For the last 50 years, Kings Family Restaurant has had an enormous footprint within the Pittsburgh area as one of the area’s premiere casual, family-style restaurants.
On Monday though, the footprint got significantly smaller.
Earlier this week Nick Hrehovchak, the director of operations for Kings Family Restaurant, announced that five Pittsburgh area locations have been closed due to financial and leasing issues. In total, the Bridgeville, Wexford, Imperial, Harmarville and Altoona’s Sixth Avenue location were closed. The company noted that many of the affected employees would be transferred to a neighboring location.
With the closings, Kings Family Restaurant still operates 25 restaurants and those locations will get some upgrades, according to Hrehovchak.
“Kings will still be the same concept, with some menu upgrades,” Hrehovchak said. “The improvements will begin in a couple months.”
Ultimately the main reason for the closings appears to be an issue with the leases and a disagreement with the founder of Kings Family Restaurant – Hartley C. King.
“The five stores were under a lease, and all five leases expired. It was a business decision,” Hrehovchak said. “The remaining 25 restaurants will be stronger.”
King, who started the popular chain in 1967 and sold the Kings franchise to Kelly Companies in North Versailles just two years ago, retained ownership of the buildings that housed the five closed restaurants and was leasing them to Kelly. But unfortunately the two sides couldn’t work out an agreement on an extension, which caused the closings.
“They (Kelly) asked for a reduction in the lease, and I accommodated them for one year. Then they wanted two more years,” King said.