Businesses boasting burgers, chicken and captivity are in the works in Farmingdale.
A mostly vacant 30,000-square-foot shopping center at 20 Smith St. near Adventureland on Broadhollow Road will have a much-changed tenant makeup after three recent lease signers — Five Guys restaurant, Arrosto Italian Rotisserie, and Get Out, an escape room — open by next spring, said Greg Parassio, vice president of leasing and development at Booth Capital, the Manhattan-based real estate firm overseeing leasing the property on behalf of its owners.
A lease also is being negotiated with a national retailer for 10,500 square feet in the shopping center, he said.
None of this stuff is going in there without full site plan approval from the Town of Babylon. No plans have been submitted yet, town spokesman Kevin Bonner said.
The Five Guys would be a franchise location of the fast-casual chain, which offers fresh burgers and fresh-cut fries. It would open in a corner space with 2,875 square feet by the end of this year.
The eatery would be operated by a family group, Four Cousins Burgers and Fries of LI LLC, which is under the umbrella of the family’s Gellfam Management Corp., based in upstate Hillsdale, said Bill Gellert, co-owner.
The group has exclusive franchise rights to open Five Guys restaurants in Suffolk County.
The Farmingdale location would be the group’s 30th Five Guys eatery — it currently has eight in Suffolk County, as well as locations in Union County, New Jersey; the Hudson Valley region; and New Hampshire, Gellert said.
The family also owns six Cinnabon stores on Long Island and in Queens, the Bronx and Connecticut, and three of the stores have Carvel Express units in them.
“The beauty of each of these brands really …. is that you serve products that, first of all, we’re proud to serve and secondly, that very often, our guests have an emotional attachment to the product,” Gellert said.
“If you can’t have fun with ice cream, cinnamon rolls and burgers, what the hell? Not so hard.”
Founded in 1986 in the Washington, D.C., area, Five Guys now has more than 1,500 locations worldwide.
The other eatery slated for the shopping center, Arrosto Italian Rotisserie, is a fast-casual concept that has leased 2,000 square feet.
Arrosto co-owner Ken Arnone, a Hudson Valley resident and one of 67 master chefs in the United States certified by the American Culinary Federation, said he will develop the recipes for the restaurant. He said the eatery plans to serve rotisserie chicken, pork and beef, as well as shrimp skewers and hot and cold sides.
“The focus is the quality of the ingredients that we start with and the products that we’re delivering to our guests,” Arnone said. The restaurant would have an open kitchen and the rotisserie as a focal point.
Expecting to cater to people on the go, the three co-owners are working to get a mobile ordering app developed, Arnone said.
They plan to open Arrosto by early 2019.
The term “fast-casual restaurant” has been thrown around a lot in the past several years, but not every eatery that claims that title actually is.
Here’s some help with the definition: In general, fast-casual restaurants have an average per-person check of $9 to $10, limited service, fresh food, and decor that is of a higher quality than that of fast-food places, said David Henkes, senior principal at Technomic Inc., a restaurant industry research firm in Chicago.
That fast-casual segment is growing faster than the overall restaurant industry, but it is reaching the point of saturation, he said.
Fast-casual players that offer something different are faring better than others, Henkes said.
Five Guys is the largest fast-casual burger chain and the ninth largest burger player overall, according to Technomic.
At this point, the only other well-known fast-casual rotisserie eatery is Boston Market, which might bode well for Arrosto, Henkes said.
Aside from the restaurants, Get Out would occupy 3,500 square feet and open by November in the Smith Street shopping center, Parassio said. At the escape room, groups of people will work together to solve puzzles and gather clues in order to get out of a “locked” room.
The shopping center recently underwent “a seven-figure renovation,” Parassio said. Its current occupants are a T-Mobile store that opened this past spring and a longtime tenant, Warehouse Wine & Liquors.
Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org.