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UPDATE: Remembering a Friendly Place

Branford’s Friendly’s Restaurant closed its doors for good yesterday.

Today WTNH reported that Branford’s closed its doors for good this month. A sign, they stated, posted on the door read: “"Thank you for your patronage. This restaurant has permanently closed." 

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.”

Nicole Ball January 09, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Comments Via Facebook: Lisa Kasperski: So sad.... ;( I will miss it very much! There is no resturaunt like!!! Are they closing in other states as well? Maggie Belbusti: Awful for the people that work there... they found out last night they lost their jobs...... Megan Claire Flaherty: Wow this is so tragic... Betsy Scales Rogers: Many fond memories! So sad. Denise Rock- DuBose: we were just there last week and frequented there very often!!! so sad because there aren't very many kid friendly restaurants around anymore besides Mcd's and such!!! & I feel very bad for the workers!!! Helen Golding: NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! my family loved it there! Hope the North Haven one stays around
Nicole Ball January 09, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I will have an update with a statement from Friendly's shortly.
Nicole Ball January 09, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Story Update: Friendly's has issued a statement regarding the closing of the Branford location and offered confirmation of openings and closings of their three restaurant locations in Branford. What was your favorite location?
Alana Joli Abbott January 09, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Oh, this is so disappointing! Friendly's was one of my favorite places to have lunch out with my daughter, especially on Wednesdays (with the $1.99 kids menu). We loved the staff there, too -- they were always so good with small children! I'm very sad to see them go.
Mary Grande January 10, 2012 at 01:27 AM
I am very sad. I will miss their hot fudge sundaes...(shhhh! don't tell certain employees at Ashley's Ice Cream)
Debra Kay Levi January 10, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Have Great Childhood memories of Friendlys! Song was its a Wonderful World filled with Friendly people Friendly People like you and me Thers a wonderful world fillef with friendly faces friendly Faces for all to SEE can I have a Chocolate Almond Chip IScream for Icecreme!! Title >for Friendlys 2012- The Friendlier Friendlies Healthfriendly Debra Kay Levi 1/09/2012
Debra Kay Levi January 10, 2012 at 05:03 AM
WANTED Alive Or Kicking> Is there a >>>Friendly Business Man that can reboot this business up to a different New! Ive got the title: The Friendlier Friendlies / Health Friendly With some originals available /// enough friendly fun for today!!!
LINDA GIAMMATTEI January 13, 2012 at 02:54 PM
WE HAVE LOST A LOT OF CHILD FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN TOWN OVER THE YEARS. FRIENDLY'S WAS A GREAT PLACE FOR KIDS TO ENJOY GOOD FOOD AND ICE CREAM. ALSO, THE GROUND ROUND WAS A GREAT PLACE TO GO AND ALSO THE FARM SHOP. THESE PLACES ARE SURELY MISSED.
Steve from SAAC January 13, 2012 at 05:17 PM
What a sad sight to see the closed Friendly's on Leetes Island Road. I enjoyed going there with my kids. I miss it.
Deirdre Salemme January 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM
We had lunch there the day before they closed and had now idea they were closing! We will definitely miss them! It was my favorite place to take my kids!
Deirdre Salemme January 16, 2012 at 05:24 PM
*no

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