Aficionados of fried chicken throughout the area will soon notice a new look to a familiar eatery as Colonel Sanders undergoes a facelift, so to speak.
Storm Lake's own Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant is once again undergoing remodeling throughout the entire front portion of the building, giving the popular Flindt Drive eatery an entirely new look and atmosphere.
One of the longest-running fast food franchises in the area, KFC has undergone numerous renovations during its more than 20 years of existence in Storm Lake. KFC Assistant Manager Neil Reineke said that, although the facility housing the restaurant is in fine condition, it was simply time for a change.
"The owner of this particular restaurant, Syed Raheel, owns numerous KFC restaurants throughout the country, including six in Iowa," Reineke said. "He's doing renovations of all his restaurants, and now it's Iowa's turn."
Reineke said that original plans for the restaurant's renovation included the addition of an A&W restaurant within the facility. However, the plan was scrapped for at least two years while the franchise undergoes testing in more populated areas, including the states of Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arizona.
Reineke said that if success is shown in the experiment, which includes the merging of KFC and Taco Bell restaurants as well as A&W, the Storm Lake restaurant will be among those included in the merger.
Reineke said that additions in current renovations include replacing the restaurant's long-standing solarium with an equally presentable structure.
"The solarium was getting too hard to maintain and keep clean, so we're going to make it more presentable without the glass," Reineke said. "We're going to replace it with a dining section about the same size, but considerably taller. It's been described as sort of 'castle shaped.'"
According to Reineke, the restaurant's exterior will have separate sections, and will resemble the KFC restaurant located in Carroll. Although renovations, headed by Harker Construction of Harker Heights, Texas, have been underway for the past three weeks, he said that there has been no change in business.
"Business has stayed the same even with the construction," Reineke said. "We don't seem to be losing any customers, and we keep a sign out front to remind people that we're still open. As far as we know, the only conflict will arise when we shut down our drive-thru for one evening. Even with that, customers may still come on in."
The restaurant's new look is slated to be complete within the next two weeks.