Applebee's coming to Norwalk

Applebee's and a larger Bob Evans restaurant will open up near Premiere Theater sometime during the summer. Bethany Dentler, Norwalk's economic development director, announced the plans to bring the restaurants into Norwalk Commons at the Norwalk Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) annual investor's luncheon Thursday. The luncheon was held in the lobby of the theater.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


Applebee's and a larger Bob Evans restaurant will open up near Premiere Theater sometime during the summer.

Bethany Dentler, Norwalk's economic development director, announced the plans to bring the restaurants into Norwalk Commons at the Norwalk Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) annual investor's luncheon Thursday. The luncheon was held in the lobby of the theater.

Both restaurants will be located on U.S. 250 where the Batesville Caskets currently stands. Batesville's new building further back in the development should be complete by mid-December, Dentler said. Once the company's operation has been moved to the new facility, the old building will be dismantled and removed.

A new street will be built leading from U.S. 250 directly back to the theater on the site of the old building. The larger Bob Evans will be on the north side of the new street and Applebee's will be on the south side.

"Pride One's vision of a destination entertainment/retail-based development is finally coming to fruition," Dentler said. Pride One is the developer of Norwalk Commons.

"There are a number of retailers that have been waiting in the wings for these restaurants to be built, because they, too, see the great potential in the Norwalk market," she added.

Patrick J. Eulberg, vice president of the company bringing in Applebee's, said he wants to break ground as soon as possible in the spring and he hopes to open by mid-summer. He said the building and equipment will cost around $1.4 million and his company will consider local contractors. "Generally, there's a lot of local participation," he said.

Once the restaurant is up and running, he added, four to five full-time managers will be hired. He estimated hiring about 85 employees eventually.

IHOP Corp. is in the process of buying Applebee's International, but Eulberg said that corporate move doesn't mean changes for his company, Apple American Group LLC., which owns 145 Appleebee's franchises in eight states.

"We think there's a great opportunity for us," he said, because IHOP has announced they want to franchise the restaurants that Applebee International now owns. "IHOP's goal is to improve on the marketing and concentrate on the menu rather than operate the restaurants," he said.

"We'll buy some if the opportunity is right," Eulberg said. He said his company was recently named Franchisee of the Year by the chain.

Eulberg said Norwalk's Applebee's will look a little different from the Sandusky restaurant his company also owns. The company was building a greenhouse series 12 years ago when the Sandusky restaurant was built, but is now using a tower series. He said Norwalk's version will look like a new restaurant he is opening in Lorain next month.

The company built 11 new Applebee's this year and Eulberg estimated they will open between two and eight in 2008.

"We're talking to a lot of developers in a lot of different areas," he said "But we're conservative. We have to find the right deal."

Chuck Furey, the president of NEDC's advisory board, gave the group an annual report. "In 2007 so far," he said, "22 companies expanded in Norwalk, creating 230 new jobs and investing over $30 million." Furey said 12 of those companies worked with NEDC during their expansions.

"From family entertainment to manufacturing, some of Norwalk's oldest companies continue to grow," he said.

Furey also told the group that the March edition of Site Selection magazine ranked Norwalk in the top 25 micropolitan areas in the nation for its ability to attract new businesses and support expansions.


Brian (Anonymous)

Hurray Norwalk will finally have a great resturant.

Yes (Anonymous)

Good job getting this project organized. It will be nice not having to drive all the way to Sandusky. Keep it up!

me (Anonymous)

oh yippee

Resident (Anonymous)

I am so glad Norwalk will finally get a decent sit down non-fast food place to eat. I love Casa Fiesta and Bob Evans but we need a change once in a while. I hope they put a Fridays in next. Berry's is a great place to eat but it is out of the way. We made a list of what Norwalk needs and Applebee's was on the list. Let's see how long it will take them to get a pet store, clothing stores and a home improvement department store. Save time going to Sandusky.

swiss steak fam...

Welllllll alrightttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!

WHATEVER (Anonymous)


Kidding? (Anonymous)

Are you people really excited over a mediocre chain restaurant that won't be bringing more than a few crappy jobs? What is wrong with this picture? The nedc needs all that money to bring in a restaurant?

I agree.. (Anon...

with several points one that the applebee's in sandusky is mediocre and I will not frequent the new restaurant, and second why don't they bring a restaurant to Norwalk that Sandusky does not have? They need to bring in some stores with name brand clothing so we dont have to go to Sandusky or Mansfield to find clothes other than Walmart and Kmart. They also need to be in Norwalk city limits so Norwalk gets the tax money. I won't even go there about the "Norwalk" businesses who's tax money goes to Milan out around Kmart.

Ha Ha (Anonymous)

Nothing is ever good enough....

Everyone yells about no restaurants, we get one, and people complain about it. Too funny.

Oh BTW, by not eating there, you will help prove that Norwalk can't support these restaurants thus making it harder to get the ones you really want.

You go cowboys! That will show them!

re ha ha (Anonymous)

shut up swiss

Right on (Anonymous)

For goodness sake! Norwalk finally convinces a big chain restaurant to take a chance on it, something people have been clamboring for for years, and it isn't good enough. Not enough jobs, not unique, blah blah. Wake up people, if a chain is not in Sandusky, chances are its market, which would include the surrounding areas as far as Norwalk, will not support it. Applebees, while not a five-star establishment, will bring some jobs and a different place to head for a nice night out. And seriously, you think Norwalk can support the type of department stores that sell high class name brand clothing? Not in this economic climate, I don't see a lot of folks around town donning the Armani suits. And if we don't support the Applebees, other retail outlets will see that and be even less inclined to come here. Applebees, believe it or not, is taking a calculated risk in a market this size. Let's either support it, or stop trying to attract retail development and focus on other types of economic development, but you can't have "better" retail development.

frank (Anonymous)

Please Benthany Dentler can you also help us find, get, & keep jobs that will pay a living wage for single parents? Thanks.

Uptown is screw...

Once again, Uptown Norwalk gets the shaft! All the talk of revitalizing the original town center gets forgotten when a mediocre chain opens on north 250. Get some new business in Uptown!!

Re: Uptown is s...

give it up, until there is a LARGE parking garage and some sort of developement to go with it, forget about anything uptown period. If you are a sad disgruntled uptown business owner, you have no one to blame but yourself, its been bad for years, putting a business up town is a poor plan.

Re: Uptown (Ano...

Every time an event would come uptown, the shop owners would complain. "People are using out bathrooms, etc." What they did not see is that people may come in just to use the bathroom on that day. It would have encouraged them to come back, had a nice helpful employee had come over and would chat them up. Instead, downtown decided to hang itself. Let it die a short death!

real food (Anon...

why not try for some real food! hoenstly do you think applebees is good food .. you are kidding me .. granted it is a step in the right direction, becasue we all cant wait until berry's closes its door .. so we can get something worthy uptown! if that is possible... let get something real .. something other than a stupid chain place that i can get a few minutes away

Bart (Anonymous)

When me 'n the wife want a real nice meal out we stop at HyMiler. Ya know, anniversaries & what not.

re: Bart (Anonymous)

gitcha a nice bologna an swiss mmmmmmm.

downtown (Anonymous)

When my family went uptown to shop we repeatedly felt like that most of the businesses didn't seem to want our money. (Amish Qak, Berries Restaurant, etc.) Along with parking & better other things, we shop elsewhere.

Sandumpy (Anonymous)

Norwalk residents would complain about having nothing to complain about. Be happy with what you have.

Vertuckey (Anon...

Wish Vertuckey would get a decent modestly priced restaurant...
It's either Chez $$$$$ or the International House of Tasty!

Hy-Miler (Anonymous)

Bologna & Swiss is great. Watch out for the egg salad.

why not bring i...

an Ihop? Or better yet what happened to the plans of restoring that old diner up just off the corner of Milan Ave and Main St. the one pizza brothers was in years ago?? It would be something other than the star diner, berries which nobody seems to like anymore and bob evans. Bob evans is ok but Casa Fiesta is the only really good restaurant in this town. We wont go there about sugar creek.

The Galloping G...

The only reason I'm happy that this restaurant is coming to MILAN is it's not another pizza joint. Norwalk needs some restaurants like Chipotle, and I agree an IHOP would be great! I don't think Casa is all that, ever since they moved, it's changed. Our order is never right, you can't get anybody to understand what you're talking about, Sugar'Crack' is just nasty, Star Diner has like 4 seats and they are always taken, Pizza Post had a 2 (yes 2) hour wait on a pizza last Friday night, we don't eat out much, I prefer my own kitchen, but there's just nothing to choose from around here. Bob Evans is good, and usually worth the money, but it always looks PACKED, there's so many cars in the lot, we turn around and go home. I just want something affordable and in good taste to come in. And I agree, Berry's act like they don't want your money, plus the food isn't that great. We were happy when we had a 'Quizno's', they were good, but apparently that Berry didn't want our money either. I hope more things come in, and I hope they come into Norwalk, as opposed to the MILAN district.

adam smith (Ano...

OK, an economic developer can't go out and "get" a restaurant or retail store. They are driven by the market. And yes, I think Applebee's is taking a bit of a risk in our little market, probably counting on exposure to the northbound vacationland traffic. For a town of 20,000 counting outlying areas, Norwalk has a decent choice of restaurants, imho, a mix of franchises and mom n pops. And for those who dis Berry's, try the Main Street Chicken, which my son deems the "best entree in Norwalk". Now we need some entrepreneurs to try some new ideas in the abandoned Taco Bell and Casa Fiesta and soon to be abandoned Bob Evans, etc. How about a bakery - fill in the Meeks gap! mmmmmm...donuts......

tim (Anonymous)

hey look @ star diner great food. to bad meeks is gone. how about joseeppi's. Berry's is just like the customers who go there - it is dying out.

Al (Anonymous)

Berry's has the best restaurant food around, way better than it was. It seems most people here don't recognize food unless it comes in styrofoam. Sure, there's better food in Cleveland but you have to drive there and a burger will cost you $18.

re: tim (Anonymous)

Joseppi', now that was goooooooood eatin'!!! they had the best pizza by far, and the subs...ooooh, those italian subs. yumm-o.

Gutter (Anonymous)

Bart, nice comment about the hymiller...pretty damn funny.

I get tired of the chain restaurants and thats why I go to Berry's or Casa. But at Casa, no one can understand what you say as they always nod smile and f up your order. If you're on a budget you can go to the liquor store for a 4 dollar dinner in a bottle.

Funny as many t...

I have been to casa fiesta they have always gotten my order right every time and their was no language barrier either. If I want overprice bland food that I could make better myself I will go to Berry's that is what I got the last 2 times I went there.