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Five area Friendly’s close doors

Company cites lease negotiations as catalyst for closures

Friendly’s Chairman and CEO Harsha V. Adagi revealed to customers at the Central Avenue restaurant in December 2010 the company’s plan to use the Capital District as a test market for new menu items. The company is now closing several restaurants.

Friendly’s Chairman and CEO Harsha V. Adagi revealed to customers at the Central Avenue restaurant in December 2010 the company’s plan to use the Capital District as a test market for new menu items. The company is now closing several restaurants. Photo by Andrew Beam.

— There are still several Capital District restaurants open, including Route 146 in Clifton Park, Route 50 in Saratoga Springs, Route 4 in East Greenbush and Hoosick Street in Troy.

In December 2010, Friendly’s announced the greater Capital District would serve as a test market for significant upgrades and improvements to its brand through the “Empire State Project.” Friendly’s initiative called for an investment of nearly $2 million into its 17 locations throughout the area. Also, new menus were introduced at area restaurants featuring several “health conscious” selections, according to the company.

Friendly’s, formerly known just simply as “Friendly,” first opened up shop in 1935 in Springfield, Mass. at the peak of the Great Depression. The original shop was opened by the Blake brothers, 20-year-old Prestley and 18-year-old Curtis, offering double-dip cones for 5 cents. The first food item offered on the ice cream menu was a hamburger.

In 1979, The Blake’s sold Friendly to Hershey Foods Corporation. Eleven years later, Donald N. Smith purchased Friendly, with the “s” being added to the name in 1989. An affiliate of Sun Capital partners, Inc., acquired the company in 2007 and 2011 marked the 75th anniversary of the company.

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