Zoning Officer Dispels Restaurant Rumors

The former-Ponderosa Steakhouse in the East Franklin Township Franklin Village Shopping Center will indeed become a Rachel's Roadhouse and look to open this Spring - no matter what rumors are told.

The former-Ponderosa Steakhouse in the East Franklin Township Franklin Village Shopping Center will indeed become a Rachel’s Roadhouse and look to open this Spring – no matter what rumors are told.

by Jonathan Weaver

A regional restaurant is expanding into East Franklin Township, according to the local zoning officer – no matter what rumors have been written.

East Franklin Township Zoning Officer Greg McKelvey emphasized a new restaurant is preparing to move into the former Ponderosa Steakhouse in the Franklin Village Shopping Center.

“Despite rumors and inaccurate social media statements, Rachel’s Roadhouse is coming to Kittanning,” McKelvey said. “They have their permits, and they are anxious to begin their work.”

McKelvey even contacted senior management at Springfield Restaurant Group – which manages seven different area restaurants – after hearing the rumors both on the street and via social media.

“Rachel’s Roadhouse is coming, and are happy to come to the Kittanning area,” McKelvey reiterated.

The restaurant group reportedly spent five-figures restoring the parking lot and McKelvey predicted contractors might be on-site within the next few weeks to remodel the building.

Supervisor Chair Barry Peters said he will be one of the first customers at the new restaurant. He has heard a lot of good publicity for the restaurant.

“A lot of people have mentioned about being anxious that they are coming (since) they’ve been to the one in Butler and know what it’s like there,” Peters said. “(Springfield Restaurant Group) already gave us a menu here.”

Springfield Restaurant Group currently has two Rachel’s Roadhouse locations – in both Butler and Mercer. McKelvey has been to the Butler location.

Ponderosa closed their local restaurant December 6, 2015 and the building has sat vacant since.

In other planning and zoning matters, Planning Commission officials are also reviewing plans for a Furnace Run Chapel to obtain more land at the corner of Montgomery and Furnace Road. The parcel under question is not zoned residential like the church is based on.

Elected officials also held an executive session to discuss the matter.

Portions of Furnace Run and Tarrtown Road were also closed in the area of PJ Greco last weekend during Em Ache Productions’ filming of the new Netflix psychological drama “Mindhunter.” The scrap metal facility was transformed into the Altoona dump.

McKelvey also issued two permits during the past month – for the renovation of an exterior fast-food restaurant sign in Hilltop Plaza and a zoning permit at a Cowansville-area residence.