By MIKE WILLIAMS
The big day has finally arrived.
Fazoli’s at 4416 Cleburne Boulevard in Dublin has opened.
Tuesday was the first day of operations for the quick-serve Italian restaurant. Tuesday’s opening was one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the county.
On Monday, local business and government leaders and others were treated to a ribbon cutting ceremony and complimentary dinner by the restaurant staff and ownership.
The event was hosted by the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce and President Bill Cunningham.
“There’s so much excitement in the community to welcome you guys,” said Laura Walters, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors Chairman.
Walters recognized Young and Associates as one of the county’s exceptional business partners.
“When Shoney was unable to stay open due to the pandemic, instead of just leaving and going away Brian Spencer of Young and Associates helped find Fazoli’s – another good fit for our community – and that’s going the extra mile and we really, really appreciate it. Our county and towns are lucky to have ya’ll.”
Also, Walters noted, the owners of the restaurant continue to support the county.
“They donated the land for our Visitor’s Center,” Walters stated. “I’m not sure they ever really were officially thanked for that, so thank you.”
She also thanked the company for being such great partners and working with Pulaski County Public Schools through the CTE program.
Robert Murphy, franchise consultant for Fazoli’s, recognized the staff and management at the restaurant, and shared some information on Fazoli’s.
Murphy said the Dublin location represents the first-ever Fazoli’s created from a former Shoney’s.
“And they did a great job,” he said.
The Dublin restaurant is the 159th franchise Fazoli’s that’s opened around the country, Murphy said.
“We also have 57 corporate locations for 216 restaurants nationwide,” he added.
“We are America’s largest quick-serve Italian restaurant chain in the U.S. We had a very good year last year and are looking forward to another big one this year.”
Murphy introduced several Fazoli’s employees who traveled to Dublin to work with the local restaurant staff to get Fazoli’s open here. They came in from cities such as Indianapolis, Indiana and Dayton, Ohio.
“I congratulate CCCKY – Kevin Young and Brian Spencer – it’s been a pleasure working with you guys for the last few months getting the restaurant open,” Murphy said.
Spencer, whose Young and Associates operates Shoney’s and Bojangles restaurants – and now Fazoli’s – across the Southwest Virginia and Northeastern Tennessee regions, said the company has been serving food in Southwest Virginia for 52 years.
He noted the opening of Fazoli’s in Dublin brings the third generation of the Young family into the restaurant business.
“It’s a wonderful family owned operation, and because it’s family owned and family oriented, we are now excited about the additional 50 members of our family. All of you have done such a great job,” he said to the restaurant staff.
“I used to be on a county board of supervisors and ya’ll have a great county administrator. It’s been a pleasure working with [Pulaski County Administrator] Jonathan (Sweet). He’s done such a great job. He’s gone over and above helping me. The county has been there every step of the way. You’re lucky to have him,” Spencer said.
“When COVID hit it was hard,” Spencer said, explaining the closing of Shoney’s. “You had to wear gloves and masks. And we needed to close this location and we hated it. But we were committed to Pulaski County. We prayed and we talked about it for almost 12 months, and we found the company – Fazoli’s. We love the company, and we hope you will love the company because they are family oriented.”
Dublin’s new Fazoli’s will be open Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Fazoli’s was founded in 1988 in Lexington, Ky.
The Dublin Fazoli’s is the second location in Virginia. The other is in Chesapeake.