The sound of new construction is ringing out on U.S. Route 13 and it means a new restaurant franchise is coming to Dover.
When the work is finished, the long-closed Golden Corral restaurant will be home to the Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille, the fourth Delaware location for the popular franchise.
Currently, there are Greene Turtle restaurants in Newark, Lewes and Rehoboth.
This new franchise location, which they plan to open around the beginning of November, is the work of business partners Parthiban Jayaraman and Pradip Saha.
"Delaware has been our market," Jayaraman said, "and Dover is a very good market. You have the local and state government there, Dover Air Force Base, the NASCAR race crowds, the Firefly music festival and the beach-goers passing by.
"The population is growing and business is growing. You put all those things together, and it's a good, significant location."
The Greene Turtle opened the first of its 36 restaurants in 1976 in Ocean City, Md., and in addition to Maryland and Delaware, has locations in Virginia and the District of Columbia. The franchise just opened its first restaurant outside the mid-Atlantic area on Long Island.
Dover's setting, within easy commute to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., makes it an ideal site for a sports bar, Saha said.
"It attracts both families and people interested in sports," he said. "We've seen how people come and enjoy the games and enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant. The Greene Turtle is not only family-friendly, we have high-quality food and we're very accessible to the community."
As planned, sports fans won't have a bad seat anywhere in the new 7,000-square-foot restaurant. It will have 75 flat-screen televisions, including one at each booth, which will allow parents to watch sporting events on large screens while the kids can tune in to something different at their seats. The restaurant will have patio that seats approximately 60 people, as well as a private, 40-person party room.
One of the best-known features of any Greene Turtle is its Mug Club. To join, patrons buy a numbered mug, and they're served from that mug every time they come in to dine.
"Once you purchase a mug, it hangs over the bar and is available any time you visit," Jayaraman said. "Aside from having a mug to call your own, Mug Club members receive plenty of draft beer discounts and specials as well as member-only events, exclusive offers, and more."
"When you've signed up for a mug number, that's your number forever," Saha said. "You come back once a day, once a week, you get the same one every time."
The Turtle also will feature a wide variety of beers, including brews by Delaware's own Dogfish Head.
Page 2 of 2 - In addition to burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads, the Greene Turtle's menu includes gourmet pizzas, express lunches for people on the go, a summer lunch selection that includes a watermelon and shrimp salad, blackened ahi tuna and spicy hummus, various types of wraps, a kid's menu and specialty tacos.
Jayaraman said he favors the fish tacos, while Saha prefers the Maryland crab cakes.
As a corporation, the Greene Turtle also works to become a major contributor in each franchise city, with participating restaurants holding fundraising events where a portion of a day's receipts is donated to local charities. Since the program got under way, the company has contributed more than $750,000 to organizations in various communities.
Dover's Greene Turtle will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight seven days a week, Saha said, and will employ up to 10 full-time personnel and approximately 30 part-timers.