Like a phoenix from the ashes, New Paltz’s Burger King has risen again — and will be opening soon. Work crews toiled during 90-degree days last week to put the finishing touches on the fast-food joint. According to Town of New Paltz Building Inspector Stacy Delarede, Burger King has received the needed building permit and approvals to remodel and rehabilitate the old restaurant. “Apparently, corporate is requiring the franchise to upgrade the facility,” the building inspector explained. Gone will be that old greenhouse-style sun room, in favor of a more modern-looking BK with a renovated interior and new seating.
As of press time, Ulster County Health Department officials still needed to give final approval to the site. However, the owners of New Paltz’s Burger King hoped they might be able to open this week.
Devs Foods, based in South Plainfield, NJ, runs the shop and a spokesperson with that group said they were glad to be done with the approval process and close to opening.
Behind the King’s (Burger) Throne
During the late 1980s, before Burger King was constructed, the development of another fast-food place in town became a political issue. Republicans, including William DuBois, had supported Burger King. Citizens questioned the restaurant, thinking it might increase traffic or cause environmental issues.
Those concerned citizens, it turns out, included conservatives. Their support of Burger King, along with a failed condominium project, ended up costing Republicans the election in 1987. Democrats won a majority on the Town Board.
In 1988, when Burger King opened up in New Paltz, it did so right across Main Street from its competitor McDonald’s. Immediately following BK’s opening, in what seemed tit for tat, the nearby McDonalds announced its grand reopening. Headline writers of the day pounced on the silliness of the situation, christening the event the “Burger War of ’88.”
The “Burger War” was to be a long one. For more than 20 years, Mickey D’s and BK fought for burger supremacy from across Main Street. While the King ensured that people “had it their way,” Ronald was there making sure people were “lovin’ it.”
When Burger King closed in June 2011, it looked like McDonald’s had finally won. But the new owner took over, and plans for the renovation were submitted to the New Paltz Town Planning Board in January.
Long before the ’80s, before nary a burger was sold, the lot at 238 Main Street had been part of the LeFevre’s farmland and orchards, which now makes up the Cherry Hill district of town.