Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Citrus Heights Applebee’s opens Dec. 23, raises $1,941 for charity

Applebee's Citrus Heights
A new Applebee’s along Auburn Boulevard will open on Wednesday, according to a company executive. //CHSentinel

Updated Dec. 27, 2:04 a.m.–
A new Citrus Heights Applebee’s restaurant in front of the Auburn Boulevard Costco store opened its doors to the general public for the first time on Wednesday with 806 diners served, according to a company spokesperson.

An invitation-only fundraiser held the day prior to the official opening reportedly raised $1,941 for a childhood cancer research foundation, according to an Applebee’s news release issued Wednesday. Marketing Coordinator Donna Malmlov said select diners were invited to come try out the menu “on the house” Tuesday, with a suggested $5 donation benefitting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the result of our event,” said Megan Biagi, the new Citrus Heights Applebee’s general manager. “It surpassed what we had hoped for, so this is really great…this will help a lot of sick kids!”

Although originally planning for a November opening, and then a Dec. 21 opening date, Apple NorCal Director of Operations Cas Banaszek told The Sentinel via email Monday that the date was pushed to Dec. 23 due to construction delays. He also said “rain didn’t help.”

Apple NorCal, a franchise operating several dozen Applebee’s restaurants in Northern California, selected Citrus Heights for a new restaurant due to the city’s “excellent demographics,” according to a company spokesperson in February.

[follow text=”Get local news:”]

Banaszek said standard daily operating hours for the new restaurant are 11 a.m. to midnight, but doors closed early for Christmas Eve and remained closed for Christmas Day.

As previously reported on The Sentinel, Applebee’s takes up one of 10 new commercial pads in the zone along Auburn Boulevard referred to in City plans as the “Auburn Commerce District” or Stock Ranch Plaza. According to Citrus Heights Planning Commission documents, the remaining area in front of Costco and Walmart is designated for eight retail spots and one more restaurant.

As of last month, City Senior Planner Casey Kempenaar said no other businesses are confirmed to be locating in the Plaza’s remaining commercial pads — although there has been interest from several “nationally known” restaurant chains and a bank, according to a planning commission report earlier this year.

New construction in the commercial-zoned district is governed by the Stock Ranch Guide for Development, passed by the city council in 2001 and most recently updated in 2015. Development of the area began with Costco in 2003 and Walmart in 2005, followed by city council approval in 2008 for a 14,000 square feet Fresh & Easy store — but those plans fell through when Fresh & Easy’s parent company “announced withdrawal of its development plans in the United States,” according to the City.

Further development in the Stock Ranch Plaza remained dormant until April 2015, when the City gave approval for Applebee’s to begin construction.

Applebee’s “neighborhood bar & grill” markets itself as a casual-dining, family-friendly restaurant, and has grown to almost 2,000 locations since launching nearly 30 years ago.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)