Friendly's Restaurant Closes

MANCHESTER -- After 37 years of business on Depot Street, the Manchester Friendly's restaurant closed on Sunday, June 23.

"It's devastating, but times are changing," said Steve Nichols, selectboard member and former Guest Experience Manager, for six years, of the Manchester Friendlys.

When asked if the 4,307 square-foot restaurant had been purchasedby a party, Maura Tobias, Director of Brand Engagement at Friendly's, said in an email that she had no further information that she was able to share.

According to the Manchester Town Clerk's office, no official paperwork had been filed on the purchase or selling of the building as of press time.

As to the reason why the restaurant has closed and been purchased, Tobias it was "an underperforming restaurant," but declined to elaborate.

"On Thursdays, more often than not, we were the only table in there," said Frank Sutton, owner of Sutton's Place on School Street, "but Wednesdays had a decent turnout because of their dinner specials."

Sutton mentioned that they had heard about the other Friendly's closing in other areas, and they "saw the writing on the wall."

"It's always a tough business decision to close a restaurant," said Tobias, in an email. "However, we are happy to report that we have offered employment to all existing employees, and can tell you that as of now a few have elected to work at other area Friendly's restaurants."

"I don't know where they are going," Nichols said. "They're going to different locations... but they've been recommended to Friendly's first." Nichols was unsure how many of the employees have been picked up by other locations.

"We would always go there as kids, in Middle School," said former Manchester resident Lauren Read. "It was a good hangout for kids... we could go there alone and pay for our own dinner... and now it's an area that they can't go to anymore. It's really too bad."

Sutton was a frequent visitor to Friendly's, finding time every Thursday morning to meet with a group of eight-or-so friends over breakfast.

"It gave a really nice atmosphere," he said. "We would often prolong our breakfast for about an hour and a half socializing... we'll go to other places, but we will miss Friendly's."


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