New building expected to open in August

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FARMINGTON — Construction has started on a new Denny's restaurant here that is designed to enhance the experience for diners.

The new 4,500-square-foot building is under development on the south side of the existing Denny's at 600 Scott Ave.

On Friday, construction workers were continuing to secure framing at the site while customers continued visiting the current restaurant, which will remain in business until the project nears completion.

When the new building is finished, it will have room for 158 people with seating available at tables, booths and along the counter area.

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Jim Coulter, district leader for franchise owner QK Holdings LLC of Holbrook, Ariz., said the new structure will have a dual kitchen with new grills and fryers, which will improve food service for customers.

QK Holdings operates 97 Denny's restaurants in 11 states, according to its website.

In Farmington, the company also operates the Del Taco restaurant on East Main Street.

The new building will have cutting-edge technology and new computer systems that will be connected to the Denny's corporate office to help employees, Coulter said.

General manager Eula Holmes said the new restaurant will feature a larger staff, as the eatery will go from about 40 employees to approximately 75.

Holmes said the current restaurant was built in the 1970s as a Country Kitchen restaurant, then converted into two regionally owned restaurants chains before QK Holdings renovated the location and reopened it as Denny's in November 1998.

The new building was necessary because the current structure is not conducive to the remodel needed to increase business, Holmes said.

"It's been a long time coming. …We're just happy that we're here and happy it's happening," she said.

Construction started the first week of May, and the new building is scheduled to open in August.

Manager Patsy Hunt said many customers ask about the project while others watch the activity from booths that face the site.

"They come in every other day to sit and watch," Hunt said.

The construction work, which has led to the closure of a portion of the parking lot, has not slowed business, Denny's officials said.

"We're holding our own. The people of Farmington have been very accommodating," Holmes said.

She added that neighboring businesses have been cooperative, including the Courtyard by Marriott, which is allowing Denny's employees to use its parking lot.

As the new building nears completion, the old structure will be closed and demolished to make way for a new parking lot.

That lot will have 60 spaces, according to construction plans submitted to the city of Farmington.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

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