A new-look Friendly’s restaurant will open its doors to customers at the Foxmoor Shopping Center in mid-April.
The eatery, located at 1031 Washington Boulevard on the border between Hamilton and Robbinsville, closed on Jan. 8 due to a burst pipe. The subsequent water damage was so extensive that the seating area of the restaurant required a complete renovation, according to a release from Friendly’s announcing the re-opening. The kitchen was not affected by the accident.
“Along with bringing its tasty comfort food and frozen treats back to the neighborhood, the restaurant will also be bringing many new jobs to the area,” the restaurant’s statement said. “Friendly’s thanks the community for its patience and continued support while it undergoes an extensive renovation.”
Friendly’s has been a mainstay in the Foxmoor Shopping Center for 15 years, surviving despite increasing vacancies in the center and growing dissatisfaction of business owners with their landlord. Foxmoor Shopping Center lost its anchor, a Thriftway grocery store, in November 2011. In December 2015, Friendly’s franchisee Lee Paroly estimated that traffic to his restaurant decreased by roughly 20 percent since Thriftway shut its doors.
Still, the restaurant weathered the plaza’s decline by ingraining itself in the Robbinsville community. It hosted events like car cruise nights and benefits for local nonprofits.
And now, as fresh-look Friendly’s enters a new era, so does the shopping center around it.
In late 2015, developer Foxmoor Associates, LLC/Pettinaro Companies handed ownership of Foxmoor Shopping Center over to its bank, entering the plaza into foreclosure. In February, U.S. Bank stepped in to purchase the 19-acre plaza for $100, removing Pettinaro and the court system removing from the equation.
A new trust was established, with current property manager Colliers International staying on to handle the property. Robbinsville Township officials said last month it planned to work with U.S. Bank to develop a marketing campaign aimed at securing a buyer and developer for the center.