Where can you find Roy Rogers chicken? One day, you might find it in Burtonsville.
Next week, the Planning Board will review an application by Frederick-based hospitality company Plamondon Enterprises, Inc. to allow a drive-through restaurant at the Burtonsville Town Square shopping center on Route 198. Plamondon Enterprises, run by brothers Jim and Peter Plamondon, Jr, own the trademark and franchise system for Roy Rogers.
The Plamondon brothers' father, Peter Plamondon, Sr., helped develop the Roy Rogers concept while head of restaurants at Marriott in the 1960's. From one branch in Falls Church, the chain grew steadily throughout the 1970's and 80's, amassing 648 locations in the Mid-Atlantic and 200 in Greater Washington alone. Hardee's bought Roy Rogers in 1990 and converted some locations to their brand. They sold off the rest to Boston Market, Wendy's and McDonald's.
A few locations hung on before the Plamondon brothers bought the brand in 2002 and resumed adding new branches. Though the chain is much smaller than it used to be, there are currently 45 locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, 18 of which are operated by Plamondon. However, hungry East County residents must travel all the way to Gaithersburg, where the nearest Roy Rogers is located.
I've said before that Burtonsville's future is tied to its well-regarded restaurants, like Cuba de Ayer, Old Hickory Grille, and Soretti's. Roy Rogers may be a fast-food joint, but it enjoys a substantial following here in the D.C. area. Fast-food expert Sherry Daye Scott told the Washington Post in 2005 that chains with a regional following, like In-N-Out Burger in California, are often the most successful. And that bodes well for Burtonsville.
This isn't a done deal, however. Burtonsville Town Square was originally approved with sit-down restaurants only, which is why Plamondon Enterprises will have to ask the Planning Board for a special exception. Though if they don't receive one, they could also build a restaurant without a drive-through like the Chick-Fil-A on Tech Road.
A Roy Rogers in Burtonsville may not have the same impact as some of the other improvements proposed for Burtonsville's ailing village center, but it's good news nonetheless. I try not to eat a lot of fast food, but I look forward to having Roy's burgers and fried chicken in my backyard once again.
Post-script: Growing up in downtown Silver Spring, I would beg my mother to take me to the Roy Rogers at Georgia Avenue and Blair Road, which is now a KFC. I also remember ones at New Hampshire Avenue and Lockwood Drive in White Oak and at Briggs Chaney Plaza, which are now both McDonald's. Who remembers any other Roy Rogers locations?
A resounding YES! This would definitely bring (at least my) commerce to Burtonsville. I remember one in Wheaton near Georgia and Blueridge. It turned into a Hardees, then I think a Danny's Subs/burgers/bad chinese at some point, now I think it's a Pollo Campero
Roy Rogers = great fried chicken!
I used to go to the Roy Rogers at Viers Mill and Randolph Roads. It's now a Macdonalds. Loved to be able to help myself at the fixin's bar. Heaps of pickles on my burgers!
I used to go to the one at New Hampshire & Lockwood, oh so many years ago. IIRC, there was one at Randolph & Georgia (on the site currently occupied by a Capital One branch) and University & Rt 29 (re-branded to Hardee's, now a McDonald's). I loved their fried chicken, especially dipped into that (artificially) smoky BBQ sauce. I've been to the Gaithersburg one a couple times, and wasn't impressed. When it comes to fast food chicken, Popeye's has spoiled me for anything else.
Not surprised to hear that the Town Center might get fast food, because there's a stand-alone parcel by the National Drive entrance which looked specifically designed for a drive-through place. I had expected the KFC/Taco Bell to reappear there!
Hmm. I'm wondering if Burtonsville Crossing could be saved by focusing on food, like the strip mall in Maple Lawn on Johns Hopkins Rd? It's all food service except for a nice liquor store and an Exxon on the outparcel. Granted, there's a captive lunch audience (it's right next to the APL complexes and there's a shuttle that runs to the shopping center), but those restaurants are also busy at night and on the weekends. It's even less visible from Rt 29 than Burtonsville Crossing is, too. I would love it if some existing restaurants with awkward access or cramped parking could relocate there. (I'm looking at you, Pho Real)
I remember several:
- In Kensington, at Univ Blvd and University. Spot currently occupied by Savannah restaurant.
- White Flint, at Marinelli and Rockville Pike. Currently occupied by McDonalds.
I think food service is the way to go for Burtonsville Crossing (and for those vacancies at Burtonsville Town Square, IMO). Create a compelling atmosphere that draws people for a nice meal or some drinks and make a night out of it. Outdoor seating would be nice too - there don't seem to be a lot of places in Burtonsville where you can do it.
Housing at Burtonsville Crossing (as proposed in the draft Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan) and filling up the empty space in the office park would help build a customer base for some restaurants there.
I grew up near the Roy Rogers at Georgia Ave. and Blair Rd. I'd almost forgotten that the KFC there now used to be a Roys. My favorite Roy Rogers though was the one at Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, MD. The burgers were always juicy with a little pink left in them and the brownies were moist and delicious. Whenever I am in Alexandria, VA, I stop by the Roys on Belleview Ave. or the one on Richmond Highway, both near Mt. Vernon.
I am thrilled to have Roy Rogers back!! We have been going up to Frederick to eat there. My family found one in NYC across from Penn Station!!
Well, the new Roy Rogers in Burtonsville has been open for almost four weeks now and the place is packed every time I go. I don't think I've ever seen a more successful fast food opening. I live in White Oak and used to go to the Gaithersburg outlet about once a month and I expect to go to the Burtonsville outlet even more often...if the lines ever shorten.
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