FAIRFIELD — Blue Frog Grog and Grill is leaving and Fuddruckers is coming.
Dennis Landis announced Monday that he is selling the restaurant at 1750 Travis Blvd. that he has operated since 1999. The restaurant’s name was inspired by the song “I’m In Love With a Big Blue Frog” sung by the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary.
The Blue Frog will close its doors for good after Mother’s Day on Sunday.
Landis’ history at the Travis Boulevard site goes beyond the Blue Frog. He previously opened a now-gone Marie Callender’s restaurant there.
“We’ve been at it for 25 years,” Landis said. “We started in 1987. My wife and I decided to retire . . . . It’s kind of bittersweet.”
They are happy to be moving on and doing something else, Landis said. But they’ve enjoyed what they’ve done for 25 years and worked with a wonderful staff, he said.
Landis opened the first restaurant in the city’s Gateway area with Marie Callender’s, Fairfield Senior Economic Development Division Project Manager Karl Dumas said.
“He set the tone out there,” Dumas said. “He was a pioneer. He took a chance before anybody else. He saw Fairfield had a good potential.”
Landis will take with him the 3-foot-tall, 300-pound bronze statue of Hops the Frog in the lobby. The restaurant website calls Hops the “host prince” of Blue Frog Grog and Grill.
But the Blue Frog will live on in a fashion. Landis said the new owner will continue making Blue Frog beer.
The new owner is George Almeida, who has been the region’s Fuddruckers franchise owner for about 25 years. George and his wife Becke own franchises in Concord, Walnut Creek, Emeryville and Union City.
Fuddruckers sells burgers with patties ranging from a third-of-a-pound to a pound. It has nearly 200 restaurants in North America.
The Fairfield Fuddruckers should open by late August or early September, Almeida said Monday.
“Fairfield has just always been a market we’ve wanted to be in,” he said. “We have lots of folks who come here to our Concord store and Walnut Creek store from that area.”
Dumas recalled that 10 to 12 years ago, the possibility arose that Fuddruckers might go where Mimi’s Cafe is now located. Almeida also recalled trying to come to Fairfield years ago and talking to city economic development officials at the time.
Almeida confirmed that he will continue to operate the Blue Frog brewery, and with the same brewmaster.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.