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March 21, 2013

New building proposed for deposed Burger King site

After eight years as an empty building gathering dust, a proposed development might mean that it's time to say farewell to Rochester's deposed King.

This royal saga begins with an ending, so here's a slightly condensed version of the history to provide background for the new chapter.

DeposedbksiteIn 2005, the Burger King at 4107 U.S. 52 N. closed its doors after a dispute between franchisee Road Corp., which was owned by Girish Dharod, and the royal fast food corporation ended with all five of Rochester's BKs being shut down.

Burger King shifted the Rochester area franchises to the Twin Cities-based Dolphin Corp., which quickly re-opened three of the five restaurants.

The two others — the North 52 location and the one at 615 S. Broadway — were owned by the Dallas, Texas-based Z’s American Properties. Z's American Properties is owned by Sunil Dharod, Girish's brother.

Eventually, a real estate auction of the two ex-BKs was held in 2006. Dolphin was the top bidder, but Sunil Dharod later rejected the bids.

A frustrated Greg Dolphin said he was ready to “go back to the drawing board" and pursue other Rochester sites to open more Burger Kings. True to his word, Dolphin is planning to build a new restaurant on a long empty chunk of land at the corner of 12th Street Southeast and Marion Road Southeast. When completed, it will be the new home for the BK that's now based in the nearby Cub Food Plaza.

ExbkplanIn the ensuing years, the South Broadway building became the Tex-Mex eatery Rico Mex. That closed in 2008. It was bought up by the University of Minnesota Rochester and demolished to clear the way for a future campus.

Meanwhile, Sunil Dharod's other building sat quietly, tucked away in its nook on the U.S. 52 frontage road

That could all change now that Z's American Properties has filed plans with the city to build a 7,400-square-foot complex. The plans show it split into two units — a 2,400-square-foot restaurant and a 5,000-square-foot retail site. Rochester's McGhie & Betts is handling the design duties.

The building plans were filed with the city this week, so it might be a while before anything happens at the faded fast food site. If the plan does move forward, it'll be interesting to see what restaurant might open there.

Like his brother, Sunil Dharod was a franchisee with Burger King. At one point, he had 18 BKs as well as many Applebee's restaurants. His BKs were auctioned off in 2011. The Dallas Morning News described the split as being "Beset by lawsuits, slumping sales and hard feelings."

Sunil Dharod still has his flourishing portfolio of 43 Applebee's, all of which are in Texas. However, an Applebee's doesn't seem a likely candidate for the new spot, since one is already cooking across the highway. Since the plans include a drive-through window, it looks like some sort of fast food entity is in mind.


So if I am reading the submitted plans correctly, there would be a right turn lane with an island onto 41st from East Frontage? Am I also seeing a divider on East Frontage in front of the proposed property and the former Taco Johns?

If I was to hazard a guess, a coffee place like Starbucks or Caribou could be there in the restaurant spot. Yes, Caribou is over on Marketplace right now but there's no drive-thru window and the access off Marketplace is bad which would make this an ideal location (think of Caribou in the 2.0 area)

The stores would be facing a slight hill off 41st and not be easily seen from the road which would be a strike against it.

Hopefully the intersection is redesigned.

Chris - excellent thought. I would dare say Starbucks, as they only have one "real" store in town. I have seen many Starbucks signs around places I visit which appear at an almost absurd height, so they may be able to overcome the location with their signage.

It is about time they did something with that! That is such a great location (minus the obvious troubles of leaving the parking lot.)

Maybe the DQ is moving over, so they have more room for everyone so we don't have to line up in the street! Hah!

Josh - I think the DQ is going to stay where they are. In fact, they're now also serving Orange Julius.

I see utter failure with this plan. Just sell it to Dolphin already, and eliminate your losses on it


Chris - I agree they will stay, just wishful thinking :). I was aware of that and excited! Not as great as the mall, but happy to see it thrive and grow.

I hope its a Sonic or some local eatery. Getting sick of the same 3 chains ha.

What about the old Hardees on South Broadway & 12 St SE? I thought I saw a leased sign there.

Denise - The leasing agent at Paramark says the deal to lease the old Hardee's is not done

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