plan for Widewaters Drive-In Restaurant.

Widewaters new co-owner Tim Mulvey goes
over a scale model of future plans for the
restaurant. It includes new bathrooms, a party
room, storage and a porch.
Mulvey and Jim Kane purchased the restaurant earlier this month with plans to revamp and re-open the nostalgic burger and hot dog stand, closed for over two years now following flooding on June 28, 2013 that decimated much of the building's interior.

Then-owner Marty Oliveri didn't re-open the restaurant because he never got assurances from the city that a similar flood wouldn't happen again. He put the building on the market for $150,000 in mid-June.

Mulvey and Kane didn't take long to pounce. "We've both always wanted to buy this place, but it was always out of our league."

They realize that there's always a possibility of another flood, but also realize the odds are in their favor — especially since the city cleaned out the drainage lines that go through the restaurant's 12-acre lot. 

And Mulvey, who has 30 years' experience in construction — much of it in restaurant construction — planned to tear the iconic building down and start fresh ... until he found that the structure itself was sound. With no insulation in the walls of the seasonal building, there was nothing to really trap the moisture. That meant no mold.

Still, he gutted the interior down to the studs with plans to basically re-create it from the ground up — with some improvements, of course.

He's hoping to get city approval for an addition that would include a pair of handicapped accessible bathrooms, a storage area, a party room, and a back porch. He also plans to refurbish all of the restaurant's playground equipment and add a game area where kids can play.

Mulvey discusses plans for the restaurant's 12-acre property. 
"All the playground is all in tact," he said. "Obviously, it needs dressing up, but 99 percent of it is all fiberglass, which can be retro'd back into what it was."

In short, Mulvey and Kane — who both grew up on the same street — plan to return Widewaters to its glory days, when they also both worked there. "It was a very successful business in the 70s."

As for the food? Mulvey sees no point in messing with a winning formula. "I'm keeping it simple. Hamburgers, hot dogs, Coney Islands, chicken fingers for the kids, ice cream."

Lockport Community Development Director Brian Smith said "These are the types of projects that we hope to be able to support when we go out and obtain funding. ... There is a target area for the micro-enterprise and Widewaters is not in it. But for projects that make a compelling case that are outside the target area, they have the ability to receive some funding."

Mulvey said the city has thus-far been great to work with. And he's been particularly happy with the reactions of city residents who have learned of their plans. In the few days since a Facebook page has been set up for the new venture, it already has 630 "likes."

Mulvey and Kane plan to have Widewaters back up and running next spring — April 1.

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