Though it’s official that the business will not be re-opening, there’s still life inside 30 Leetes Island Road. A former employee answered the phone this morning and confirmed that the restaurant was closed since yesterday and would not be re-opening. All further questions about the restaurant were directed at Friendly’s corporate office. Branford Patch’s call was not immediately returned. Later company spokesperson Maura C. Tobias issued the following statement:
Since entering Chapter 11 in October 2011, the Company has sought to work with our landlords to restructure lease arrangements at locations where we believed rents did not reflect current market conditions and were significantly impacting the viability of underperforming restaurants. While we were able to successfully restructure lease agreements for a number of locations, unfortunately, we were unable to reach an acceptable agreement for Branford, Leetes Island Road. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to close this Friendly’s effective at the close of business on Sunday January 8th.
We regret that this decision has become necessary, and we appreciate the hard work and dedication of the Friendly’s employees and intend to accommodate as many as possible at nearby operating restaurants, where available.
New Haven Register reported this morning that Friendly’s locations in North Haven, Clinton and Wallingford were also closed. Friendly’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2011 with the intent to “restructure.”
According to Tobias the Friendly's at 30 Leetes Island Road opened its doors on Aug. 18, 1986. Tobias was also able to confirm that Branford had two other Friendly’s restaurant locations in town, which have also closed. The Friendly's at 445 West Main St., opened on June 9, 1986 and closed on Dec. 30, 1994; The Friendly's that used to be located where most recently was at 246 Main St., was in operation from Aug. 1, 1963 to April 23, 1995. Bix’s has also recently closed its doors.
Terrance Elton, head of the could not be reached for comment this morning.
Ed Lazarus President of said he was sad to hear the news of Branford’s Friendly’s closing. “I used to go to Friendly’s for dinner every Thursday night with my daughter,” he commented with a sigh. “I loved Friendly’s.”
The closing of local businesses is indicative of a slow-recovering economy, said Lazarus. “It’s very sad, every time a business closes. There’s movement forward but there’s going to be causalities along the way.” He added, “On a personal level, I always loved Friendly’s. It was the perfect place to get a large [ice cream] sundae after dinner.”