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New Burger King with 'garden grill interior' will open Monday in Harrison

Madasyn Czebiniak
| Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Scott Zambotti of West Penn Pro Wash cleans the parking lot at the new Burger King along Freeport Road in Harrison. The fast-food restaurant is set to open Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Scott Zambotti of West Penn Pro Wash cleans the parking lot at the new Burger King along Freeport Road in Harrison. The fast-food restaurant is set to open Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.

A Burger King restaurant along Freeport Road in Harrison is set to open Monday morning, a little less than a year after it was first approved by township commissioners, officials said.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 894 in Natrona Heights will conduct a flag raising ceremony there at 12:30 p.m.

“Hopefully, we can use the momentum and revenue generated by the recent development along Freeport Road to advance our efforts in rebuilding our community and usher in a period of sustained development,” said Lindsay Fraser, Harrison's zoning supervisor.

The 2,000-square-foot Burger King at 1513 Freeport Road is at the site of a former office building and car wash. It was developed by Boos Development Group Inc. of Clearwater, Fla., and is owned by TOMS King , a Burger King franchisee based in Chicago.

TOMS King owner Matt Carpenter said his franchise owns and operates seven Burger Kings in Pennsylvania and is in the process of developing more.

He said Harrison's Natrona Heights neighborhood was an ideal spot for a Burger King, based on a number of factors.

“We saw it as a vibrant community that was certainly underserved by Burger King,” he said. “The demographics, the population, the economics of the trade area all made sense for us to invest in building a restaurant there.”

The Burger King is one of only a few in the Alle-Kiski Valley. There is one in Harmar at 2799 Freeport Road, and another in Plum at 1901 Route 286, according to Burger King's website.

About 15 to 20 years ago, there were Burger Kings on Tarentum Bridge Road in New Kensington and along Freeport Road in Harrison, the Tribune-Review reported in November.

The new Burger King is actually next to a location that used to be a Burger King in Harrison, at 1509 Freeport Road.

“First it was a Winky's (Hamburgers) ... and then after it was Winky's it was something else,” Fraser said. “Then it was a Burger King, and then it was a Taco Bell, and then it was a different bank, and now it's a KeyBank.”

The Burger King features a double drive-through and is accessible from both Freeport Road and Idaho Avenue. It is the first of its kind in terms of design, Carpenter said.

The outside is a combination of stone and a stucco-like finish. The inside features a lot of wood and greenery, also known as a “garden grill interior,” and richer, warmer earth tones.

“This is the first of a brand new prototypical building for Burger King,” Carpenter said. “It's much smaller in overall square feet and number of seats.”

He said the reason for that has to do with the restaurant's drive-through services.

“A majority of our business happens through the drive-through,” Carpenter said.

As of Dec. 31, 2016, Restaurant Brands International, the indirect holding company for Burger King, owned or franchised a total of 15,738 Burger King restaurants in more than 100 countries and U.S. territories.

Of those restaurants, 15,667 were franchised and 71 were company-owned, the company said.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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