Barlows growth fuels move
By Josh Johnson
A long-vacant lot next to Starbucks will become home to a bigger and better Barlows Family Restaurant in 2013, owners Alicia and Michael Fry announced.
The Frys purchased the lot from Vandervert on Nov. 30 and are working with the developer to build an expanded restaurant on the site.
The new restaurant will double Barlows main-floor seating capacity from 82 to 164 and increase its banquet room capacity from 40 to 60 diners. It will also have room for another 40 to 50 diners on two patios, the Frys said.
Michael Fry said the restaurant has outgrown its current location at 1400 N. Meadowwood Lane. Comparable sales increased 15 percent in 2012, he said, and the new location will also allow Barlows to improve its overall building functionality, expand its parking and add a lounge - but with care taken to maintain the restaurant's core identity.
The expansion will also enable Barlows to add dinner hours, grow its catering and meeting room capabilities and enlarge its staff from nine to 25 employees, he said.
"Restaurants have become manufacturers of food, not a place for an experience," Michael Fry added.
Alicia Fry said she is busy working on a dinner menu, and that affordability will continue to be a hallmark of the Barlow's experience, although she said they will add some higher-priced items like a dry-aged ribeye that diners could select if they so desired.
The restaurant will also include a four-sided fireplace and a sensitivity toward its surroundings, the Frys emphasized.
As an example, they said they are taking 30 feet of the east end of their property to make room for delivery trucks in order to avoid any bottlenecks of traffic trying to get to Starbucks.
"We've already booked a Christmas party in a facility that doesn't exist," he laughed.