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Red Robin to open at Providence Town Center (Times Herald)

May 9th, 2013
The Times Herald
By Gary Puleo, gpuleo@timesherald.com
Posted: Monday, 05/06/13 06:51 pm
Collegeville Groundbreaking Ceremony Speakers and Lobar Associates
Standing with the Red Robin mascot at a groundbreaking for the restaurant on May 2 are Jamie Smith, vice president of design build services and senior estimator for Lobar Associates; Gerald Nau, CEO of Lafayette Bank; Jim Ryan, CEO of Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, Inc.; David Waterman, executive vice president of Brandolini Property Management, Inc.; Philip Barker, Upper Providence Township Board of Supervisors Chairman. (Submitted Photo)

UPPER PROVIDENCE — A Red Robin will be bob-bob-bobbin’ into town this summer at Providence Town Center in Collegeville.

It will be the first Red Robin restaurant in Montgomery County for Allentown-based Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group Inc., which owns and operates a string of Red Robin restaurants covering the Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre regions.“

As our CEO Jim Ryan says, we always look for home run sites, and in everyone’s opinion the Collegeville location is a home run site,” said Patricia Sobaru, senior manager of marketing with LVRG, which battled TGI Fridays for the prime spot near Wegmans.“We were able to convince the township to give us a shot,” Sobaru said. “We definitely thought the area was growing and is something we wanted to be part of.”

Those who, in turn, would like to be a part of Red Robin are invited to apply for all restaurant positions May 13 through May 18, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Courtyard Marriott, 600 Campus Drive, Collegeville, across from Providence Town Center.

The Collegeville arrival marks a Red Robin milestone for the company that opened its first restaurant in Allentown in 1993.

When the eatery famous for its burgers and “bottomless” fries opens in Upper Providence Township on July 15 it will mark the 20th franchise in Lehigh Valley Restaurant Groups’s 20th year of operation.

This Red Robin is a bird of a different feather in other ways as well for the firm, which is a franchisee of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.

“This is not a typical restaurant for us,” Sobaru said. “Normally we build a location from the ground up, but with this we’re kind of retrofitting the inside of the building. Most of our restaurant buildings are cookie cutter where we can make slight modifications. This is a very customized restaurant, completely different from any other Red Robin restaurant, because it’s in a complex that was already built, where they were looking for tenants after the fact.”

Featuring a fireplace and an all-seasons patio that connects to a meeting room, the restaurant will be the largest Red Robin in the area, Sobaru noted.

Filling a long vacant spot next to Eastern Mountain Sports on the Main Street section of the sprawling $200 million 80-acre lifestyle center off Routes 422 and 29, Red Robin nudges developer Brandolini Companies into 66 percent occupancy for Phase 2 of development.

As the four-year-old center has rebounded gradually from a slumping economy, Berwyn-based Brandolini reports that the center is now approaching 90 percent occupancy overall.

Red Robin will join the ranks of the casual dining Providence Town Center elite, which includes Olive Garden, P.F. Chang’s, Champps, Firebirds Restaurant, Tio Juan’s Margarita Mexican Restaurant and Kumo Bistro, plus a handful of “quick serve” eateries such as Elevation Burger, Zoup, Qdoba, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Zoe’s Kitchen, Kiwi Yogurt and The Lite Choice.

“I strongly believe the variety of dining options is important for customers of Providence Town Center, as well as the long term success of the center,” said David Waterman, executive vice president of Brandolini Property Management, Inc. “The cinema (Movie Tavern) which also sells food to customers while watching a movie increases the center’s exposure because it’s the first Cinema Bistro concept to open in the Philadelphia designated market area, and furthermore, a cinema increases the supportability of a wide variety of Restaurants in the project.”