January 17, 2021

Hardee’s a welcome addition on Newton’s west side

Driving on Highway 14 near Interstate 80, Hardee’s is a natural fit for its 1205 W. 19th St. S. location. Nestled on the corner with flags flying, the fast food eatery is right at home after its long-awaited arrival.

Hardee’s franchise Westar Foods initially projected a spring 2018 opening, but the community had to wait a little longer, until January 2019, to enjoy all the restaurant has to offer. Frank Westermajer, president of Westar Foods, said the Hardee’s building is a new prototype designed specifically for the Newton site, making it unique among other franchise locations.

“It’s possibly the only one in existence within the Hardee’s Corporation,” Westermajer said. “It blends past core color elements with a sleek modern décor.”

When preparations for the Newton location began, Westermajer said the Iowa town “was not on the franchisee’s radar at first.” Westar Foods, he added, is currently concentrating on expanding its efforts in Nebraska.

“So when the City (of Newton) approached us to build at the site of an old gas station as part of revitalizing the area, it was hard to say no,” he said. “It’s a way for us to bring the positive image of Hardee’s back to the community.”

Initially, the old Juice and Junk gas station site proved to be a challenge for contractors, inevitably pushing back construction several months behind schedule. Hardee’s was to be built upon an area where there was once an underground fuel storage tank, but the groundwork was not compacted correctly. This proved difficult as the soil would not be able to properly support the foundation of the restaurant.

Revisions were made and it wasn’t long before the new structure was up and preparing for its first customers. On opening day, people lined up before 5:30 a.m. to be the lucky few to earn “free biscuits for a year,” a promotion Hardee’s was running for the first day.

The company also said it is hoping to get out into the community after gettings its footing at the new location.

“After things settle down with the opening we do like to go out and about in the town and see what we can partner with and continue relationships on down the road,” director of marketing at Westar Foods Kelly Lindley said. “In other towns we’ve done partnerships with libraries, fire stations, banks, definitely schools (schools are the main focus for us), pet rescue — whatever we get approached with.”

Several months in, Hardee’s is keeping busy serving up it’s famous charbroiled thickburgers, hand-breaded chicken tenders and fresh baked biscuits to interstate stoppers and members of the community.

Reporter Christopher Braunschweig contributed to this story.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com