A long-time Waynedale restaurant has a new look and feel thanks to recent renovations.
After having been closed for work for several months, the Dairy Queen at 501 Lower Huntington Road finally opened for business again on June 1. The spot had been closed since about September of 2017.
Since the place used to be an old gas station, according to District Manager Andrew Yablonsky, renovations were sorely needed.
Construction was finished about mid-May, Yablonsky said, and the café remained closed for an additional two weeks to train the staff on their new restaurant.
The updated lobby now seats 86 people, significantly more than the old 20-person capacity. New booths and new LED lighting were installed giving the dining room a more sophisticated air, and new light fixtures were added outside, as well.
Improvements were made to the parking lot, too; about 20 spots were added, giving the place about 40 total parking places. Renovations also moved the restaurant’s large freezer outdoors to make more room for the expanded dining room.
And, perhaps, most importantly, the restrooms are no longer outside of the restaurant. Because the business was an old gas station, both bathrooms were once outdoors in a single unisex restroom. Now, the eatery offers separate bathrooms inside, Yablonsky said.
While Yablonsky didn’t know the exact cost of all the improvement work, he said the work went over budget, due to unexpected costs. He estimated the price to be “at least $200,000, for sure.”
And while the expenditures were significant, local benefits are many. Yablonsky said his store hired 40 new employees to staff the improved eatery. While most of those workers are part-time, about 10 to 15 percent of his workforce are students at Wayne High School.
Yablonsky said the work really has turned his restaurant into a Waynedale jewel.
“I’m sure the whole community could’ve argued that this was badly needed,” he said. “It’s probably the nicest restaurant in Waynedale now,” Yablonsky said, “and it’s good for the community because we’re open year-round. So it’s a place where people can come and get their treats – even in the winter.”