Freddy’s Frozen Custard eyes Birmingham site

There had been talk about a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers restaurant moving into the old Friendly’s location in the Painters Crossing shopping center, but that’s not happening. Instead, the restaurant is looking at a spot on Route 202 at the intersection of Old Wilmington Pike in Birmingham Township.

Stephen DiMarco holds the franchise, and he said the Chadds Ford site just wasn’t as good as he first thought. So DiMarco, who has a Freddy’s on Sproul Road in Broomall and who also owns Penn Oaks Country Club, is keeping things closer to home. The Route 202 location is pretty much just across 202 from the country club.

He called the site — where there is also a bank and an office building — “a perfect location for Freddy’s.”

Birmingham Township supervisors held a conditional use hearing for the restaurant prior to the start of their Feb. 1 meeting. In 2005, they granted approval for a gas station at the site, and the hearing was needed to get approval for a change of use, according to attorney Mark Thompson.

If the use, and later the land development plan are approved, the gas station convenience store building would be demolished and a new structure erected.

DiMarco described Freddy’s as a 1950’s throwback style of family restaurant that’s “good for kids.” He compared Freddy’s — a chain that started in the Midwest — to Applebee’s and TGI Fridays, but without the alcohol. It’s also similar to Ruby’s, he said, but Freddy’s isn’t open for breakfast.

If approved, the 3,300-square-foot restaurant would be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. A drive-through is planned for the building and that would keep the same hours as the indoor service.

Christy Mobile, who lives on Fawcett Drive, requested and was granted party status for the hearing. She expressed concerns about noise and lighting from the restaurant. She said a previous business at the site, a bar, caused problems, especially with noise.

DiMarco said he would abide by township code, and work with Mobile, to prevent any such problems.

Food and supplies would be delivered on site after 8:30 a.m. and before 9 a.m., so there would be no early morning noise from trucks, nor would deliveries interfere with patrons.

Also, any music on the site would be inside and wouldn’t be loud, DiMarco said, adding that the music has to be quiet enough so that patrons can have conversations while eating.

Matthew Bush, an engineer on the project, said the gas pump canopy lighting would be replaced with lighting that is permitted by township code.

Bush acknowledged that the township Planning Commission had recommended denial because of a perceived problem with traffic flow on the property, but Bush said that issue was addressed with revisions to the plan.

The building will be moved back a few feet, and there will be internal signage directing traffic, he said.

Supervisors have up to 45 days to render the decision, but will likely do so during their March 7 meeting.

Other business

The board awarded the township’s 2016 road program to Innovative Construction Services of Folcroft. Innovative was the lowest of three bidders, with a total bid of $220,000.

Other bidders included AF Damon Inc. with a bid of $270,000, and Dan Malloy Paving, whose bid exceeded $300,000.

Township engineer Jim Hatfield said all three have done road programs in Birmingham in the past and are all excellent and reputable companies, but Innovative’s bid was better than the township’s estimate for the work.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



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