Applebees restaurant expected next fall

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

Applebees Neighborhood Bar and Grill will open east of Interstate 29 in the fall if all goes according to plan, say the Brookings city manager and Applebees officials.

Applebees will be only the third chain family restaurant in Brookings after Perkins and Country Kitchen.

“I think it’s going to be one of our best stores,” said Todd Porter, president and owner of Porter Apple Co., which owns all Applebees in South Dakota. “I think Brookings is a perfect match for Applebees.”

The restaurant will be located northwest of the Fairfield Inn and southwest of the existing Cenex convenience store. Ground will be broken as soon as weather allows and construction should be completed in July or August.

Last year, Applebees and the city of Brookings hit a snag involving language in the liquor license license which gives the city the right to terminate an existing liquor license.

Brookings is able to do this because the only liquor license in Brookings is owned by the city itself.

“We issue an agreement to anyone who sells liquor,” said city manager Mike Williams. “We are allowing that entity to sell liquor on our behalf.”

Because of this relationship between city and liquor-serving business, the city can maintain a degree of control over the business that would not be expected by an Applebees in Sioux Falls, where the restaurant owns its own liquor license.

The city and Applebee’s were able to work out an agreement. The city pointed to its successful record with liquor licenses. Brookings has never yanked a liquor license from a business unless that business violated the agreement with the city of Brookings or the law.

“If we look back in the history of this city, it has never terminated an agreement unless they had cause,” Williams said.

After that was settled, another hang-up occurred when Porter had to get permission from Applebee’s International to build a prototype building, which will be different from any other Applebees. He has since received this permission and is awaiting the final plans.

The Brookings Applebees will have a bar that is separate from the dining room and a closed deck.

“It will have satellite TVs … a more casual atmosphere … a lot of tap beer … (and) a closed deck,” Porter said.