BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – This spring, the Fort Madison area will be home to one of Burlington’s most iconic eateries.
Chase Gibb, the owner of The Buffalo Tavern on Burlington’s south side, announced today that he has purchased Chandler’s Bar and Grill on the west end of Fort Madison and has plans to open under the new name The Buffalo Bar and Grille by St. Patrick’s Day.
He said he had heard the location might be for sale about four months ago and about 10 days ago a group of people with the ownership group showed up at The Buffalo in Burlington for lunch and a conversation took place that resulted in Gibb agreeing to the location.
“The timing is right with the ownership group and a couple of them expressed interest in talking to me about it, and actually, they just showed up for lunch and we had a good conversation,” Gibb said Thursday afternoon.
Gibb said he’s purchasing the property outright and won’t be leasing or renting.
“We plan to take over on March 1, but I want to point out that Chandler’s will still be open and serving customers until that transition date,” Gibb said.
He said he has a proven record of success in Burlington with the menu and environment he provides and will bring that same menu to the Fort Madison location.
“We have a menu that’s proven successful here in Burlington and we’re going to bring that to Fort Madison. We’ve won awards for our tenderloin locally and our tenderloin was named a Top 5 tenderloin in the state by the Iowa Pork Producers. We’ve got steaks, prime rib, boneless wings, and tacos that we’re bringing to Fort Madison. We’ll probably do the tacos on Monday like we do up here.”
Gibb’s operations were also singled out with a Distinction Award from the Greater Burlington Partnership in 2015.
Gibb said he thinks the two entities can be similar in offerings and programming because of their proximity to each other, but he does have some upgrades in mind.
“I’ve been pricing some big screens because we’ll need some TVs in there and we’ll probably redo a lot of the upholstery and some updates like that,” Gibb said. “We may have to close down for a week to get some of that stuff done and get the signs changed, but I’m going to work with a pretty hefty budget there.”
He said he would need to change the awning out front and is going to check with city code once the operation is up and running, to see about possibly getting outdoor seating somewhere on the property, possibly the south side.
Lunch delivery and catering are also on the agenda for Gibb. He said the location is a prime spot as Fort Madison continues to develop, and with the bypass access close by as are many of the city’s industrial partners and the hospital.
The tavern in Burlington is a very popular hang out for happy hour and Gibb said he plans on holding the same happy hour offerings in Fort Madison.
He also said he’s met with the current staff at Chandler’s and will be keeping the staff in place and will probably, at some point, be adding staff after the re-opening.
The restaurant will have the same sports bar environment but he said families are welcome. Gibb said he plans on the restaurant being open til midnight during the week and 1 a.m. on the weekend with food available during all hours.