NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> Two more eateries are in the works for the Village at Newtown Shopping Center on Eagle Road.
At its June meeting, the township’s planning commission recommended conditional use approval for the Halal Guys and for Five Guys to open eateries at the center.
The Halal Guys, specializing in authentic American Halal food, including chicken and beef gyros and falafel platters, is proposed for the former Melt Shop location, which closed its doors during the pandemic.
Five Guys, serving handcrafted burgers, fries and shakes, is proposed for the former SaladWorks site at the far end of the shopping center across from Bank of America.
If granted conditional use approval by the board of supervisors, the Halal Guys would open at the 1600 square foot space formerly home to the Melt Shop. It would include up to 18 indoor seats, representing a reduction from the Melt Shop’s 24 seats.
“This would certainly be something unique and new to Newtown that I don’t think we have anywhere else so that’s a plus,” said Blackburn.
The Halal Guys have grown from a food cart on the streets of New York City to a global icon known as the largest American halal street food concept in the world. The food cart was first parked on the corner of 53rd and 6th Avenue in 1990 by three like-minded men from Egypt who came to America in search of a better life.
In 2014, The Halal Guys began expanding its authentic halal cuisine from the food cart into restaurants and now operates more than 90 locations within the United States, Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
This would be the first location in Bucks County for the Halal Guys, which has eateries in King of Prussia and Philadelphia and more than 400 locations throughout the nation.
The 2300 square foot Five Guys eatery is proposed to include 23 indoor seats along with 10 additional seats on an outdoor veranda overlooking Eagle Road.
“If not identical, it will be very similar to the existing operation at Saladworks,” said Blackburn of the fit out of the eatery. “There will be some flow differences, but use size and intensity would be all one in the same.”
Due to its location at an end cap, planner Kierstyn Zolfo raised concern over food delivery services like Grubhub, Ubereats and DoorDash.
“That’s a really narrow and busy roadway there and I know drivers want to park as close as they can to the doors to be able to run in and grab the food,” said Zolfo. “There is no where to pull up there.”
“The lack of a space is a solution to your concern,” responded Blackburn. “There’s no ability there to designate any spaces for pickup so they will have to park like everybody else and walk up to the restaurant.”
Five Guys would operate with a morning and an evening shift with no more than eight employees per shift. It will operate seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
If the township supervisors approve the use, this would be the sixth Five Guys location in Bucks County. The chain also has locations in Langhorne, Feasterville, Warminster, Doylestown and Quakertown
Five Guys is a family-owned and operated franchise restaurant group that focuses on serving high-quality burgers, fries and shakes. The eatery was established in 1986 in Arlington, Va. In 2003, Five Guys opened its first franchised location. Today it has 1,600 locations worldwide.
With both conditional uses, Blackburn said there would be no change in the allowable restaurant percentage for the shopping center.
“We raised it with Chop’t to 31.8 percent on a site-wide basis where 45 percent is allowed,” said Blackburn. “So there will be no change with these applications to the 31.8 percent.”
Other eateries approved by the township and opening soon are Chop’t, which will serve fresh salads and salad bowls marketed as global street food, and Bomba Tacos and Rum, which will offer a fixed taco-based menu, soups, salads and drinks. Menu options will include fillings such as blackened fish, smoked BBQ pork and chipotle mushrooms, plus guacamole, rice bowls, tortas and sides like chile-lime cucumbers and yucca fries.
Both eateries will be opening in a new section of the shopping center adjacent to McCaffrey’s Food Market. Chop’t will open next to Ulta while Bomba will open its doors between Iron Hill Brewery and Mod Pizza.