Tuesday, January 27, 2009

wendy's brings the neighborhood to fast food

Can a fast-food restaurant contribute to a "Main Street" feel? Usually not. As stand-alone buildings with big parking lots, burger joints are better suited for the side of a highway. Last year, Greater Greater Washington lamented that pedestrians aren't welcome in most local fast-food places after their dining rooms close and orders are only taken from the drive-through window.

But the Planning Board staff says differently in their recommendation to green-light a new Wendy's at Randolph Road and Vital Way in Colesville on a site previously approved for an office building four years ago. Unlike the rest of Colesville's strip-mall-dominated commercial district, Vital Way is classified as a "Main Street" for the community, with plans calling for street trees, sidewalks, on-street parking and tight building setbacks. It's an attempt to return a small-town, pedestrian-friendly feel to an area that long ago succumbed to suburban development.

The Vital Way elevation - the side that most visitors coming on foot or by car will see - is mostly a blank wall.
The Colesville Wendy's will be pushed close to the street, with parking in back. (Vital Way is at the bottom, Randolph Road at left.)

In response, DavCo restaurants - the people who brought you Wendy's - has pushed the restaurant as close to the street as possible, with a patio for outdoor dining. All of the off-street parking has been put behind the building, along with the drive-through. While the site plan is unorthodox, DavCo wants to use their standard design for the restaurant itself, meaning that the "front" is along Randolph Road, and pedestrians along Vital Way will see a largely blank wall. It's not perfect, and some might say the proposed office building might be a better fit given East County's dearth of well-paying jobs, but a new Wendy's could be a nice addition to Colesville, at least for fellow aficionados of their delicious Chicken Club sandwich.

But if you're waiting to try out their new breakfast menu, you'd better head over to their other East County locations in Briggs Chaney, Wheaton and Calverton: this Wendy's won't open until 10 a.m.

1 comment:

Thomas Hardman said...

I bet this new Wendy's winds up being staffed by the exact same people that make most of the area Wendy's such total ratholes.

Don't get me wrong, I think Wendy's has a great menu. But their staff mostly consists of one very large extended family from somewhere in Central America, and they like to play Soup Nazi, if you remember that episode of Seinfeld. When I start seeing someone who isn't from that very large family working at an area Wendy's, I might go back past there again. But I'll be damned if I'm going to do business with american-hating foreign racists.