Friendly's Ice Cream is an iconic restaurant chain on Long Island, as the Massachusetts-based eatery has 19 locations here as part of its footprint on the Eastern Seaboard that stretches from Maine to Florida. Check out some facts about the summertime stop below.
The 19 Friendly's on Long Island are owned by J&B Restaurant Partners of Long Island LLC of Bohemia, which recently remodeled several of its locations, including this one in Commack.
According to MassLive, there are 254 Friendly's restaurants in the United States as of April 2017, with locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.
In 2007, the chain had 514 locations, concentrated in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, but is just over half that size today. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011, but emerged from it in three months.
Add the 's'
The chain was known as Friendly Ice Cream until 1989 when the eatery added the apostrophe and "s" to make it known as Friendly's.
A first at Friendly's
Two Long Island locations, in Commack and Massapequa Park, became the first in the chain to serve beer and wine in 2016 after successfully getting a license from the New York State Liquor Authority. According to a spokesman, no other locations serve alcohol.
Friendly's was founded in 1935 by the Blake brothers, Curtis and Prestley, in Springfield, Mass. Curtis Blake was 18 and Prestley Blake was 20, and they sold double-dip ice cream cones for 5 cents. Above, Curtis Blake, left, and Prestley Blake are seen this photo taken in May 2001.
In 1979, the founding Blake brothers sold the company to Hershey's for a reported $164 million. Hershey's added some of the chocolate company's candies to Friendly's ice creams and toppings. Hershey's sold the company in 1988 to the Tennessee Restaurant Corporation for $375 million, but continues to have its products served in the restaurants.
Restaurant, manufacturing sale
In 2016, Dean Foods acquired the manufacturing and retail distribution for Friendly's for $155 million. The restaurant chain itself is still owned by a private equity firm, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc., who purchased the entire company in 2007 for a reported $332 million.
Ice cream flavors
According to Friendly's, you can get 20 different varieties of ice cream at a restaurant, and according to their website, you can get 19 different types of toppings.
Top picks in restaurants
According to Friendly's, the most popular ice cream flavors eaten in the restaurants are vanilla, chocolate, coffee, mint chocolate chip and Rockin' Poppin' Cotton Candy.
According to Friendly's, the chain began distributing ice cream in supermarkets in 1987. The ice cream cartons, cakes, sundae cups, rolls and novelty items are available in over 8,000 locations nationwide, including 49 different types of ice cream in cartons.
Lots of ice cream
According to Friendly's website, 25 million gallons of ice cream was produced in 2014. And per a Dean Foods release, the business generated $166 million in net ice cream sales in 2015.
Friendly's and the Patriots
Being based in New England, the restaurant chain has a marketing deal with the Patriots, meaning Friendly's is the NFL team's official ice cream and restaurant chain. Some versions of the limited-edition ice cream Sundae Nut Football featured the football team's logo.
If you've driven west on the Massachusetts Turnpike past Exit 8, you probably know where Friendly's is located. That's because since 1970, there's been a garden along the side of Interstate 90 marking the town of Wilbraham, where Friendly's production facilities and headquarters are located.