November 27, 2014


Elyria Friendly’s restaurant closes

The Friendly's on East Broad Street closed for good after breakfast on Monday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

The Friendly’s on East Broad Street closed for good after breakfast on Monday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA – Friendly’s on East Broad Street has closed, along with two other “under-performing” restaurants in Ohio, according to a company spokeswoman.

The restaurant at 204 East Broad St. was closed, along with restaurants in Sandusky and Defiance. Apex Eagle Hospitality, Inc., a franchisee who owns and operates 19 Friendly’s restaurants in Ohio, announced the closures on Sunday, according to a news release.

The company said the restaurants closed their doors Sunday, but the Elyria Friendly’s did not close until after breakfast on Monday.

“We’re disappointed to announce the closing of three of our Friendly’s restaurants. Unfortunately, the restaurants that are closing have been under-performing for quite some time, and despite our best efforts to turn them around, we were unable to improve their performance,” said Dan DiGiambattista and Kerry Janke, Principals of Apex Eagle Hospitality, Inc., in a news release. “Moving forward, we hope to re-engage customers that were previously visiting the restaurants that were affected by this closing, by having them dine at one of our 16 remaining Friendly’s restaurants in Ohio.”

Apex Eagle Hospitality, Inc. has been a Friendly’s franchisee since 2005. It will continue to own and operate 16 Friendly’s locations in Ohio, and Friendly’s employees who were affected by the closing of the Elyria, Sandusky and Defiance restaurants, have been offered jobs at nearby Friendly’s locations, according to the company.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.


  • Mark B

    Ate breakfast there once and everything was so greasy you could hardly eat it , never went back

  • stop ur whining

    just another death of an elyira business. entire city has turned to junk. sad really

    • Alan Pugh

      Of course, Cascade Cafe and Sambino’s are two thriving local restaurants in Elyria, so perhaps instead of insulting the entire city, perhaps we could see the opportunity this creates for local business as opposed to corporate chains.

      • stop ur whining

        i live in a city that has no chain restaurants and often frequent privately owned establishments so we are clear. secondly Sambino’s is not a restaurant, it is a pizza delivery. Cascade Cafe, i will give them prop’s, they have lasted a lot longer than i thought they would. I have never seen it with more than three people in it, but i am not in town enough to notice. Finally i bet i can name 10 restaurants that have closed in Elyria faster than you can name 5 that are “thriving”.

        • Alan Pugh

          Good on you and the others in your city for supporting local shops.

          My point is that Elyria has a lot of opportunities, not because I’m looking through rose colored glasses, but rather *because* of the struggles it has seen. Retail space is dirt cheap downtown and elsewhere and there are many “niche” markets that could be well-served locally by the right businessperson.

          Chain shops get shut down for “underperforming.” Often this doesn’t mean they’re losing money, but rather that they’re not making enough. What they’re making would often be plenty for a local businessperson, so it’s worthwhile to pursue an investment in the city if you have something people want.

          • stop ur whining

            yea i get the whole buy at rock bottom pricing and am all in favor of elyria trying to hit the “reset” button and turn it around. I for one hope they do, but i believe the thinking is backwards. what elyria needs is safe streets and great schools to pull in new residents…with the new residents you get business to set up shop. In order to get those new residents you need to raise taxes to flood your streets with police to take out the trash and then sink every last penny you have into your schools. Then, and only then can elyria crawl out of the doldrums.

          • elyrian64

            Elyria has good schools I went there, my kids went there and now my grandchildren go there so you can get a very good education through Elyria Schools. The EPD are working on the safe streets it is the judges who put the scum back out on the street with barely a smack on the hand. Your Disqus sure is an appropriate name for you….stop ur whining.

          • stop ur whining

            Good school? The states last report card on the Elyria Schools gave them one A, four C’s, two D’s and 2 F’s. One D was given for number of students that passed the state testing, a C is for how well they did on those tests, a F for closing the gap academically between minorities and the other F is for number of “gifted” students. Apparently our definitions on good differ greatly. I also worked at Elyria High and saw first hand the “good” education that you are talking about.

            As for crime, Elyria has received a very high crime rating. The numbers from 2011. Over 1400 thefts, Over 700 burglaries, and neither include car theft, or robberies.

            You are out of touch i am afraid. Elyria schools were alright in the 60′s but have steadily declined and currently i would never contemplate sending my kids to Elyria Schools. They would be in private schools if i was in Elyria.

            Thanks for playing, next time i suggest doing a smidgen of research. Numbers do not lie.

          • elyrian64

            I also worked for Elyria Schools and saw first hand the good work they do. You need to take in the socio-economical background to understand the grades the schools were given you can’t compare Elyria, Bay Village, Avon or Avon Lake totally different areas so far as economical backgrounds and privledges. I noticed you aren’t living in Elyria so I would say YOU are out of touch with the schools. It is probably negative people like you who give the school system the bad reputation. Also I have researched and I know for a fact “Liars can figure and figures can lie.” I would say the worst problem with Elyria Schools would be the overload of administrators it certainly is not in the local buildings.

          • ken

            eye whent two elyria scools and lok ho stupd iye tunrt owt

          • Alan Pugh

            I’m all about paying more taxes and increasing police presence with the caveat that they continue behaving like officers in a tight community and not becoming too aggressive. It’s tough to pass new taxes without a lot of jobs, so we’re running into that Catch 22, but I definitely see where you’re coming from, and I’m glad we’re both hoping for the best.

            I’m not always an optimist but I think we’re on the upswing, even if it may take awhile.

          • stop ur whining

            yea, it is a tough sell to your citizens. You basically are selling them on the future and that rarely works. I hope Elyria can rebound and I think it will. Closing all the downtown bars was a good start. But i see a long recovery, very long.

          • david davey

            The high property taxes probably drove everyone out. You have stone age ideas.

          • stop ur whining

            no, the lack of good schools, the increase in crime is what drove people out.

          • FoodForThought63

            More local shops probably shut down though due to underperformance than chain shops. I will patronize a local establishment over a chain typically, but when a place like Carlisle Cafe gives me terrible service I assure you I will not go back. Chain or small & local, you have got to win people over with good service. Most of the Friendly’s servers were nice, and I often went there due to the good service. Not sure if it was the area of town or what, but sad they had to shut down.

          • Alan Pugh

            Sadly, I think it might be location… it was definitely plopped in the middle of a somewhat residential neighborhood. Despite my love for all things local, I had been there for the nostalgia of early dates with my significant other, and my experiences were always great as well.

            I’d agree that service is key. The hotdog place that opened earlier this year and already shut down was a great example. I posted something on their Facebook about how they shut down one day without notice and how it was frustrating, and instead of apologizing, they basically told me to deal with it then deleted the post. That’s part of the reason they’re no longer around.

            Good service is the cost of admission for a successful local shop and I hope we get the right people investing to make downtown better.

          • Joe Sandor

            Elyria has a lot of opportunities because there are lots of vacant buildings and businesses due to closings. Why else would/could you state that properties are “dirt cheap” downtown and elsewhere? In a thriving community, property would be expensive. Would you want to invest in a business downtown with the clientèle and the crime?

          • Alan Pugh

            I’m actually looking into an investment in a downtown storefront right now, so yes. Everyone likes to go on about crime but this is no better or worse than any other town where I’ve lived. I can walk downtown pretty much anytime and not feel like I need protection. There’s some homeless folks, some folks struggling with addiction, but that’s a symptom, not a root of the problem.

            Dirt cheap means ripe for investment. Did you know Detroit is the fastest growing tech hub in the United States right now? Affordability is key in this economy, and we have it in spades. It’s all about positioning.

          • Joe Sandor

            DOWNTOWN Detroit is good for investment, not Detroit in general. There is a small area of approx 5/8-square-miles where big business is investing and condos are being built, but the remainder of Detroit is blight-poverty-desolation.

          • Alan Pugh

            That investment in downtown has spawned major initiatives throughout the city to tear down vacant homes and create additional greenspace. Community parks are popping up all over town and property values are starting to bounce back. It has to start somewhere.

            It almost sounds like you WANT the city to fail.

        • nick

          I heard Outback is coming to town in the old Friday’s; is this true?

          • stop ur whining

            heck if i know, but i was out at trashway mall last weekend and i can tell you this much…outback can come, and it will go. that entire area is junk. the mall has a taxidermy store in at and a church…i was completely taken back. It is well on its way to being a flea market. they should push the bad element around the high school and downtown and relocate all of it there. Put wilks villa there too. Then clean up downtown and make it an outdoor mall area like crocker park. After all, that is what it used to be back in the day.

          • Vern

            No. Just read that a group is opening a restaurant called “Midway Diner” at the old Friday’s. The owner owns several other restaurants in NE Ohio.

      • ken

        Sambino’s WAS good but now they cut way back on their toppings and almost NO sauce. I don’t go there anymore. I want a good pizza with sauce and toppings!

        • Alan Pugh

          I had it for the first time just a few months ago, so I don’t have a comparison. That said, I dropped the regional chain that I was in love with after trying Sambino’s. Thoughts on the best local pizza spot?

          • Peter Aldrich

            In Elyria? None I’m in love with, though Harry Buffalo makes a good pie, but many don’t know they offer. Wolfey’s is pretty good and consistent. I go to Wellington to THE PIZZA HOUSE or Ridgeville to OUR PLACE for the best pizza around

          • Bill

            Non chain, Lou’s in Grafton. Chain restaurant, Romeo’s Chestnut Common’s.

  • stargazer2012

    Apex Eagle Hospitality, Inc. has been a Friendly’s franchisee since 2005 – In this case, I hope that the building just doesn’t sit there and decay and become another eyesore for Elyria. It’s needs to be torn down and returned to green space.

    • FoodForThought63

      I disagree-it would be nice for someone to reopen it as something else. That is a busy corner-I wouldn’t want my kids playing there and it isn’t exactly nice scenery for a park.

  • Scott Poledna

    I am very sorry for the employees….they had a very nice group of people working at the resturant.

  • Sarah Boesger

    I agree with those who are trying to see the positive. That would be a great spot for a community garden.

  • William Mitchell

    My father, rest in peace, use to take me here when I was younger.. I’m really sad about seeing this place close.. a lot of good memories of me and him going here..

  • Bill

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see EMH/University buy the property.

  • K Gi

    Anyone able to confirm the rumor that they closed this Friendly’s to move it to Amherst?

    • Mary Kathleen Donovan Springow

      That would be great! I’d definitely patronize it! It’s way closer!

  • Kim

    This restaurant was not very clean!

  • Mary Kathleen Donovan Springow

    I’m so sad about this! My family loved going there! When my husband was hospitalized 17 years ago, I “broke” him out of the hospital and wheeled him down there for a malt! We still laugh about it! And my children LOVED going there! Good luck to the people who were working there. This is a rough time to be out of work, right before the holidays!

    AVI food services in the ford plant in Avon lake is wanting to hire 2 people. Go online to AVI food systems to fill out application or if you’re interested let me know and I’ll pass it on!

    • rudepplsuck

      That is really nice of you! So many negative comments that people leave, it is refreshing to see someone leave a comment that is actually trying to help others.

  • ZX3

    In the last 20 years the 2 worst meals I’ve had were both at Friendly’s.
    Lorain, long gone, and Elyria.
    You bet I told others.
    The Elyria location is a great one, lots of traffic.
    I hope someone fills the space.

  • GreatRedeemer

    That place was a dump. The last time I was there the carpet was filthy and pulling up, the paint was pealing and ceiling tiles broken. No standards whatsoever.

  • arap2012

    That’s funny, I live in Sandusky and its still open. We just received coupons in the mail for them yesterday. I wouldn’t be surprised if does close though due to the higher prices, small portions, and poor service as well as the MANY different restaurants that are on The Strip (Rt. 250).

  • Beth Horne Crossan

    This company took over in 2005? It badly needed a facelift at that time. They didn’t do it. If it had been cleaned up, it would probably not have been UNDERPERFORMING. It’s in a great location right across from the hospital. I can remember the lobby being loaded with people waiting to get in after sports games.

    • Tim

      Apex Eagle just bought the Elyria and Sandusky locations in 2012. They officially took over ownership Oct 1, 2012 and I can say that no or hardly any money was put into the locations and for whom ever was the spokesperson to say they tried to turn the Elyria location around is false. They only gave it 1 year. I was told from a very close and reliable source that more or less the locations would be closed with in a year.

  • Tammy Alexander Battaglia

    It was WAY over priced, so it doesn’t surprise me that it went under.

  • melissa Kelley-Zaenglein

    They probably would have had better cash flow if the darn place was bigger! Gonna miss it tho.. my husband and I would meet there as a halfway home from work stop … well thank you for the year’s

  • Cookie Johnson

    Sandusky and Defiance Ohio locations closed too…