NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — The tourism season in Niagara Falls is approaching, and some businesses are hoping for a busy summer and a fresh restart. Third Street Retreat Eatery & Pub is finally reopening, after being closed for two years during the pandemic.

Owner Emory Weber is done putting his business on hold. Weber, along with the help of his girlfriend, Natasha Goutova, are getting the business back up and running. The restaurant, located on Rainbow Boulevard in the Falls, has a soft reopening this Friday.

“Because tourism is about to commence, and we’ve been closed for two years — that’s a long time,” Goutova, a Canadian resident, said. “There’s still overhead even though the restaurant is closed. You’re still paying rent, you’re still paying utilities, you’re still a business, you still have a presence in people’s minds and in the city, so it’s about time.”

“We also have a lot of locals, like tenants and stuff, here in the building as well, that come down. All great patrons and friends, so I’m looking forward to being able to be open for them again,” Weber said.

Now that there’s fewer restrictions on border travel and on businesses, Weber said he’s able to focus more on growing the restaurant.

“It just seemed like the right time. We’re, you know, getting ready for summer, want to be prepared for the June, July, August months,” he said. “Just kind of getting a feel for everything, getting things in place and getting ready to go,”

Weber is expecting to see more customers and tourists from Canada since people no longer need a negative COVID-19 test to cross the border. That requirement was lifted on April 1. Travelers still need to be up to date on their vaccinations to cross back and forth between the two countries.

The restaurant is still in need of staff and are looking to hire workers for all roles.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.