The 8,066-square-foot Cheddar's Casual Café, under construction off U.S. Route 13 in Camden, has progressed rapidly since contractors and subcontractors started construction in late October, when site work was completed.
This is the first foray into the Diamond State by the Texas-based restaurant chain that started in 1979 in Arlington. Cheddar's specializes in handmade, high quality food made from scratch. Since then, it has grown to more than 80 restaurants in the United States with a strategy of locating restaurants near or within high-traffic shopping centers with no reliance upon advertising, according to industry insiders.
The engineering firm for the Camden Cheddar's is Karins and Associates, with offices in Newark and Millsboro. The architect was ID Studio 4, a Dallas firm, said Adam Smith, director of development for Foremark, the consulting firm that navigated site investigation, real estate planning and permitting for the restaurant. The general contractor has been RCC Associates based in Deerfield Beach, Fla., Smith said.
Camden town officials have watched construction progress and have been looking forward to the grand opening in the spring.
"Relative to when they started they're pretty far along," Camden Town Manager Aaron Chaffinch said. "It's a nice looking building. This is the first one in Delaware. And from what I understand it's a very nice restaurant. I want to try it out."
Chaffinch said the planning and permitting process went "smooth as silk."
Part of the process included appearing before the Camden Planning Commission to explain what Cheddar's was all about, namely providing quality food in an attractive setting, Smith said.
"The design is a big piece, all the way from the building to the landscaping," he said. "All those things play into what Cheddar's is about."
As part of its design for the Camden location, Cheddar's agreed to construct the building with a brick design, given its proximity to Camden's historic district, he said. Focal points for the building will be natural gas lit lamps, dormers on the roof and copper awnings, Smith said.
As of Wednesday, Smith hoped for either a late spring or early summer opening.
It was unclear how many employees would be hired for the restaurant in Camden as Cheddar's officials did not return calls seeking comment.
For information on hiring, go to www.cheddars.com, mouse over "Join Our Team" and scroll down to "New Restaurant Openings."