MISSION BBQ will open its first Carroll County location at the former Friendly's in the 140 Village Shopping Center in Westminster.
MISSION BBQ will open its first Carroll County location at the former Friendly's in the 140 Village Shopping Center in Westminster. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

The building where Westminster residents used to stop for ice cream will, in 2020, instead be filled with smoked meats and tangy sauces served by Mission BBQ.

Nearly one year ago, the Friendly’s at the 140 Village Shopping Center shuttered its doors for good. Residents were left wondering what might replace the restaurant that had served locals for nearly two decades.

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Brand ambassador Linda Dotterer confirmed in an email Monday that Mission BBQ will open at the former Friendly’s location in 2020, with its first day of service tentatively planned for late summer or early fall.

Construction is planned for early spring, Chris Black, director of operations for Mission BBQ in Western Maryland, wrote in an email Tuesday. The location will be the first for Carroll County.

Black and Dotterer did not immediately respond to requests for more information Tuesday.

Glen Burnie-based Mission BBQ is a chain known for brisket and patriotic support of soldiers, firefighters, and other first-responders. The business, which now has locations in 16 states, makes a point to hire veterans and each restaurant has a daily salute at noon in which staff and patrons stand for the national anthem, according to the company’s website.

Menu items include brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, “bay-b-back” ribs, mac ’n’ cheese and baked beans.

Westminster Common Council President Greg Pecoraro reacted positively to the news Tuesday.

“It’s always great to see an empty space filled," he told the Times. “The more options for people in the community, the better.”

Pecoraro said the chain is known for “good barbecue” and its outreach to veterans.

“They do a lot of good work in the communities in which they locate,” he said.

Last November, shortly after Friendly’s closed, Mission BBQ confirmed it was considering the location. Company spokeswoman Megan Laubacher then provided a statement from co-founder Steve Newton to that effect.

“Although we haven’t signed a lease for a location Westminster, we love the Westminster community,” Newton wrote. “Having family and friends that live there, we would love to be in Westminster. It would be our honor and privilege to serve and support the community there."

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