NEW BETHLEHEM – It’s the same menu and the same venue, but one local business is sporting a whole new look.

Burger King, located along Broad Street in New Bethlehem, has just completed a month-and-a-half long renovation project that brought changes to the exterior and interior of the popular fast food restaurant.

“I’ve been waiting almost 15 years for this to be done,” Burger King general manager Robin Smith recently said of the renovations. “Everything looks so good. I’m excited it’s finally done.”

According to Burger King district manager Larry Watkins, the “extensive” renovations — completed by general contractor Stan Corp. of Somerset — included work to the building’s outside facade and indoor dining room and restrooms.

“Everything received an entire facelift,” he said, explaining that outside work included a porch expansion equipped with five tables for outdoor seating, roof replacement and the installation of new siding and awnings around the building.

Inside, both of the old restrooms received total makeovers, and the dining room was “modernized” complete with new ceilings, floors, baseboards, front countertop, tables and chairs, and decor. The interior walls were also redone, and changes were made to the layout of the dining room, which increased the total seating capacity from 34 to 43 seats.

“We really wanted to make sure we had more seating for dine-in customers,” Watkins said, explaining that the dining area was modeled after the current Burger King modern image. “The whole dining room was completely gutted and redone.”

No renovation work was required in the kitchen area, he noted.

Despite the magnitude of the renovations, Watkins said, the restaurant was able to remain open throughout the entire process, switching between drive-thru only and dining room only service depending on the project at hand.

“We wanted to be done by the end of the year, and that’s pretty much where we ended up,” Watkins continued. He added that while the majority of the renovations are now complete, plans are in place to repave the parking lot finish up work on the roof when the weather breaks in the spring.

Looking into the future with the new look of the restaurant, Watkins said the local Burger King franchise has committed to staying in New Bethlehem for at least another 20 years.

“The restaurant does well, and we like being part of this community,” he said, noting that he believed it was time to invest some money back into the local establishment with the renovations.

“The community has been waiting for this too,” Smith agreed, noting that she has already received several compliments regarding the remodel from customers.

New Bethlehem’s Burger King restaurant — which employees 23 crew members and six managers — is managed by the Erie-based PEC Management, which owns 31 Burger King locations, including Clarion. Plans are also in place to open a franchise in Butler this summer.

“The company as a whole has been pretty busy,” Watkins said.

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