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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

No More Wattamelon Roll? Friendly's Announces Bankruptcy

Posted by on Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 8:32 AM

Friendly's is better than IHOP. Friendly's is better than Marie Callender. Friendly's has the Fishamajig sandwich and the Fribble shake and the Jim Dandy sundae. Friendly's French fries are fat, crinkly, and potatoey, like the frozen ones in a bag. Friendly's has the Wattamelon Roll ice cream, and the clown ice cream cone. Friendly's glasses flare to very fat at the top. IT IS FRIENDLY. (Yes, it is also a little sticky.) Its slogan is "Where Ice Cream Makes the Meal."

Now it is declaring bankruptcy.

Friendly's was one of two restaurants in my town growing up. These were the two restaurants we went to, period. My town was East Greenbush, New York. The other restaurant was Ponderosa Steak House.

My parents chose Ponderosa as the location at which to tell me they were getting divorced.

I love Friendly's.


Comments (29) RSS

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Posted by Bethany Jean Clement on October 5, 2011 at 8:34 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
Never heard of this place. Can it be found outside of the northeast?
Posted by Matt from Denver on October 5, 2011 at 8:37 AM · Report this
Based in and ubiquitous in New England, with stores in the NE and Middle Atlantic states as well.
Their original burger (in the '70's and earlier was on toasted bread. Greasy with lots of mayo...delicious!
Posted by Mayonnaise delivery vehicle on October 5, 2011 at 8:45 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 4
Matt: No.

It should be noted that they're not bankrupt bankrupt, though. More like United Airlines bankrupt. They're not going anywhere.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on October 5, 2011 at 8:46 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 5
And I still miss HoJo's, too. For whatever that's worth.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on October 5, 2011 at 8:48 AM · Report this
I'm pretty sure there was a Friendly's in Lansing, Michigan when I was growing up.
Posted by AKTheresa on October 5, 2011 at 8:55 AM · Report this
Ouch. Does this mean Zonker is unemployed yet again?

(The Doonsbury cartoon character and former competitive sun tanner has been working at McFriendly's for the last few years.)
Posted by TechBear on October 5, 2011 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Friendly's was my first real job. The polyester blue and white plaid dress uniform we had to wear was wretched. I was a fountain girl (aka ice cream bitch). I worked there in the late '80s at the one on Delaware Ave. in Albany, NY (it's been boarded up for decades now).
Posted by xina on October 5, 2011 at 9:04 AM · Report this
We spent an inordinate amount of time at Friendly's my first few years of college in Erie, PA. It was cheap enough for a college student's budget, and they had ice cream.

When Eat 'n' Park came to town though, we kind of abandoned Friendly's. I feel partially responsible for its bankruptcy.
Posted by Sheryl on October 5, 2011 at 9:22 AM · Report this
Banjax 10
I loved Friendly's. Past tense. It absolutely owned in the 60s and 70s (geezer here). It was the New England Norman-Rockwell-perfect chain that everyone's nostalgic for.
Then Hershey's bought the place and the slide began, until last time I went, a couple years ago, you could barely distinguish it from Denny's. The only thing that remained was the branding.
They earned their bankruptcy the lazy-greedy-corporate old-fashioned way.
Posted by Banjax on October 5, 2011 at 9:23 AM · Report this
Bauhaus I 11
I used to hit the long-since-closed one on Concord Ave. in Cambridge every now and then. It was next door to a hospital where I worked. There was more than one occasion when someone from the eating disorder unit would chew through their IV lines and head over for some ice cream. And as I remember, this Friendly's had pretty good coffee.
Posted by Bauhaus I on October 5, 2011 at 9:28 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 12
My mom waited tables at the Friendly's in Troy, New York (the one in the Troy Plaza if there were two in Troy.) The waitress had to pay for a table's meal if she forgot to offer free refills on the drinks. I hope whoever thought of that policy get set on fire. Their food was always mediocre and their ice cream wasn't as good as the stuff at Stewarts.

(Yo Upstaters, remember Stewarts Maple Walnut?)
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on October 5, 2011 at 9:29 AM · Report this
NotSean 13
I've been to Friendly's a few times, in a few places, and though I can relax and enjoy a greasy spoon from time to time, I have never enjoyed a Friendly's meal. Blech.
Posted by NotSean on October 5, 2011 at 9:30 AM · Report this
stinkbug 14
Friendly's was decent. Malted milk shakes ftw.

The one closest to where I grew up was fairly small space wise but managed to get lots of tables/seats in there. I guess those were the days before people were jumbo and needed tons of booth space.

There was also one inside a mall at another city. That always seemed a bit odd, I guess mostly because there was no wall between the interior of Friendly's and the interior of the mall. To a little kid that just felt odd.

Posted by stinkbug on October 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM · Report this
Rotten666 15
Loved Friendly's. Horrible service, terrible food, and awesome ice cream.

Also, a surprising amount of retarded people dining there on a regular basis. Short buses full of them.

I knew when the Lindenhurst branch was converted into a 7-11 things weren't going so well.
Posted by Rotten666 on October 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM · Report this
Yeah, Friendly's was a big part of my childhood. When my parents took us kids out for a "family dinner out" in the 1960s, it was at Friendly's at the shopping center on Freshpond Parkway in Cambridge, near Arlington, MA. @3 and @10 have it just right. Though it was a chain, it was a soda-fountain eat-at-the-counter chain, not a generic fast-burger chain. Their hamburgers were cut into square patties and served on toast and the meat had enough fat in the grind that the burger juices soaked into the toast a little and was just amazingly wonderful, at least when I was nine years old. It was so disappointing to return to New England and find that by the late-80s Friendly's had morphed into a genericMcDonalds, with standard dried-out patties on stale round buns, just like anywhere else.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on October 5, 2011 at 10:13 AM · Report this
Wow, lots of upstaters here. My family lived right near the Saratoga Springs one- can't remember the food, but do remember getting the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sundae every single time we went. So good.
Posted by Gaydolf Titler on October 5, 2011 at 10:25 AM · Report this
Westlake, son! 18
I love it when they throw extra Reese's Pieces in the bottom of a cone head sundae. I've eaten in them from Maine to Maryland. Yum.
Posted by Westlake, son! on October 5, 2011 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 19
I only went to one Friendly's while I was in New York.

There was shit on the floor near one of the booths. A little pile of shit, like someone just decided that was the bathroom right there. I left before ordering anything. Never been to a Friendly's since.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on October 5, 2011 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 20
i had forgotten Friendly's and Ponderosa existed.
Posted by Max Solomon on October 5, 2011 at 11:00 AM · Report this
stinkbug 21
Where is the love for Perkins?
Posted by stinkbug on October 5, 2011 at 11:05 AM · Report this
toxicmommy 22
i grew up in trenton, new jersey and have so many fond memories of friendly's!! sad
Posted by toxicmommy on October 5, 2011 at 11:25 AM · Report this
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on October 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM · Report this
My favorite Friendly's was in Northampton MA. I actually did like those burgers-on-toast, specifically because the bread would get soggy with burger grease and juices.

Fun as it was, it wasn't as cool as the 24-hour Dunkin Donuts in Northampton. That's where I stole a DD-logo coffee cup at 3am one night. Nearly 40 years later, I still have that cup.
Posted by N in Seattle on October 5, 2011 at 11:47 AM · Report this
@4: So the Friendly's logo hedge on the Mass Pike is safe?…
Posted by d.p. on October 5, 2011 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Okay, that picture comes up a lot larger at…
Posted by d.p. on October 5, 2011 at 12:17 PM · Report this
My family used to go to Friendly's for lunch every Sunday after church. It was better back then than it is now - I don't know what posessed them to change their chicken finger recipe - but I will still be very sad if it goes out of business.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on October 5, 2011 at 4:03 PM · Report this
Friendly's in small town VT was the all-ages scene. It was the only place open past 9pm for kids to go. Mine was on Rt. 7 in Bennington, close to all the up-staters here.
Posted by hossiekins on October 5, 2011 at 8:24 PM · Report this
I grew up just outside Saratoga, NY and have the same sentiments. It was our family place to go. With four kids to take care of, my parents couldn't afford much else. We loved it, and this news makes me sad.
Posted by Trishues on October 5, 2011 at 9:55 PM · Report this

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