FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 15, 2022
Contact: Audrey Schwartzberg, ANCA Communications Officer, (518) 891-6200,
New Owners Take the Helm at Iconic Belvedere Restaurant Property
Ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on July 20
Saranac Lake, N.Y. — The Belvedere Restaurant property — a Saranac Lake landmark that has been
owned and operated by the Cavallo Family for nearly 90 years — has transitioned to new ownership.
Representing the next generation of forward-looking local entrepreneurs, Chrissie Wais and John Levy
have taken the helm at the historic business.
The ownership transition marks a new chapter for the Belvedere, which originally served as a boarding
house before the restaurant opened in 1933. To commemorate the occasion, the new owners, the
Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce (SLACC) and the Adirondack North Country Association
(ANCA) and the Center for Businesses in Transition (CBIT), invite the community for a ribbon cutting
ceremony and “Business After Hours” event on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the
“I know this community really well. I’ve lived here and worked in hospitality since 2002. Front of
the house, back of the house, opening previous restaurants as both an owner and chef, and then starting
a food and beverage consulting business,” said Levy.
Even though the current economic environment with high inflation was not in his original projections,
Levy said “the timing was right to do something like this.” Levy has made updates to the restaurant’s
offerings including weekly specials, an upgraded menu, a new point of sale system and additional staff.
The couple sees significant opportunities for growth due to the property’s adjoining acreage, proximity
to the new rail trail and easy access to outdoor experiences and downtown events.
Previously unknown to each other, they came together thanks to a mutual friend and established a
business model that maintains their independence and utilizes their strengths. Levy owns and operates
the restaurant, and Wais owns and manages the property.
Wais said she has loved hospitality ever since her first job serving snacks at the Enchanted Forest Water
Safari in Old Forge at age 15. In her career in fundraising, she has appreciated the important role
restaurants play in “bringing people together in special ways.”
“When I decided to relocate full time to the area in 2020 and started looking at properties, I was looking
for options that represented an active part of the community I loved, where I grew up spending my
summers hiking, fishing, canoeing, camping and, of course, eating. This seemed like a perfect fit,” Wais
Over the last two years, Wais and Levy accessed local business support services and resources through
SLACC and CBIT, including matchmaking opportunities that connect aspiring business owners with
available businesses. SLACC Executive Director Rachel Karp is one of 13 CBIT community liaisons across
the North Country who are trained to support businesses through the ownership transition process.
“SLACC has been supportive beyond all expectations,” said Wais. “Our community is lucky to have a
vibrant, active chamber under Rachel’s capable leadership.”
“The Chamber is proud to support business ownership transitions and continue our collaboration with
ANCA and the Center for Businesses in Transition,” said Karp. “This program and the resources it
provides are supporting businesses in many ways and truly having a positive impact. We are excited to
celebrate Chrissie and John, their hard work and their bright future with the Saranac Lake community.”
“People don’t often see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a business transition,” said ANCA
Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper. “Chrissie and John have already put two years of work and capital
into this venture.” She said the two have worked hard to develop their respective business plans,
navigate state and local agencies, create a professional services team, access licensing, secure financing
“ANCA, the Center for Businesses in Transition and our partners look forward to sharing more success
stories like the Belvedere’s,” Cooper said. “And we continue to work together to develop opportunities
that empower new business owners and reduce barriers to purchasing an existing business.”
Other local connections inspired Wais and Levy to pursue the business venture. Terry Kent, a former Lake
Placid resident and Olympian who worked with Wais at Cornell University, introduced her to Lee Keet, a
long-time advocate for the development of the rail trail from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake. Keet’s insight
about the multi-use recreational trail and its economic potential for local businesses helped Wais and
Levy develop forward-thinking business plans.
“The rail trail will be a game changer for downtown businesses,” said Keet, who has long touted the
economic benefits of rail trails for local economies. “John and Chrissie are in a great position to lead the
Belvedere during this exciting time for Saranac Lake businesses. I look forward to gathering there with
friends and family for years to come and watching how this business develops along the way.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the Belvedere Restaurant at 102 Bloomingdale Avenue,
Saranac Lake on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event, which is part of SLACC’s
Business After Hours series, is open to the public.
Attendees are encouraged to register for planning purposes at www.slareachamber.org or
Attached: one (1) PDF and one (1) photo
Photo: Chrissie Wais and John Levy are the new owners of the Belvedere Property and Restaurant in
The Center for Businesses in Transition partnership includes the following organizations:
ANCA is an independent nonprofit organization growing the New Economy in northern New York. Using an
integrated approach to sustainable economic development and prosperity where economic health, community
vitality and ecological stewardship are equally important outcomes, ANCA focuses on creating opportunity for
people with diverse backgrounds, experience and education levels.
The Adirondack Economic Development Corporation Inc. (AEDC) is a not-for-profit economic development
corporation. AEDC was formed in 1976 as a cooperative effort of community leaders from towns in the northern
Adirondacks to reduce traditionally higher than average levels of unemployment and to expand employment
opportunities for the residents of the region. The AEDC’s mission is to foster the growth of North Country
communities through support for existing and new small businesses.
The Essex County Industrial Development Agency’s (ECIDA) mission is to create a viable business environment that
will attract compatible and diverse sustainable economic development opportunities focusing on major assets,
retention/expansion and attraction projects for public benefit to encourage business development and advance job
opportunities, health, general prosperity and economic conditions to improve the standard of living and quality of
life. They can provide assistance to eligible projects; financing, economic incentives, assistance with local regulatory
agencies and building and site location assistance.
The Franklin County Economic Development exists to improve the quality of life in the Franklin County region by
supporting economic growth, employment and community development. FCED offers a broad range of services to
help local businesses expand and succeed. From loans and tax incentives, to technical assistance, to buildings and
business parks, we’re here to help grow local business.
Hamilton County Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Hamilton County Industrial
Development Agency (HCIDA): HCIDA assists with the general prosperity and economic welfare of the citizens of
Hamilton County. The primary objective of the agency is to encourage and foster entrepreneurial activity, business
expansion and job creation. The Economic Development and Tourism Department advocates, promotes and helps
to improve the quality of life in our communities both for our residents and our visitors. We help to foster the
development of healthy businesses and institutions through marketing, networking, promotion, business
assistance and outreach.
Lewis County Economic Development and IDA, as a one-stop-shop, work together as the central office to provide
business assistance and new business development in Lewis County, NY. The agency works locally and regionally to
enhance business opportunities, help create jobs and maintain economic stability within Lewis County. Through the
Naturally Lewis brand, we promote Lewis County as the ‘natural choice’ to live, work and do business.
The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, Inc. plays a pivotal role in strengthening and maintaining the
economic health of St. Lawrence County. The mission of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce is to
cultivate, develop and support Chamber members and other businesses by creating a vibrant business climate that
encourages growth and enhances the unique quality of life in St. Lawrence County.
The Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce (SLACC) acts as a catalyst for business and community development
in the Greater Saranac Lake Area. SLACC provides services for its membership and generates economic
development with promotional and marketing strategies.
The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) is a non-profit organization that serves, markets and
promotes the Ticonderoga Area including Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Hague, Moriah and Putnam, NY. TACC serves
as the areas Business and Visitor Center. TACC’s Mission is to initiate and provide programs, services and leadership
which will enhance a cooperative business community and create a vibrant economy, making the Ticonderoga Area
an exceptional place to live, work and visit. TACC’s Vision is to be the leading advocate for business, serving as a
driving force in the economic vitality of the greater Ticonderoga Area, uniting communities and maximizing
resources. TACC’s key areas of focus include: membership, business, tourism, communication, leadership and
The SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is part of a statewide network of business assistance
centers supported by the State University of New York and the Small Business Administration. The New York State
SBDC (NY SBDC) is accredited by America’s Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC). The SBDC is charged with
assisting North Country entrepreneurs, small business, and industry through advising, training, and research.
Additionally, the SBDC provides needed services to manufacturers, women, veterans, minority, and physically
challenged individuals, or on businesses impacting distressed and targeted areas. Counseling services are free and
The Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce (GWNC) is a membership organization with over
100 years of experience working to strengthen business and enhance the community in the Greater Watertown –
North Country region. Since its establishment in 1903, the chamber has grown to become the largest business
association in the North Country. They represent businesses of varying sizes and industries, helping them to drive
growth and make meaningful connections.