Westminster Friendly's restaurant closes for good Tuesday

Westminster Friendly's restaurant closes for good Tuesday
Jennifer and Hannah Belgin, of Sparks, make their way out of Friendly's in Westminster on its last day of business Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. The restaurant and carry-out, located in the 140 Village Shopping Center, is closing after many years. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

The Friendly’s restaurant in Westminster served its last scoops of ice cream Tuesday, closing its doors for good.

Francine Moser, of Finksburg, was one regular patron who knew the restaurant was closing after nearly two decades and came out for lunch Tuesday afternoon.


“It’s a shame because there’s so many people that like to come here,” she said.

Restaurant employees confirmed the restaurant was closing, but declined to comment on the record. A call to owner Allison Ice was not returned by 9 p.m. Tuesday.

But Friendly’s, the corporate entity, as well as other area franchises, have had financial troubles over the last decade.

The company that was founded in 1935 the middle of the Great Depression in Springfield, Massachusetts, and would become Friendly Ice Cream Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Investment firm Sun Capital Partners purchased the company in 2012 and installed former Panera Bread executive John Maguire as CEO of Friendly’s, according to reporting by Maguire, leaving the company in September, cited recent successes at Friendly’s, though the brand’s total number of locations dropped from 254 in 2012 to around 230 in 2018, per

The Lutherville Friendly’s located at 1414 York Road since 1975 was shuttered in December 2016, The Baltimore Sun reported, while The Aegis noted the closure of the Main Street Bel Air Friendly’s that same month.

The Friendly’s on Frederick Road in Catonsville closed in September, 2017, after nearly 20 years in business, per The Baltimore Sun.

Wherever there was a Friendly’s, there were good times for the Belgin family, according to Jennifer Belgin and her 13-year-old daughter Hannah, of Sparks. The pair had driven to the Westminster Friendly’s location Tuesday for one last meal, and then learned they had a deeper connection with the manager, who had worked in Lutherville and remembered the first time Jennifer brought a young Hannah into the restaurant.

“We had her in a car seat on the table. So for 13 years she’s seen my kids grow up,” Jennifer said. “They only gave her two weeks notice they were going to close. They said they weren’t going to renew the lease.”

The Belgins will not be without Friendly’s entirely — there are still locations open in Maryland, such as in Perry Hall and Dundalk. And, Jennifer noted, they have their memories.

“The kids always pick it for their birthday dinner, or a special, like if they’re on a sick day,” she said. “Good ice cream memories, too, in the summer.”

Friendly's in Westminster had its last day of business Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.
Friendly's in Westminster had its last day of business Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)