The Friendly’s in Fayetteville has always been a special place for me. Growing up two blocks away, I spent many late nights and hot summer afternoons waiting in line for an oreo cyclone (or maybe an M&M cyclone, depending on my mood). Long before we could drive, my brothers and I would walk over to the store with a $20 bill from our parents (provided we had eaten our dinner, of course) knowing we could buy whatever our hearts desired. It was a great feeling.
But maybe the most vivid memories of Friendly’s are from my middle school years at Wellwood. As a regular walker to school, I knew that Friendly’s on Fridays was a special tradition – even kids who didn’t live within walking distance would make the trek down from school to celebrate the beginning of the weekend. One of my friends swore she met Carmelo Anthony there on one of these Fridays – but I didn’t buy it.
Even during my high school years, Friendly’s was still a staple for my friends and me. I remember going there after high school band concerts and sometimes staying way past the 11 p.m. closing time (the staff never seemed to mind, and if they did, they didn’t show it). And on breaks from college, nothing tasted more like home than the monster mash sundae. I’ll miss walking past the restaurant on the way to the bank or dentist and waving to kids eating outside that I knew from my time spent as a summer camp counselor at Creative Environment Day School, just down the road.
So Friendly’s: thanks for the memories. I went on my first date there, looked forward to Free Ice Cream Day there each year and got Jim Boehiem’s autograph on the back of a kids’ menu there (and it’s still hanging on my wall at my parents’ house.) I’m sure something new will soon fill its empty spot, but for me, that spot on the corner of Route 5 and F-M Road will always be Friendly’s spot.