- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—For the first time in 42 years, there will not be a restaurant at 564 Susquehanna Blvd. in West Hazleton.

The Friendly’s Restaurant that occupied the building for approximately 25 years closed Sunday night.

A sign in the window of the restaurant read: “Thank you for your patronage. This restaurant has permanently closed. Please join us at the Friendly’s in Wilkes-Barre.”

The large sign in front of the restaurant has been dismantled and the telephone number was disconnected.

The company did not offer a reason for the closing.

There were people in the restaurant Monday who turned out to be workers cleaning up the building to shut it down.

The restaurant opened in 1973 — roughly the same time the Laurel Mall opened its doors for the first time — as an Elby’s Big Boy restaurant. There was a large statue of the Big Boy in front of the restaurant.

In the late 1970s, the restaurant became a Franklin’s Family Restaurant.

While it was Franklin’s, it became a popular place for people to congregate because the restaurant had a coffee counter in the front and stayed open 24 hours on weekends.

During that time, the restaurant expanded as about 25 seats were added.

In the early 1990s, Friendly’s bought the restaurant, the coffee counter was removed and the restaurant began to sell ice cream cakes and related ice cream products.

There are several restaurants between the Hazleton Park Shopping Center and Interstate 81. The only other restaurant to close in that area was Ground Round about six years ago.

Friendly’s is a chain that was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1935. Today, there are approximately 500 restaurants in the northeastern and Atlantic states, according to its website.

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