FORT WORTH – North Carolina-based Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries has purchased a one-acre pad site in eastern Ellis County to develop the first freestanding, corporate-owned restaurant in its 13-state,160-location portfolio.
Ground will break within three months at the northeastern corner of Interstate 45 and East Ennis Avenue in Ennis. The 2,670-sf restaurant will be joining Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Schlotzky's and Smoothie King in a seven-acre development at the dominant intersection of Ennis' business corridor.
"Hwy 55 looked at all tertiary markets in DFW. Of these smaller markets, Ennis fit the corporate model better than any place else," says Nick Talley, senior vice president and managing partner in the Fort Worth office of Dallas-based Bradford Commercial Real Estate Services.
Talley's client and buyer of record, 113 Whitford LLC, was a referral from Oliver Smith Realty in Tennessee. Jim Jamerson and Chad DuBose of John T. Evans Co. represented the seller, DA Ennis 45 Partners LP. There are one- and two-acre pad sites still available in the as-yet unnamed mixed-use development.
Hwy 55's distinct retro design will be visible from both highways, where the combined daily traffic count is nearly 53,000 vehicles. The ground-up freestanding restaurant will include patio dining space.
The Hwy 55 open-grill diner's vibe is nostalgic, sporting a retro look that includes shiny chrome/stainless steel interiors with tables, booths and counter seating. The menu features hand-made, fresh burgers, hot dogs, fries, shakes and house-made frozen custard. There's also a Hwy 55 "gear" shop of branded wearable merchandise and accessories.
Hwy 55's founder Kenney Moore's first location opened in 1991 in Goldsboro, NC, initially as Andy's Cheesesteaks & Cheeseburgers. After the name changed to Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries, Moore jumped into expanding the concept in the Southeast and adding franchising opportunities, including one in Bedford, Texas.
"Hwy 55's corporate team felt Texas would be a good test market to determine the viability of a freestanding restaurant for the brand," says Talley, one of Bradford's top brokers for land sales. "And, Ennis fit the bill demographically."