Freddy’s brings its steakburgers, frozen custard to Radcliff

A vacant restaurant building in Radcliff will be transformed by owner Michael Brooking, right, to become Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. Chris VanNatter of Radcliff, left, will serve as operations manager.

Plans have been finalized to bring Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers to Radcliff. Getting to this point took the new franchisee six years and he’s confident in his decision.

In 2013, Michael Brooking of Paducah acquired the vacant restaurant building at 333 S. Dixie Blvd. in Radcliff. His initial idea fell through when a partner dropped out and Brooking has been researching various concepts and franchise possibilities.

Originally built for White Castle, the building still has much of the style and decor used by its most recent tenant, which was a Long John Silver’s/A&W dual concept. Brooking is in the process of reviewing bids from contractors to transform it inside and out before adding the red trim and signage familiar to Freddy’s fans.

Based in Wichita, Kansas, Freddy’s is a fast casual restaurant featuring quality all-meat burgers pressed thin to create its signature crispy edges. The menu also includes chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and kids’ meals complemented by shoestring fries and other options including onion rings, cheese curds and chili. Its frozen custard products include cones, sundaes, shakes and sandwich-like treats.

“Any day’s a good day for frozen custard in Kentucky,” Brooking said.

The company strives to match the speed of its fast-food competitors, but Brooking said everything is made to order. The Freddy’s system doesn’t allow for preparation until the order has been placed, he said.

Freddy’s has more than 360 locations in 31 states and is enjoying a surge in growth.

Brooking, who plans to open the Radcliff restaurant later this year, said the company is averaging one new restaurant each week this year. Its website lists locations coming in Amarillo, Texas, Hoover, Alabama, Yukon, Oklahoma, and Durham, North Carolina, among others.

The Radcliff store will be the fifth Freddy’s in Kentucky joining Lexington, Bowling Green, Owensboro and Glasgow.

Brooking is a manufacturer and entrepreneur with interests in a variety of businesses, but said his current focus is Freddy’s with the Radcliff location serving as the first of five he would like to open in his multi-county franchise area which stretches to Frankfort. He discussed possible locales for an Elizabethtown store following his Radcliff announcement Friday.

Before deciding to become a Freddy’s franchisee, Brooking said he looked at multiple options after purchasing the building, which is adjacent to Taco Bell in Radcliff. He said he was impressed by “how well they treat their franchisees” and its emphasis on food quality and guest hospitality.

The Radcliff restaurant will provide indoor seating for 88 plus a covered patio out front and a drive-thru window, Broking said. The property contains 70 parking spaces and room for expansion because Brooking’s lot runs from Dixie through to South Wilson Road.

Chris VanNatter of Radcliff has been hired as operations manager. He said the business will employ about 40 with full-time and part-time roles available including supervisory positions.

Pay and benefits will be competitive with similar positions in the market, Brooking said.

“Freddy’s promotes a fun environment,” Brooking said. “They want it to be good for employees so they can really make it good for the guests.”

Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.

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