Posts Tagged ‘Abandoned Restaurant’

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The Abandoned Marlborough Commons

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Marlborough, Connecticut, is and always will be my home at heart. I grew up here. I spent my entire childhood and young adult life here. I know this town like no other, especially growing up in the time where kids used their bikes to get everywhere. But as much as I love this little town, so many things have changed about it. Many of the smaller local businesses are no more. Construction is underway on a large supermarket. And many of the people I once knew have moved on. It is simply the way of life. We have covered the abandoned Marlborough Commons shopping center in the past. But several years later, it has taken a grim turn for the worse.

 A mere stone’s throw from the now hustling and bustling center of town lies the now abandoned Marlborough Commons. I can’t tell you exactly what year it officially went under, but I do know that this place never quite picked up traction as a local business. Maybe it was their location, sitting pretty right off the entrance/exit ramp from Route 2. From what I remember, it was always a two-floor business complex with the restaurant a bit further down the lot. Many different establishments came and went from here, none sticking around for too long. The complex limped on as long as it could, and has now sat empty and deserted for almost ten long years.

On a beautiful summer day in 2017, we decided to pay the Marlborough Commons a visit. Though it is still listed as FOR SALE, we did not encounter a single NO TRESPASSING, KEEP OUT, or PRIVATE PROPERTY sign anywhere on the property. Since the almost three years since our last visit, the Commons has certainly entered a downward spiral. The once minimal vandalism has run rampant at this former shopping center. Windows have been smashed. Doors have been boarded up. Graffiti stains the old brick walls. Farther down the lot, the old cafe is slowly being engulfed by the wild and hungry vegetation.  Nature, much like the vandals, has struck back in a big way.

They say the older we get, the more things we have to leave behind. That’s life. And as my old hometown grows and grows, places like the Marlborough Commons seemingly get left behind. Most of the old businesses I grew up with are now gone. It is sad to see what was once a cornerstone of our local community now sitting in a state of such disrepair. But like I said, a big FOR SALE sign sits out front. The Marlborough Commons is not beyond salvageable yet. I hope to see her rise again someday, stranger things have happened. And if I’ve learned anything growing up in this lovable little community, it’s that you can never count the town of Marlborough out.

Have it Your Way

Visiting the Abandoned Burger King

Written by: Sean L.

Photography by: Amanda H.

    We all love fast food when we’re kids. There’s just always been something captivating about the process that fascinates young children. You drive up to the restaurant, place your order into a talking box, and then drive up to a window where a smiling employee hands you a bag full of food. The chicken nuggets are juicy and plump. The fries are crisp and salty. The milkshakes are thick and chocolaty. Plus you always got a toy with every meal. What kid doesn’t like that? Going to fast food restaurants when I was a kid was always a special occasion, a rare delicacy that you usually got only on your birthday or after a tough soccer game. My personal favorite fast food chain when I was a kid was Burger King. They had slushies, whoppers, and a mascot that was way cooler than Ronald McDonald. But the older you get, the less exciting fast food becomes. I started to sour on the whole subject after having to watch Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me in seventh grade health class. Lately, we’ve started to see the decline of the fast food empire as people become more health conscience.

Founded in 1953, this nationally beloved fast food chain was originally called Insta-Burger King. The original founders were convinced to start the franchise after first visiting the young and revolutionary McDonald’s restaurant in southern California. The name was officially shortened to just Burger King a few years later when ownership of the company changed hands. Unlike McDonald’s which originally served hotdogs, the original menu of the chain was very similar to what it is now. It was known for serving cheeseburgers, French fries, and milkshakes. The flagship of their enterprise, the Whopper, didn’t come about until 1957. Though ownership of the franchise has changed hands many times over the years, the company has always resided in the southern United States. Their original catchphrase has always been “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce. Special orders don’t upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way!” It has since been shortend to just “Have it Your Way!” As of 2013, the Burger King Corporation operates over 13,000 restaurants in over 79 countries. Most of these establishments are here in the United States.

Not all of these Burger Kings survive though, and some are forced to close down. I haven’t eaten at one since 2010 when I got food poisoning from a bad chicken sandwich. Now, that Burger King that I once went to lies empty and abandoned. Though we had driven past many different abandoned fast food establishments, we had never taken the time to do any investigating of one. This particular Burger King was located smack dab in the middle of a busy downtown area in Connecticut. Why it went out of business is a mystery to us. It is in a relatively busy location, and is right off the highway. But with two McDonald’s and a Wendy’s right down the street, the Burger King seemed a bit outgunned. Lately, their menu choices haven’t been exactly appetizing, with things like the French fry burger for 99 cents. The franchise has also faced scrutiny of the years for animal rights violations and a lack of cultural sensitivity in their international locations.

If you didn’t know what it was before, this place would be hard to recognize. It is clearly a fast food building, but there is nothing left to signify it as a Burger King. Every single window and door has been completely boarded up with thick and heavy plywood. All signs and traces of the Burger King name and logo have been removed from the signs and outer walls. The parking lot is slowly cracking due to lack of maintenance. A few handicapped parking signs are still standing though. The building is slowly falling apart, whenever the wind blew the entire building would shake and rattle as if it were about to collapse. A large security camera sits on the back of the building, though it is unclear if it is still operational. We were able to get a peek inside through a large crack in the plywood panels. The inside of the former restaurant sits in complete darkness. Only a few rays of sunlight are able to reach the inside. All tables and booths have been removed, but the counter still remains shrouded in darkness.

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The place is so heavily boarded up and in such a populated area that we did not find any signs of vandalism and attempted entry. The ground was covered in old leaves and a few pieces of trash.  Though there wasn’t much to see here, the most interesting part of this abandoned place was the drive-thru. Fast food restaurants are famous for their drive-thru service, and this one was still intact. Though the drive-up menu has been removed, the clearance bars are still hanging above it. You can actually walk through this abandoned drive-thru, right up to the now boarded up windows where people once paid and received their deep fried goodness. It was kind of a ghostly experience, imagining how many people had driven through here to receive their order. All of the signs for the drive through are still here, each one a simple shade of blue with white writing. There is one indicated “Exit Only” and “Entrance Only.” There is also a big for sale sign out front, though God knows how long that has been there.

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Since we were unable to get inside, the abandoned Burger King is just a giant boarded up building. Our rule has always been never to break into a place, but we will go in if someone else before us has already broken in. This former fast food joint is clearly pretty protected. There are several security service stickers posted upon the outer walls, and a rather wealthy neighborhood of private condos lies right beside it. Though there is a large for sale sign out front, whether it will ever return to its former glory is another question. The answer to that question doesn’t look too promising, as the building slowly begins to crumble. It is now a mere shell of a once proud member of the fast food chain. Their slogan has always been “Have it your way,” but things clearly didn’t go the way they wanted them to. There are no more orders to be made here. The reign of the Burger King is over.

Down Memory Lane

Exploring the Abandoned Marlborough Commons

By Sean and Amanda

I grew up in the town of Marlborough, living there for over twenty years. As a child, it felt like there was no better place in the world to grow up. The typical Saturday would start off by getting our coffee and donuts at Cavalieri’s Bakery. Then we would do our grocery shopping at Pat’s Market. A short drive down the road, we would have lunch at Carilli’s Café. We would do some gift shopping and beanie baby hunting at the fabled Marlborough Barn. We would have dinner at the Marlborough Tavern. Then we’d close out the day with some live music at Pine Needle’s. That was life as a kid in Marlborough, Connecticut. Today? All of that is gone. All of the aforementioned establishments have gone out of business over the last fifteen years. The town that I once knew and loved is no more.

Some places, like Cavalieri’s Bakery and the Marlborough Barn, eventually came under new ownership and re-opened under different names. Pine Needle’s became our town’s resident Dunkin Donuts. The Marlborough Tavern and Pat’s Market still sit empty after several failed re-openings, just waiting for the next entrepreneur to take a chance on the property. But one structure of the town has completely gone under: The Marlborough Commons. Sitting right beside the entrance and exit to Route 2, The Marlborough Commons was a two-floor multi business establishment. Included in their parking lot was Carilli’s Café. This place has been closed for almost a decade. The Marlborough Commons never quite picked up traction economically. Over the years, it limped on with multiple businesses coming and going before finally succumbing to defeat. The gates to the Marlborough Commons are now closed, and a large “FOR SALE” sign now sits out front.

I used to drive by the abandoned Marlborough Commons all the time. I have always wanted to conduct an investigation for the website here. I have never had the opportunity to do any urban exploring within my hometown. After doing some research and asking around town, I was not able to turn up much of any information on the site. There is a posting online listing the property as for sale though. It seems like the place is just a bad memory that this town is trying to forget. There have been a lot of talks over the years about a grocery chain possibly purchasing the grounds and building a new store there. Nothing has ever come of these talks, allegedly due to the poor location and the competition from the neighboring “Stop and Shop” just a few miles down the road in East Hampton.

On a cold December day, we decided to pay The Marlborough Commons a visit. Due to its close proximity to the highway Route 2 and sitting right along the busy Route 66, getting into the Marlborough Commons was a little difficult. There are literally dozens of cars driving by every minute. The local police also have been known to use the lot of the Marlborough Commons to catch speeders. So we had to be careful. The site has always been easy to identify due to the large white sign out front, reading “The Marlborough Commons” in black cursive writing. The sign has sadly begun to fade, and wild vines now grow all over it. The gate to the parking lot is closed and locked, so we were not able to drive directly up the buildings. However there is a small space in front of the gate where a car can easily pull up.

During its heyday, the main building of the Marlborough Commons was home to at least two businesses. There was the law office of Erik S. Young, a local attorney. The signs bearing his name can still be seen. Beside that was the “Memory Lane” scrapbooking store, its white sign and pink wallpaper still beckoning people to come in. There may have been more businesses operating here when the Marlborough Commons closed, but they must’ve taken their signs because these were the only two we could identify. The front of the building is in very good shape. Aside from the cracking pavement and slowly encroaching vines, the Marlborough Commons looks like it could still be in operation. There are no broken windows, graffiti, or liter visible anywhere. This could most likely be attributed to the building’s close proximity to a highly trafficked and policed road.IMG_3103

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The back of the building is a totally different story though. Many of the windows have been smashed. The doors are all boarded up. The paint is rapidly peeling. From the road, the Marlborough Commons looks like it’s still alive. But from the back, it looks ghastly and clearly abandoned. Inside, the buildings have been completely cleared out. All furniture and other items were most likely removed when they went out business, leaving the insides just a barren wasteland. Aside from some liter, it is completely empty from room to room. Farther down the lot was Carilli’s Café. The front of this former restaurant is now completely overgrown with plant life. Every single window and door has been crudely boarded up with cheap plywood. It has clearly suffered from vandalism in the past, as this place was sewn up very tightly with no way in without breaking in.

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While it was nice to take a stroll down memory lane by revisiting the Marlborough Commons, seeing this former corner stone of the town of Marlborough in this state of disrepair was sad indeed. This place was once a busy and bustling part of the community, where people could get some legal counseling, stock up on art supplies, or grab lunch with some friends at Carilli’s Café. Now, it is merely a hollow shell. It has become one of the many great local businesses to have fallen under the crushing weight of the world. Who knows what the future holds for this place. Maybe someday businesses will return, but they most likely won’t. The rest of the town is steadily moving on without it. The Marlborough Commons now waits in disrepair, a grim reminder to the people of Marlborough what our town was once like.

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