UPPER PROVIDENCE — Red Robin came bob-bob-bobbin’ into its new nest at Providence Town Center on Monday.
Robins always build their nests with courtship in mind, and this bird was no exception, as the romance with Collegeville customers began the moment Red Robin Gourmet Burgers opened its doors at 11 a.m.
The hungry crowd poured in steadily, to be greeted by all the signature whimsical elements and some fine-spun touches that are new for the popular burger chain.
No fewer than four distinctive dining options await you at the corner eatery that flies high as a bird of a different feather in many ways for Allentown-based Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, Inc.
The warmly inviting main dining space sports the traditional Red Robin ambiance, accented with nostalgic prints of Hollywood icons — much like the old Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday decors, minus the Tiffany chandeliers.
At the opposite end of the restaurant you’ll find the bright and airy all-season room, with its stone facade, wood ceiling and walls splashed with a cheery shade of Colonial yellow.
The room — which is suitable for parties, banquets and large gatherings when needed — opens up to outdoor patio dining, which General Manager Frank Godwin predicts will be a big hit once the heat wave slacks off.
“This all-season room is completely unique for us and will be available for all kinds of events,” explained Godwin, a seasoned industry veteran who managed the Exeter Red Robin for the last six years. “We’re maturing the brand a little bit.”
Elegant details in that direction distinguish the spacious bar and dining area — off limits to anyone under 21 — set in the middle of the building and featuring a strikingly grand stone fireplace.
A brisk lunch trade, which was still booming by 2 p.m., kept the staff hustling in every inch of the restaurant on Monday.
The friendly crew of 193 had learned the ropes during a four-day test run of “mock services” that began last Thursday.
“We offered free meals to 900 people a day for four days,” Godwin recalled. “Through word of mouth and Facebook we were busy the whole time. The response was very positive. The food came out quick and hot, and nobody expected that because it was a training.”
The trial run raised nearly $5,000 in donations for the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Godwin noted.
Folks who stopped by over the weekend thinking the restaurant was open for business but declined to join the crowd were given coupons for free meals, said Godwin, who has chatted with many Red Robin first-timers in the last several days.
“A lot of people have seen the commercials but have never tasted our food before.”
What the uninitiated discovered was a menu crammed with all manner of chicken sandwiches, salads, entrees, appetizers and, of course, the signature burgers the chain is known for.
One of the most popular of the latter category is the Prime Chophouse Burger, a juicy gutbuster towering with meat, onion straws and sautéed mushrooms that will jolt your calorie-counting app with around 1,000 gratifying calories.
Perfect Steak fries — soft centers encased with crisp, golden shells — come with a promise of endless refills, potentially turning any casual outing into a Man vs. Food-style event.
As the company’s 20th restaurant opening in its 20th year of operation, the Collegeville arrival marks a milestone for Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, which launched its first Red Robin in Allentown in 1993.
Since then the company, which is a franchisee of Colorado-based Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., introduced a string of Red Robins in the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia and Harrisburg regions.
“We’re seeing people from Trooper, Collegeville and Trappe and as far as Souderton and Pottstown coming here,” Godwin said. “They’re thanking us for finally opening a Red Robin down here.”
Follow Gary Puleo on Twitter @Mustangman48.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
220 Plaza Drive