The Westminster Mission BBQ restaurant has moved closer to construction after the site plan earned a conditional approval from Westminster’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
The applicant plans to build a new restaurant building on the property and landscape the site, which is located just off Md. 140 in the 140 Village Shopping Center.
Co-founder of Mission BBQ Steve Newton said Thursday that they don’t have an exact date yet for when construction can start, but are really looking forward to the day they open up in Westminster. He said he has family in the area and will be excited to serve the community there.
The planned Mission BBQ would be the first in Carroll County, with the closest locations in places like Reisterstown and Ellicott City.
The site has been inactive since November 2018 when the Friendly’s Restaurant that operated there for close to two decades closed. Through the mysterious whims of social media, the restaurant became a local meme invoking nostalgia, sometimes with sarcasm and sometimes with sincerity.
After the June 11 meeting of the Westminster P&Z Commission, the prospective site plan is approved pending a few conditions, which the commission believed were easily accomplished. The plan didn’t require any zoning changes, and the site came with the water allocation granted to the Friendly’s restaurant.
Glen Burnie-based Mission BBQ is a chain known for brisket and patriotic support of soldiers, firefighters, and other first-responders. The business, which 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.
Two conditions were still in progress of being resolved as of July 8.
One condition asks the applicant to submit a revised site development plan with an updated gallons per day (GPD) water usage estimate.
The site came with a 1,476 GPD allocation that was granted to the Friendly’s. With a planned 130 seats, the initial plan for Mission BBQ would have required 4,290 GPD based on the standard formula of 33 GPD per seat. A tentative water and sewer allocation granted last June would have only granted enough water to operate 96 seats.
After a few back-and-forth discussions, Mission BBQ submitted data on the water use at other comparable locations and found it was about 25 GPD per seat. The small difference of 82 GPD still remaining was tentatively approved in the water and sewer allocation plan, according to a staff report in the June 11 agenda.
Water allocation has been a point of difficulty for development in Westminster.
After scarcity led officials to put a development moratorium in place, the planning department developed a complex water and sewer allocation plan in the hopes of avoiding that happening in the future as the city works to secure more water sources. But the limited allocations allowed under the plan have effected projects ranging from individual residences to a middle school modernization.