BANGOR — A national restaurant chain is planning to build a Neighborhood Grill and Bar in the Kmart parking lot on Hogan Road.
Code Enforcement Officer Dan Wellington said Thursday that his office has received plans from Applebee’s International Inc., a chain of 960 restaurants nationwide with headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.
Bill Lackey, the company’s director of investor relations, described the grills as casual, full-service restaurants with menus offering everything from stir-fry dishes to salads, pasta dishes, baked and broiled chicken and riblets.
Yes, Lackey said, a riblet is indeed a small rib. “They’re still messy, but they’re good.”
Early August is the target date for opening the restaurant, he said, although much depends on the approval process.
The land is covered by the Site Location Development Act, Wellington said, so the company “will have to go to the Department of Environmental Protection to get that site modified.”
The city has already received the modification plan and the site plan itself, he said, adding that the plans may be ready for action by the planning board in early February.
It is customary for the DEP to be involved when a site has a large impervious surface — one which does not absorb water. The paved parking lot certainly qualifies on that score. The restaurant is slated to go up in the righthand corner of the Kmart lot.
Building parking lots larger than what was really needed was commonplace in the 1960s and 1970s, Wellington said, and now some of them are making room for other projects.
He gave as an example the new Pizza Hut, a project which took up a corner of the parking lot at the Broadway Shopping Center. And he said that he had seen the same kind of construction in shopping areas in Portland and Boston.
Such construction often improves an area, he said, because the city requires that buffer yards and green space be included around the buildings. That reduces the total amount of paved area, he said, and thus reduces storm water runoff.
The Neighborhood Grill and Bar itself, one of the Applebee’s prototypes, will seat about 200 people, Lackey said.
It will be nearly 5,000 square feet in area, Wellington said, about the size of the Red Lobster off the Bangor Mall Boulevard.
Though the restaurant will have much in common with others in the chain, it will also take on “a local flavor,” Lackey said, through the addition of items such as a “hometown hero wall.” It will also offer some display space related to local schools and athletic teams.
Many of the grills nationwide are owned by franchisees, Lackey said, but the one in Bangor, like others in New England, will be owned by Applebee’s International.
The Bangor restaurant will be the chain’s third in Maine, he said. Auburn and Brunswick have one each, and the company is also looking at Portland and Augusta as possible sites for later in the year.