BONVILLE — Fat Les’s has expanded again — into mini-golf.
True to their word, the operators of Eastern Ontario’s ninth Fat Les’s location in Bonville have revived the disused mini-putt attraction that came with the property when they acquired the site last fall. Revitalized with new obstacles and new putting surfaces, the 18-hole course off Highway 138 went back into service Saturday, June 5. Meanwhile, the mini-putt’s registration barn — located behind the main chip stand — has been upgraded with an ice cream counter featuring Reid’s Dairy products as well as sandwiches and pizza slices. A new patio is situated outside the ice cream shop — currently taped off until Ontario eases pandemic patio restrictions.
Enjoying a brew on the patio is part of the planned mix as well, with an application already submitted to license it, says Fat Les’s founder Les Winters.
“We’ve had a few reservations already,” says Winters, looking over the greens and admitting he “never expected to be a mini-putt guy” when he got into the chip stand business 15 years ago. Winters is a partner in the Bonville site with Jamie Scharf of Finch, Fat Les’s first franchisee. Scharf and his wife, Carrie, opened their Fat Les’s Finch location — featuring the founder’s award-winning poutine — in 2017.
“Hopefully, it’ll be busy as heck,” says Scharf of the new attraction.
Scharf also sees potential for a future drive-in theatre on the 10-acre site, eyeing a back field with the space for it.
Since the opening of the main chip stand last fall, the Bonville establishment has definitely filled a niche in the community, which otherwise found itself beyond the delivery bounds of many Cornwall restaurants, according to Winters. “Nobody was delivering food to this area,” he asserts, adding the new Fat Les’s delivers not only to the surrounding village, but out to Apple Hill, Cornwall, Long Sault and Monkland as well.
With nine permanent Fat Las’s locations plus four itinerant sites — chip trucks or rented arena locations — Winters concedes that being in the take-out food business has been good during the pandemic. “I’ve seen the best start to my year, ever,” he says, when asked about growing a business during these COVID-19 times. Three new Fat Les’s franchises are currently in development, he reports, including locations in Manotick and Bell’s Corners. “I’ve also got guys looking at it in Cardinal and Iroquois.”