For the first time since its inception a half-century ago, Anderson's Frozen Custard will be hawking its famous cones, beef-on-weck and other fast-food fare in Buffalo.
A restaurant will open in mid-February at Delaware Consumer Square between Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Delta Sonic Car Wash. Dennis Van Patten, a previous owner of three area McDonald's restaurants, has purchased the second Anderson's franchise. The first franchise opened seven months ago in North Tonawanda.
Van Patten recently signed a 20-year lease with Benderson Development Co., the owner of Delaware Consumer Square, which is situated between Hertel and Hinman avenues. The 3,700-square-foot restaurant will have indoor seating for 78 people and will have an outdoor patio. It will employ 40 people at peak season.
Van Patten decided to pursue the franchise less than a year after he sold his McDonald's outlets.
"Frankly, I got a little bored with retirement," he said. "I heard about Anderson's decision to franchise and met with their people. It seemed like a pretty good match."
Several sites were considered, including locations in the Southtowns. After studying the demographics and traffic patterns in North Buffalo, Van Patten was sold on Delaware Consumer Square.
"It's a home run -- the best location in the city, as far as I'm concerned," he said. "It's right in the middle of a big residential base, and it's on a well-traveled street."
Van Patten decided to open in the dead of winter so staffers can contend with operational glitches during the slowest time of the year. He already has hired his management team and will begin hiring other employees in about two weeks.
The menu will mirror the food that Anderson's has been serving at its other locations. Beef-on-weck, homemade ice cream and its signature frozen custard are expected to be swift sellers.
The seeds for the thriving Anderson's business were planted in 1946 when Carl and Greta Anderson opened a small custard shop in New York City.
In 1953, Anderson's opened its first stand at 2235 Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda. A second location opened in 1989 at 6075 Main St. in Amherst, followed five years later by an opening at 3724 Union Road in Cheektowaga.
Last year, Anderson's decided to venture into franchising, hoping to expand the firm without overextending itself by opening more company-owned stores. The first franchise debuted in May at 537 Division St. in North Tonawanda.
Kirk Wildermuth, president of Anderson Management Associates, said the company hopes to open two additional franchises in the coming year.
"We have another one planned in Lockport, and we hope to sell a third franchise this summer," he said.
Within three to four years, Anderson's aims to have 10 franchised units in the Buffalo region. In the long term, there are plans to sell franchises outside Western New York.