ST. PAULS — There was no shortage of customers Tuesday for the grand opening of the Hardee’s that closed nearly three months ago because of a fire.
Cars lined up at the drive-through as the char-broiled burgers were again being served, and business was brisk during the noon hour inside as well.
Across the county, plans continue to reopen a second Hardee’s restaurant that was also closed because of a fire, but its return is months away. BLD Brands owns both restaurants.
The St. Pauls and Big Marsh fire departments responded to the grease fire at the Hardee’s at 507 W. Broad St. in St. Pauls on Christmas Day. Rapid response time and a fire suppression system in the restaurant are credited for the minimal damage done to the building, according to Chris Jackson, assistant fire chief for the St. Pauls Fire Department. No one was injured.
Barely two weeks later, a second Hardee’s, located at 317 W. Third St. in Pembroke, fell victim to two fires in a single day.
The Pembroke Hardee’s location caught fire about 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 5. The fire was declared extinguished in less than 90 minutes. The fire reignited about five hours later, and this time it destroyed the structure.
The demolition process on the site has been completed and the design phase of the project has begun, according to Andy Gale, CEO and chief financial officer of BLD Brands.
“There are several approved Hardee’s floor plans and we are working to select the best floor plans based on the site and needs of the Pembroke market,” Gale said Monday.
There is a lot of paperwork that must be done before a definitive date can be given, said Town Clerk Amira Hunt. For now the town is waiting on the design plans.
“The next step is to review plans for the new building,” Hunt said.
Gale said he doesn’t anticipate the restaurant will reopen until at least the winter.
“We expect the project will take six to eights months to complete,” Gale said. “We hope to be releasing bids in the next several weeks and get the store built and opened as quickly as possible.”
The cause of the Pembroke Hardee’s fire remains undetermined. No one was injured.
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