WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Lack of a lease agreement between the new owners of the local Sonic Drive-in and the Wyoming Valley Mall’s parent has forced the restaurant to close, at least temporarily.
Qual-Fresh LLC, a Sonic Drive-In franchisee with stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, has acquired former owner NEPA Burgers’ restaurants in Wilkes-Barre Township and Hazle Township, said Sean Kelly of NEPA Burgers.
“Unfortunately due to not being able to come to a lease agreement with PREIT, who owns the Wyoming Valley Mall, they have been forced to close the Wilkes-Barre store,” Kelly said.
The Hazle Township location was not affected.
Efforts to reach a spokesperson for Qual-Fresh LLC were not successful Friday.
Amanda Hoprich, marketing director for Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) at the Wyoming Valley and Viewmont malls, issued a one sentence statement on the situation.
“We continue to work with the buyer and hope we can keep Sonic as a tenant,” Hoprich said.
NEPA Burgers’ Joseph McGrail said the new owners have been working diligently with PREIT over the last several months to get a leasing deal for the Wyoming Valley Mall location.
“It was my understanding that they had an agreement in place which would have kept this location open,” McGrail said.
The website for the Kidder Street fast-food restaurant says the facility is “temporarily closed.” Calls to the company’s corporate office in Oklahoma City, Okla., were not returned.
Lights at the eatery have been out for days, and garbage receptacles have been placed in the driveway to prevent vehicles from entering.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.