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Erwin eatery scheduled for new look, products

Hardee’s in Erwin is going to get a new look, with a new product line added to its menu.

The restaurant will close its doors on Friday morning, Feb. 24, immediately after the breakfast crowd finishes their biscuits, gravy and eggs. The closing is only temporary, with the new restaurant opening on Monday morning, March 5.

The restaurant will reopen as a Hardee’s Red Burrito. In addition to hamburgers, chicken, fries and breakfast items, the new Hardee’s Red Burrito will be adding nachos, burritos, quesadillas, tacos and taco salads to its current menu. These new items will be offered in chicken, beef or steak. The salsa will be made fresh on site. Remodel does not just mean a little fresh paint and a new sign. The plans for the 10-day renovation are to completely “gut the facility, taking everything out back to the studs,” Randy Rippetoe, director of operations for Hardee’s said. New walls, ceilings and floors will be put in, and the area in the front of the store which is now a small closed-in area will be getting windows. “We will also be adding the Red Burrito line to the back of the kitchen,” Rippetoe said. The new items require special cook and prep area.

The remodel will also include new furnishings in the dining area, new lighting, new restrooms, and cable for television and internet. “Televisions will be on so customers can enjoy their meal, and watch the news while they eat.” Rippetoe added. Current Erwin employees will stay on the job, with as many as 10 new employees joining them. Connie Edwards, who has been the restaurant’s general manager for more than 25 years, will remain in that position. “We’re very excited about changing to Hardee’s Red Burrito,” Edwards said. “Everyone here is looking forward to both the new, updated restaurant, and all the great additions to our food menu,” she added. Edwards said the Erwin restaurant has already hired several new employees and will be bringing in more to work with the new menu items. The new employees who will be cooking the new food items, and will be getting their instruction from Hardee’s Red Burrito Trainer Carol Custer. Custer is a Flag Pond resident, who has been involved in the renovation and training at 21 Hardee’s Red Burrito restaurants in many states, including West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce will hold a grand-reopening ribbon cutting on Monday, March 5, at 11 a.m.