Jul 23, 2011 2:29 PM by Zachery Lashway (Great Falls)
For years, the corner Fox Farm Road at 10th Avenue South was home to Elmer's Pancake and Steak House; when it closed several years ago, the building briefly housed Monty's A Taste Of The West eatery.
But for the last three years, the building has sat empty.
In recent weeks, however, there's been quite a bit of activity at that location, as Baja Fresh Canyons Burger is preparing to open in several months.
Property owner Brett Haverlandt explained, "You'll walk in through the front door and there'll be two menus above the
counter on video screens and you can order from either one you like and sit wherever you like. As you walk in, to the left will be the family dining area and to the right will be the bar, full service area."
By day it'll be a fast-serve casual restaurant; you'll order at the counter and sit down, and by night it will be a full service table restaurant and you'll be greeted by a server.
Jesse O'Hara of Neighborhood Council #1 is pleased with the development and said, "Its been an eye-sore for a number of years now and it's going to be a very nice restaurant."
According to Haverlandt he purchased the property a year and a half ago to develop and lease to an IHOP franchisee.
He noted, "IHOP actually put a lot of due diligence into the property, spent about a year obtaining architectural permit fees."
But with a few glitches and the downturn in the economy, IHOP abandoned the plan, so in came the idea of Baja Fresh Canyons Burger.
Haverlandt said, "We plan to open on the first of October with everything going as scheduled, we have obtained a long term lease from the restaurant company, so hopefully - we'd like to see these folks here for another 20 years minimum."
With entrees ranging from fresh made-to-order burritos, tacos, and fajitas, to Black Angus burgers and fries, the new restaurant is expected to add about 50 jobs to the Great Falls economy.