Spartanburg County’s first new Fuddruckers restaurant in more than three decades could open in Duncan by the end of September.
Local franchisees Lee Ann and Allen Johnston, who opened their flagship Fuddruckers at 1509 John B. White Sr. Blvd. in 1985, said they have signed a lease on the former Denny’s restaurant at 1515 Highway 290.
The couple plans to renovate the building, which has sat vacant since the location shuttered in 2011, for a store that will seat about 150 diners and create between 40 and 60 jobs.
“We are very excited about it,” said Allen Johnston. “We think it’s going to do great at lunch and during the weekends, especially with Tyger River Park nearby.”
Ben Hines, principal of Spencer Hines Properties in Spartanburg, said he is part of a group that will buy the property and lease the building to the Johnstons.
Hines said the site is under contract and he anticipates closing on the property in July.
“They are great people and we’re happy to have them,” Hines said. “We’ve been working on this for a while, and it’s great to be close to the finish line.”
The Johnstons own eight Fuddruckers restaurants in three states through their company, The Butcher-The Baker Management Co. Those stores are in Spartanburg, Greenville, Anderson, Greer, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Matthews, N.C., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Allen Johnston said the couple hasn’t opened a new Fuddruckers since 2005.
He said the store will be smaller and more streamlined than a traditional Fuddruckers. By comparison, the couple’s Spartanburg store can seat about 275 diners.
“This is our first new one in quite some time,” he said. “If this new smaller footprint works out, we are going to look to open more.”
The Johnstons, who also own a handful of Bojangles’ stores through their franchise company Chix and Bix LLC, said they are close to launching construction of their new Bojangles’ restaurant at 1605 Highway 290 just down the street from the Fuddruckers site.
That store is also anticipated to open in September and will create between 60 and 70 jobs, Allen Johnston said.
Hines said two other parties are interested in building on property adjacent to the future Fuddruckers site, but those plans are still in the works.