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Jul 20, 2017 3:34 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Friendly's To Close Soon; Building Listed For Sale

The building that houses the Friendly's in Hampton Bays is for sale. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Jul 25, 2017 5:47 PM

The Friendly’s in Hampton Bays will serve up its last scoop of ice cream before month’s end.

Citing rising rent and a lack of business, franchise owner Joe Vitrano—the exclusive Friendly’s franchisee in both Nassau and Suffolk counties—said last week that he intends to close his restaurant, which opened its doors on West Montauk Highway in 2006, before the end of July—though he declined to offer an exact date.

“We’ve run it really well, but for some odd reason the traffic isn’t there, to tell you the truth,” said Mr. Vitrano on July 20, later adding that the location would be closing in about two weeks. He is a franchise owner with J&B Restaurant Partners of Long Island LLC, though he declined to disclose how many locations he now operates.

Rumors of the restaurant’s pending closure were confirmed when the property owner, Joseph Malvasio of Florida, according to town records, had a large wooden sign installed outside the business reading, “Commercial Property For Sale/Lease By Owner.”

Gary Moore of Baldwin, who has the listing for the commercially zoned 3-acre property, declined to share the price for the parcel, and refused to share lease rates.

Likewise, Mr. Vitrano declined to say how much rent for the building has gone up, offering only that his most recent five-year lease is coming to an end.

The news did not come as a surprise to restaurant regulars, many of whom noted the recent disappearance of the large ice cream freezer that once stood near the eatery’s entrance. Also, waitstaff had also dropped hints to their customers in recent weeks.

Anne and Jerry Murphy, longtime residents of Hampton Bays who visited the Friendly’s at least once a month, said this week that they were disappointed during a recent visit to learn from an employee that the restaurant known most for its signature ice cream brand would be closing for good.

“I was sad,” Ms. Murphy said. “I was sorry to see them go. We don’t have much like this in Hampton Bays.

“I loved Friendly’s burgers,” she added.

Ms. Murphy also lamented the loss of yet another eatery in her hometown, pointing out that the nearby Hampton Bays Diner closed for good almost two years earlier. The owners of the former diner, Frank and Maria Vlahadamis of Hampton Bays, closed after filing for bankruptcy, according to court documents.

News that the Hampton Bays Friendly’s will soon be history came as somewhat of a surprise: Two years earlier, the location survived a round of closures across Long Island when seven groups operating under the J&B umbrella filed for bankruptcy protection. The Friendly’s in Hampton Bays is the solo location closing this time, Mr. Vitrano said.

Established in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1935, Friendly’s has hundreds of restaurants along the Eastern Seaboard, from Maine to Florida.

Ms. Murphy said she hopes that a new business occupies the Friendly’s soon, noting that the diner building is still vacant and there are still a number of empty spaces in the shopping center across the street. “I feel like this is just another establishment closing and nothing is opening,” she said.

While it is unclear if the building’s owner has any potential businesses lined up, at least one thing is for certain:

“It will not be a Friendly’s,” Mr. Vitrano said.

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> "...the lease increased every five years...."

Welcome to The Hamptons!

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jul 20, 17 4:21 PM
Are you suggesting that a rent increase after 5 years is somehow unfair? if so, wow. I'd love to rent something from you.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Jul 21, 17 12:26 PM
2 members liked this comment
Lets hope it does fall into disrepair as begin to look like the diner.
By La Dolce Vita (2), Hampton Bays on Jul 20, 17 4:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
does not
By La Dolce Vita (2), Hampton Bays on Jul 20, 17 4:44 PM
Bring something better. Even an Olive Garden or IHOP would be better than a Friendlys
By Thewayitusedtobe (6), Hampton Bays on Jul 20, 17 6:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
and another one bites the dusk - oh I know - how about one big nail salon?!?!? Thanks to the ridiculous school taxes and inept Town Administration,, Main Street/Montauk Highway will soon be the hair/nail salon capital of the East End..but hey we have the trolley folly. Clean the Swamp!
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 20, 17 8:20 PM
Sadly, it's just another sign that HB is going down the tubes. Now there will be only one place in town to get a sit down breakfast (McDonald's doesn't count). There used to be 3-4 places to go. Well, maybe they can open a medical office or hair salon there. Or even better, a 24 hour bodega!

Thank you Southampton Town government.
By HB90 (164), southampton on Jul 20, 17 8:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
It would make a great homeless shelter -- the diner could also be one for men, this building for women and children. Or both just for children -- then the bus to school would have a parking lot to pick them up, much safer that way.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jul 20, 17 8:25 PM
I wouldn't put it past the Town. The Town Administration has dumped on HB for decades and continues to do so. Maybe they will legalize prostitution and run a brothel now that they closed down Foster Avenue. The Town will probably try to find employment for all those poor misguided MS-13 gang members.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 20, 17 9:06 PM
Why is the town being blamed for this??? Good grief. I don't get it. Friendly's has not been doing well as a corporation and has been closing several locations here on LI and elsewhere.

Maybe if we were positive about what we wanted, Real Estate places could show prospective tenants or buyers our interest and it would help.

I do wish, however, the town could figure out a way to be more proactive about the deteriorating diner. I understand there are legal issues holding up a sale. ...more
By baywoman (165), southampton on Jul 20, 17 11:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Make it a Boardy Barn annex and all the negative nellies posting here will have another place to worship and get wasted!
By G (342), Southampton on Jul 21, 17 7:16 AM
Yes great idea Board Barn East. Shorter walk for the kids to the train station. In the fall, great place for Republican Party find raisers. Just retrofit one of the bathrooms into a vomitarium. Also, could run a shuttle from Good Ground Park to the remaining bathroom, that would solve the lack of bathrooms there.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jul 21, 17 8:06 AM
Baywoman, you ask "why is the Town being blamed"? Let's start with the Town listening to the "grey hairs" and closing all the bars which generated "breakfast" business, next go to the lack of code enforcement which created overcrowding in our schools that created ridiculous taxes, next go to the fact that they allowed our public property including property purchased with CPF funds to like Detroit. Then they didn't address the illegal use of motels as illegally overcrowded housing. And yes, they ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 17 8:33 AM
Panera Bread is doing fine but, using your argument, they shouldn't be doing well either. They serve breakfast. In fact, using your argument only nail salons should be doing well.
So Friendly's is NOT the town's fault.
Everything is not as simple as it looks. As Donald Trump recently said "Who knew health care was so complicated?" If everything were an easy fix, it would have been fixed. I agree that in some areas, especially Code Enforcement, the town has been less than stellar. That ...more
By baywoman (165), southampton on Jul 27, 17 6:21 PM
I agree that the Town should have nothing to do with the Friendly's closing, but they inserted themselves into the free enterprise of Hampton Bays years ago with many untended consequences. . There is a different between "managing growth" and trying to control and kill it. Talk to the business owners that survive and see who their customers are and whether or not they have a year round business that is needed to support a diner of that size with a separate parking lot. If yo are old enough to ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 7:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
Vote for who? The Republican party members that used to take bags of cash for a zoning variance? The property tax problem is the fault of a School Board that spend money on a marching band trip to Disney World and gold plated health insurance for heroin dealing wrestling coaches. Let's start by voting in a School board that cuts the budget if the school by 50%.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jul 21, 17 9:12 AM
Sadly, I agree with you....however, the double digit increase in school taxes occurred before most of the current Board members were there and before the Cap. Do you not think that ATH sold us down the river? Pay to play with the wealthy and let HB deteriorate. But just before the election the administration jams through the $4 million GGP so there could be a 1 day grand opening to honor her? The current administration can't even do that right - she lost.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 17 9:44 AM
If you had your facts straight, maybe you would feel less miserable about the schools. For example, the Disney trip was paid for by the participants not by the taxpayers.
You are right there was corruption in zoning. Haven't heard even a whisper of that anymore. Thank goodness.
I'm not sure of the quality of the school's health insurance but I'll conceded probably it is good. What does that have to do with a drug-dealing wrestling coach? Would his drug-dealing have been ok if the schools ...more
By baywoman (165), southampton on Jul 27, 17 6:28 PM
I personally only agreed to the part about "vote for who". It is a sad commentary that Hampton Bays has probably the largest voting block in Southampton and we have such a poor showing as voters.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 27, 17 7:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
The problem isn't the school board. The problem is the too lazy to vote taxpayers who didn't bother to go out and vote the school budgets down. So much easier to sit home watching TV and complain.....
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Jul 21, 17 10:17 AM
1 member liked this comment
Couldn't agree more. sadly - I am not sure if people are even informed enough to complain. I don't get it. $13 million unnecessary library expansion and it almost passed with 100 or so votes.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 17 10:24 AM
Everyone I know, and there are many, vote against the school budget EVERY YEAR and EVERY YEAR this budget passes. Something is amiss here in Hampton Bays and it has NOTHING to do with the taxpaying voting community.

By T818 (11), Hampton Bays on Jul 23, 17 1:46 PM
The school district and taxpayers did not pay for the Disney trip. Participants paid their own way individually and through fundraisers.
By hblc (34), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 17 10:33 AM
Another sign of the times in a Town that has no vision, innovation or definable plan for the future.One less employer for young people as well. Sad. It's a shame that places like Patchogue, Ridge, and Babylon have become more vibrant and lively and the Hamptons naysay any and everthing.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Jul 21, 17 11:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
We have weak leadership at the Town level. They succumb to pressures of loud clueless voting blocks. They throw money around like drunken sailors without any real plan to revitalize Hampton Bays. So sad for such a great community.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 17 11:55 AM
Hampton Bays is starting to look great do to the fine leadership and onerous zoning laws and processes. Let's see. CPI looks like garbage, Rip Tide empty, Diner is a prominent ghost building, Friendly's closing. Great job gang. And if you look at the Use Table of Zoning in the Town and see how antiquated and contradictory it is , you will know why. Everything basically is a Special Exception because the Town want the money. Who, would want a commercial establishment in this extortion based ...more
By The Real World (368), southampton on Jul 21, 17 12:15 PM
4 members liked this comment
couldn't agree more - the alleged "master plans" are antiquated jokes of plans put together by the anti-business voting block in Hampton Bays along with the anti-business planning department. They should put a big sign outside of the diner " nothing to see here - move it along". Thank you Town government.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 17 12:52 PM
2 members liked this comment
You have it all wrong here, HB. The problem with the Master Plans is that they have been disregarded by the very people hired to implement them - the Town Board and Supervisor.

The Master Plans recognize that Resort Waterfront Business zoning is essential to the social and economic viability of the Town and should be preserved and even, where appropriate, expanded. Those requirements have been ignored to the detriment of the entire area.

If our local partisan pandering hacks ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jul 28, 17 3:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
We may be saying the same thing, but I am not sure. The master Plans conceptually made sense. However, from what I read, the master plan and corridor study were never fully validated as to whether they were plausible and self-sustaining and could or would create or retain a vibrant community (devil in the detail). This should have been done before implementation, but we both seem to agree that whatever the Town Administration implemented was/is a haphazard mess destroying the vitality of Hampton ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 28, 17 9:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
While I agree with much of the above, something that hasn't been mentioned are the demographics and resulting economics of HB.The truth is that HB is the "poor" part of the Hamptons. Many of the people that live there do so because they can't afford to live further East. A significant portion of the population is illegals living under the radar and the legal work force is largely blue collar. Neither has large disposable incomes. Years ago, largely at the request of local residents, the town made ...more
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Jul 21, 17 1:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree and lets add to it. Our Town Administration does not adjust to the changing landscape of HB and spends $4 million on a Park and tens of thousands of dollars on a "Pattern Book" so Main Street could look like Disney based an a decade old "master plan". We have now had a gang slaying at a bar, a violent home invasion, and a raid at a brothel with apparently MS-13 gang members. Do they really expect "foot traffic"?
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 17 4:20 PM
I've posted a like primarily in support of your statement about the town destroying the resort business because that is etched in stone and due to the budgeting nuances of funding sources those moves are largely irreversible.

I vehemently disagree, however, with your views that HB is the poor part of the Hamptons and those in HB are there because they can't afford to cross the canal. There is at least one property in Hampton Bays valued at over forty million dollars and more above ten ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Jul 22, 17 2:57 AM
2 members liked this comment
The residents of Hampton Bays have themselves to blame for all the problems.
We could do something about changing HB if the residents of the Hamlet would
voice their complaints to the Town Board. After all, Hampton Bays has the largest voting block in the township. This is why the politicians spend an inordinate amount of time campaigning here during election time. Furthermore,
Hampton Bays is large enough to incorporate and become a village. This would
allow us to control our ...more
By Jimion (129), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 17 5:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
You are correct on so many fronts. People complain to each other. I don't disagree about a Village, but that process is long and it has a lot of pitfalls. We can't wait for a Village. This is an election year with the Town Supervisor and two Town Board member seats open. We currently have two Town Board members from Hampton Bays and a candidate from Hampton Bays - see what they have done, who they are aligned with, what they would do to revitalize Hampton Bays ad HOW they would do it. ..and ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 21, 17 7:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
It's Trump's fault -- and Zeldin's
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Jul 22, 17 5:36 PM
I'd go out on a limb and say the same people that are saying "Make America Great Again" are the same ones saying "Hampton Bays is deterioriating."
By HB2NYC (6), Manhattan on Jul 22, 17 7:46 PM
3 members liked this comment
Or maybe we are common citizens who are tired of paying $500 to $800 per month in property taxes for a school district that is 75% English as a Second Language students who are given a sub standard education.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jul 23, 17 9:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
Create tourism again for hecks sake! Encourage group rentals and offer amenities for visitors and fornthose who oppose the noise and inconveniences; suck it up for 3 months out of the year. The "inconveniences" created jobs and prosperity for the town. Now, we have a beautiful hamlet looking dumpier and dumpier as the days go on.
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Jul 23, 17 11:53 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jul 23, 17 5:02 PM
No we're not allowed to rent on Airbnb to New York yuppies and high income families and European tourists who have to post a profile online and be reviewed for their cleanliness and safe conduct. We're only allowed to rent for a month or longer to undocumented families or Section 8 drug addicts. That's the law of the Town of Southampton.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jul 23, 17 1:08 PM
3 members liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 23, 17 7:14 PM
Didn't Mr. Dodge pass away a number of years ago? All kind well intended folks, but they didn't see that the landlords were going to fill their former summer rentals with illegally overcrowded housing and motels. The Town turned their backs on us and they are now patting themselves on their backs that they were involved in a raid on a brothel and drug den run by MS-13 gang members. Newsflash - that should never have happened in Hampton Bays. I think their idea of foot traffic is running away from ...more
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 23, 17 9:52 PM
2 members liked this comment
HB, I think you should speak to the town board. You seem well aware of the issues.
By sgt202 (75), Hampton Bays on Aug 2, 17 11:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
LOL - good luck with that - I just think it is time for a new Board leadership. They are just following in the footsteps of ATH who ruined Hampton Bays.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Aug 2, 17 8:17 PM
1 member liked this comment