The Friendly’s restaurant in the Brandywine Town Center is closing, James Phipps’ post in the Take Back Claymont group on Facebook read, and the first two responses were simply “Wow” and “Whatttttt.”
The news was confirmed an hour later by Betty Baudoux. “I stopped there tonight … [and wished] the hostess n waitress well. They told me n a friend they were closing due to staffing problems. Nobody wants to work. Can you believe it. What’s wrong with this country?”
The restaurant’s last day, according to the thread, is Friday, June 16.
DelawareLive.com called the restaurant and did not receive a call back. Management of the shopping center referred queries to the restaurant. An email to the public relations agency listed on Friendly’s corporate site bounced back. An email to JAMCO Interests – the private equity group that is the majority owner of Amici Partners Group, which owns Friendly’s – was not immediately returned.
“Friendly’s has gone through a number of ups and downs throughout the chain’s lengthy history, from lawsuits to family feuds and two bankruptcy filings,” Insider reported in 2020. “At the chain’s height, there were 850 Friendly’s restaurants in the United States. Now, there are just 138 restaurants remaining.”
Now there are even fewer. A map on FriendlysRestaurants.com lists only about 30, all in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The map lists locations in the Dove Run Shopping Center near Middletown, Lantana Square near Hockessin and Peoples Plaza near Glasgow. There used to be Friendly’s locations on Kirkwood Highway and in Concord Mall. The Friendly’s on Route 896 in Newark closed early in 2022, delawareonline.com reported.
The closure is surprising news for the Brandywine Town Center, which has generated intense interest over the last few months over redevelopment plans.
The center draws crowds to some stores, like Target and Lowe’s, but less to smaller tenants. The latest plans call for adding seven buildings, housing seven or more tenants, around a smaller pond. The community building and the playground will move, among other changes.
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