Nearly eight years after riding into the Long Island sunset, Roy Rogers plans to return.
The fast-food chain, known for its Double R Bar Burger and Fixin’s Bar, said this week that Port Washington-based franchisee Burger Brothers Restaurant Group expects to open seven restaurants in the metro area, including in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Burger Brothers owns 36 area Burger King restaurants, as well as Greene Turtle sports bar locations in Franklin Square, East Meadow and Smithtown.
Roy Rogers plans to open its first Long Island restaurant next year on the South Shore in Brookhaven Town, said Jim Plamondon, co-owner of Roy Rogers Franchise Company LLC. He said he couldn't be more specific about the location "until a lease is signed."
“I’m not exaggerating when I say we hear frequently from people on Long Island, via social media, email and letters that people say to us we should come back to Long Island,” Plamondon said. “It was very popular in its heyday. … There were a couple of dozen on the Island alone."
The chain, which was founded 50 years ago, had a presence on Long Island until its last area store, in Shirley, closed in November 2010. But Roy Rogers has been expanding up the Eastern seaboard in recent years, opening roughly two new locations per year.
Plamondon said Long Island will be at the northern end of its footprint, which goes south into the Washington area.
“We’re targeting that I-95 corridor between [Washington] and Long Island, really," he said. "That’s where the brand was so strong back in the day, and we think it has the most opportunity, and that’s where we continue to get fans that are writing us and saying, ‘Come back to such-and-such towns.' "
Roy Rogers has 53 locations in six states, up from around 40 in the mid 2000s. The only New York locations are the five based on the state thruway.
The chain had 648 locations in 1990, when it was sold by parent company Marriott Corp. to Hardee’s Food Systems. Most locations were then converted to Hardee's, McDonald's, Wendy's or other brands.