DQ Grill and Chill to re-open in new location

The Middletown DQ Grill and Chill is making a comeback, locating in a soon-to-be constructed building on U.S. 301 in front of Amazon.

A new restaurant, called Steak ‘n Shake, will occupy the former DQ building, also on U.S. 301, near Arby’s.

Preliminary work has already started for the new DQ Grill and Chill site in Middletown. According to Mike Jordan, who owns the business with his partner, Charlie Fisk, the ground has been cleared and prepared for installing the footers and underground work.

The new DQ building, across from the Texas Roadhouse, will be constructed starting the week of Jan. 8 and it should be open April 1 unless bad weather causes a setback, Jordan said in an interview on Dec. 29.

It will be the seventh Dairy Queen that Jordan and Fisk own. They also have four other existing DQ locations in Delaware and two in Pennsylvania. In all of the locations, only three of them are DQ Grill and Chill sites. The rest mostly serve ice cream.

In the middle of last July, the DQ moved out of its 301 location. The lease was up, and it wasn’t renewed, Jordan said.

Since then, the building has remained vacant and even the signs were taken down, leaving many to wonder where the Middletown Dairy Queen would go.

In its place will be a Steak ‘n Shake, part of a chain of franchised restaurants worldwide known for “steakburgers” and hand-dipped milkshakes.

“We are looking forward to this opportunity in Middletown, Delaware,” said Sharath Ponnamaneni, Steak ‘n Shake operating manager, who will own the business as a franchise with a group of investors.

The building, with about 3,600 square-feet, will have indoor seating and a drive through like Dairy Queen had.

“Right now, we are applying for permits to do renovations inside,” Ponnamaneni said.

He expects the new restaurant to open late next spring. He is planning to open six or seven other Steak ‘n Shake restaurants in Dover, Wilmington, and in the Rehoboth Beach area over the next five years. There are no Steak ‘n Shake locations in Delaware.

Steak ‘n Shake was founded in February 1934 in Normal, Illinois. Gus Belt was Steak ‘n Shake’s founder and would wheel in a barrel of steaks (including round, sirloin, and T-bones) and grind the meat into burgers right in front of the guests, according to the company’s website.

Steak ‘n Shake Operations, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Biglari Holdings Inc.