It was a sudden closure in April of 2019 that left the Greater Oneonta, NY community reeling in disbelief, myself included. I'm referring to Friendly's Ice Cream Store and Restaurant on Oneonta's Main Street. My family is still feeling the loss of this restaurant because not only did my husband and I bring our two kids there on countless occasions as treat after a doctor or dental visit, or just because we wanted a treat, but it was also a place where I would go with my friends for an ice cream sundae on a Friday or Saturday night. In a nutshell, it was a place where wonderful memories with family and friends were made.

When it suddenly closed, we all wondered, "where are we going to go now that would be the same?" Ultimately for our family, there was no close replacement. There really was nothing quite like Friendly's and there still isn't. That doesn't mean we don't have great restaurants or awesome ice cream parlors in Oneonta, because we do. It's just that there's no year-round eatery that has been able to replicate Friendly's concept of fun, casual dining for friends and families.

With all that said, I've noticed some activity this month at the long-closed eatery with a giant dumpster now filled with items following a cleanout. A Facebook post by local resident Paul Singh on the Milford, NY - Community Directory page, reveals that he is the new owner and was giving away items from the former restaurant and is also asking people want kind of business they would like to see go in there. I reached out to Paul Singh and he shared with me that he hasn't made a decision yet and has ruled out bringing in a national franchise because of the high expense and what would be required. As a longtime Oneonta resident and someone who enjoyed Friendly's on occasion, he would like to open a business that would be like Friendly's - a place where "people can have a good time and make memories." Singh says "This would be our goal in the next 3-5 years".

Now's your chance to voice your opinion on what you would like to see at the former Friendly's location.

If only we could bring something like Friendly's back! That's just my two cents. What do you think? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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Below is a haunting photo of the interior of old Oneonta Friendly's before being gutted. The restaurant was closed so suddenly that a child's Friendly's coloring page was left unfinished on one of the tables in the restaurant according to Singh.

via Garpal Paul Singh, Milford, NY - Community Directory, Facebook
via Garpal Paul Singh, Milford, NY - Community Directory, Facebook
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