A Kelly’s Roast Beef franchisee hopes to bring the concept to Salem. This will be one of the chain’s first locations outside the Bay State.
The plan calls for redeveloping a former Burger King location at 181 South Broadway, next to Market Basket.
The iconic Boston-area chain launched a new franchising business in 2020. Along with New Hampshire, the franchising expansion focuses on southern Florida, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Kelly’s Roast Beef claims to be the inventor of “the modern roast beef sandwich.” Other dishes include New England seafood favorites such as lobster rolls, fried clams, fried scallops and fish sandwiches.
The restaurant will be operated by Massachusetts-based AAM15 Management, a hotel developer behind the Residence Inn in Manchester.
The Burger King closed several years ago, according to Ross Moldoff, planning director.
The plans need approval from the planning board to reconfigure the parking lot, circulation and drive-thru lanes. The meeting is scheduled for Dec. 14.
“They are redoing the exterior facade of the building,” Moldoff said.
The plan calls for 40 seats indoors and 28 outdoors, according to the plans.
Neil Newcomb, CEO of Kelly’s Roast Beef Franchising, said another agreement has been reached to open a Kelly’s in University Park, just outside of Tampa, Fla.
The two will compete to be the first to open outside of Massachusetts, he said.
The company hoped to open 50 restaurants in the first five years.
“COVID slowed us down,” said Newcomb, noting previous restrictions on indoor dining and lack of workers.
The old Burger King location has access to a legal U-turn, he said.
“We are really excited about the location,” he said.
The first Kelly’s Roast Beef opened in Revere, Mass., in 1951 as a hot dog stand. Founders Frank McCarthy and Ray Carey worked together at the Paul Roger House in Revere Beach and created the iconic roast beef sandwich one night after a wedding was canceled.
The two took the roast beef from the event over to the hot dog stand and served it on a grilled hamburger roll, according to the company.
Other Massachusetts locations include Danvers, Medford, Saugus and Logan International Airport.
The brand has been mentioned in NBC’s sitcom “30 Rock” and the movie “Good Will Hunting.”
Newcomb is glad the franchise will bring new life to the vacant building.
“I can’t wait to sell roast beef sandwiches there,” he said.