Buffalo Wild Wings sending staff west during delays

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Buffalo Wild Wings is sending employees to other locations for training, store manager Andrew Schuett said.
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Buffalo Wild Wings is sending employees to other locations for training, store manager Andrew Schuett said.

While Buffalo Wild Wings awaits final approval from the Suffolk County Health Department, store manager Andrew Schuett said on Friday that some employees have been assigned to other locations in the meantime for training.

“We’ve placed as many as we could,” he said, adding that the Route 58 franchise, located in a shopping center just east of Riverhead Raceway, has “lost a couple” of workers because of the delay. “The ones who could travel we sent to other stores for training and some of them have gotten shifts out of it.”

The nearest Buffalo Wild Wings is in Centereach, roughly a 30-minute drive. Other locations are in Bay Shore, North Babylon, and Farmingdale.

The restaurant had originally been scheduled to open on Dec. 9, 2013, though the day came and went without any explanation from the restaurant as to what was causing the delays.

Meanwhile, the restaurant’s neighbors in the plaza — Dick’s Sporting Goods, Aldi, Christmas Tree Shops and Five Below — are all operating despite the fact they also haven’t received final approval, said Grace Kelly-McGovern, public relations director for the Suffolk County Department of Health Services said Friday. The owner has incurred a $10,000 fine for doing so, she said.* RiverheadLocal originally reported the cause of the delay on Thursday evening.

Charles Cuddy, the attorney for the shopping plaza’s developer — Saber-Riverhead LLC — said that while Saber is hooked into the sewer system, it has to get sewer flow estimates to the county before it can get final approval. Though when that could be remains a mystery.

In a phone call made Friday afternoon to the shopping center’s developer, Susan Burke with Saber-Riverhead LLC said she didn’t think it was “really anybody’s business” when the company plans to submit final documentation to the health department.

“We really would rather not have any comment on this because we don’t know,” she went on to say, referring a reporter to Mr. Cuddy.

Unlike the other stores in the plaza, executives at Buffalo Wild Wings have chosen not to open the Riverhead location until everything is “100 percent right,” Mr. Schuett said.

A phone call made to the restaurant’s corporate offices in Minneapolis requesting comment Friday afternoon wasn’t immediately returned.

Ms. Kelly-McGovern said it’s her understanding that once the final documentation for Buffalo Wild Wings is submitted by the shopping center’s owner, the restaurant will be able to open right away.

“As soon as we get those papers they’ll be good to go,” she said. “I don’t know from their point of view what could be holding them up.”

While they wait for the process to finish up, Mr. Schuett he and other workers are spending their time at the casual eatery “doing paperwork and making sure all our ‘t’s’ and ‘i’s’ are crossed.”

“We feel bad for the community,” Mr. Schuett said of the delay. “Every day we get calls.”

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*Note: The county previously reported that each retailer had been fined $10,000, though later clarified that the parcel owner as a whole had been fined $10,000.