Craig Newman first really indulged in the menu at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Kansas when he was building a competing restaurant next door.
He and the crew ate frequently at Freddy’s and became “almost addicted,” he said.
Newman joined the Freddy’s chain in 2010, opening his first franchise in Gilbert in 2011. He is director of operations for JayToo Enterprises, part of SunStates Custard Management.
This month, Maricopa will be the site of his sixth franchise at 21467 N. John Wayne Parkway.
The exterior is almost complete on the stand-alone building at Maricopa Station. Standing in the middle of interior construction commotion, Newman said the opening date could be as early as the week of Thanksgiving.
“It’s a great community, a growing community,” he said. “It’s somewhere we saw an opportunity to bring a better burger concept to.”
Freddy’s looked at demographic studies of Maricopa and determined the city was not only a good fit for a franchise but was possibly even underserved.
The franchise will hire at least 80 workers. Newman said he received more than 200 applications and plans to begin the interview process on Monday.
The restaurant is 3,953 square feet, including the patio. That creates seating for up to 110 customers. The patio fits six tables, which can seat eight to 10.
“We make everything fresh. Nothing is sand-bagged, as they say in the business,” Newman said.
In a kitchen easily visible from the dining area, burgers are pressed to cook with caramelized edges. Customers can add or take away toppings, even sauerkraut. The frozen custard is also served fresh.
Newman said his personal favorite on the menu is the patty melt, which he modifies with Freddy’s fry sauce. Freddy’s already sells its seasoning by the bottle and is just starting to market its fry sauce.
Operating hours are Monday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Newman said he has worked on getting a restaurant on the location for almost three years. Traffic flow in and out of Maricopa Station continues to be a concern for him, just as it was for the Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission when site plans came before the members in 2014.
“I still think that our product is good enough that our guests will drive around to get to us,” Newman said.
Freddy’s has its own access off SR 347, but only for northbound traffic. Southbound traffic must turn east at Smith-Enke Road and use the CVS access.
“(Maricopa is) somewhere we saw an opportunity to bring a better burger concept to.”
North of Freddy’s is the lighted intersection of SR 347 and Cobblestone Farms Drive. It does not yet have access to the property east of SR 347. Extension of the intersection relies on the development of the property north of Freddy’s.
The 18.56-acre parcel has long been marked as a “future medical campus” for Dignity Health. It was announced as an emergency hospital three years ago, but there has been no movement. Dignity Health did open a freestanding emergency room in Chandler in October.
This story has been updated from a previous version.