Wayback Burgers is coming to Darien.
The Connecticut-based restaurant chain recently announced that a lease had been signed for a future franchise location in the Darien Towne Center at 2445 75th St. It is expected to open by October.
"We're in the process of getting the plans and the permits," Wayback Burgers President Patrick Conlin said. "It is a former restaurant space, so hopefully the construction time is quicker and we can open in time to use that patio before the cold weather."
Now in its 30th year, Wayback Burgers specializes in deluxe hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, shakes and more. Wayback Burger also featured an attention-grabbing nine-patty burger, previously called the "Triple Triple." But according to Conlin, low sales of the Triple Triple prompted it to move off the main menu to mainly become a specialty item for competitive eating contests.
Wayback Burgers entered the Illinois market in 2016 with locations in Naperville (now closed) and then in Oakbrook Terrace the following year. The Oakbrook Terrace location is notably decorated with historical photos of roadside restaurants, but Conlin says the look of the Darien location will be different.
"It has upgraded seating -- banquets, tables and chairs, a community table, upgraded lighting and a curved milkshake counter with short, red leather stools," Conlin said. "We've also moved the kitchen behind a glass wall, so you still see your food being cooked."
Though many restaurants suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, Conlin said Wayback Burgers thrived by partnering with online delivery services like Uber Eats, GrubHub and DoorDash. He also credits restaurants adapting to curbside pickups and localized advertising.
Conlin said that going forth, other Wayback Burgers locations may feature walk-up takeout windows or more patio space to ensure that customers feel comfortable post-pandemic.
"It was a tough year for many people in the restaurant industry, but it was probably our best year in business," said Conlin, estimating that more than 175 Wayback Burgers locations should be open by the end of the year.
"With operations in 31 states and new restaurants extending our footprint nationwide, it's an exciting time to be a part of the Wayback Burgers brand," Conlin said.