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Big changes are in store for local restaurants Popeye's and Chick-fil-A

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The temporary restaurant made from shipping containers will be brought up from Newnan when the Rome Chick-fil-A on Shorter Avenue is demolished. (Contributed photo)

Changes are coming this summer to two Shorter Avenue restaurants.

The West Rome Popeye’s, closed since a fire last year, is expected to reopen as a Burger King. And the iconic Dwarf House will be demolished and rebuilt as a new type of Chick-fil-A.

Rome-Floyd County Building Official Howard Gibson said Monday he’s received preliminary filings on both locations, although no permits have been issued. He’s expecting plans for Popeye’s from GPS Hospitality as early as this week.

“The building is in good shape, mostly smoke damage, so it’s going to be a normal remodel,” he told members of Rome’s Community Development Committee.

When the restaurant at 2207 Shorter Ave. caught fire Sept. 2, 2016, two bags of cash went missing. Police arrested the manager, Kelvin Marquez Thomas, in December and charged him with second-degree arson, theft by taking and criminal damage to property. Thomas’ trial was pushed back twice and a new date is pending.

Jason Brown with GPS Hospitality called the switch to Burger King “a proposed project” and said an official decision is still a few weeks away,

“We’re just in the planning and permitting stage now, to see how it budgets,” he said.

Founded in 2012, Atlanta-based GPS Hospitality is a Burger King and Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen franchisee with 385 restaurants in 11 states.

In December the company bought 194 Burger Kings across the Southeast.

It was unclear Monday what would happen to the existing Burger King that is across Shorter and slightly east of Popeye’s.

The Chick-fil-A project, at 264 Shorter Ave., will mean a completely new restaurant.

“But they’re planning to have a temporary set-up on site during construction, so they can still serve food,” Gibson said.

The temporary restaurant, made of five shipping containers, is currently in use during a makeover at the Newnan restaurant. It serves nearly two-thirds of the normal Chick-fil-A menu through a drive-thru window, according to the company newsletter, The Chicken Wire.

Ben Farrer, general manager at the Dwarf House, said work there would start when the Newnan project is complete.

The newsletter put construction time at “approximately three months,” which would be in early July — although Farrer said it could be a little longer.

“I was just down there and they’re still doing work underground,” he said.

Asked if the new restaurant would be a Dwarf House, Farrer said the details have not yet been finalized.

“We’ve been looking at a couple of different designs that stay true to Mr. Cathy’s vision,” he said.

Since Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy opened the first Dwarf House in Hapeville, the company has introduced concepts such as Truett’s Grill and Truett’s Pizza.

The Newnan-Times Herald reported that Newnan would have the first Truett’s Chick-fil-A — similar to a standard Chick-fil-A but with “some new, kind of exciting items,” according to senior project coordinator Julie Lindeman.