Friendly's rebirth in Albany

It's not every day you enter a Friendly's restaurant and are handed $1,000 just for being there, but one customer at the restaurant's Central Avenue location got a bit of a surprise Monday, Dec. 6, when the CEO of the company was in town.

Friendly's Chairman and CEO Harsha V. Agadi was joined by Mayor Jerry Jennings and Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce Mark Eagan to kick off the new face of Friendly's, which includes a new menu and an investment of $2 million in the 17 Capital Region stores.

We have a new breakfast menu, we have a new lunch and dinner menu as well as an ice cream menu, Agadi announced. "It still has some of our classic old favorites, carrying on for 75 years, but it also has some new items including some healthy items."

Some of the new items that will be available include an Asian salad and a Mediterranean salad, healthy items that will complement the calorie-heavy ice cream, skillets, Belgian waffles, and soups and sandwiches.

Agadi said his company chose the Capital District as the test market because it is one of the few areas that has weathered the recession better than others.

"The Capital Region in our opinion represents the best combination of America," he said. "In our stores that we run, from Maine to Florida, we thought we should start with the Capital Region as the leading edge."

Agadi said the establishment serves at least a million customers a year ,and Friendly's revenues are around $750,000.

Jennings talked about the importance of the Central Avenue corridor in Albany and how much investment has been brought to the area. Agadi and Jennings both hinted at possible new Friendly's sites in the area that might be built.

"My feeling is, they [Friendly's] deliver a great product. It's fun to be here, families love to come here, and it's something we all should continue to support," Jennings said.

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