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Rest area features restaurants new to the East Coast

A recently-opened Trout Run stop-over has brought three restaurants to a small town. Not only are they new to the area, but new to the state at large.

Fatburger, Buffalo Express and Yogurtland all opened under the same roof, at 169 Route 14, on June 12. The well-known franchise Subway opened along with them, and the facility comes replete with an Exxon Mobil gas station, convenience store and a soon-to-be beer store.

Former California resident, now general manager in Trout Run, Nono Khosa said she had owned the property since 2008, but recognized it needed a face-lift and noticed the opportunity to bring little-known franchises to the area.

“It’s been a rush,” she said. “This is a unique idea, to give people choices and different kinds of food, especially ones that aren’t from here.”

Through her experience with opening six other FAT Brands Inc. restaurants — the parent company of both Buffalo’s Express and Fat Burger — Khosa said she’s developed a good working relationship with the corporation and this has led to industry standard food.

“We’re getting such a positive feedback from the community for not only that burger, but also because it’s a new concept,” she said.

The locals are thrilled, not only for new places to eat, but a new place to work.

“I think that’s the part they like, a nice environment, close to everybody’s home, and even for employment, so many people are walking in for applications,” said Khosa.

Mackenzie Livermore, of Trout Run, will be attending Lock Haven University to study occupational therapy. She is one of the expected 30 people to be employed at the restaurants.

“I’m really excited to work here,” she said. “I need money for college and I get a lot of hours.”

The close proximity also makes for an easy commute, she said.

With the restaurants pulling from a smaller community, many of the young workers know each other from school, making for a comfortable environment.

Mackenize Livermore said she was pleased to be working with her sister, Madison.

With so many new employees, Khosa said corporate had a week of training for new staff to ready themselves for the lunch and dinner rush.

“We had a lot of support from all (the franchises),” she said. “I want to make sure we adhere to the brand standards to serve, not only good quality food, but also safe food.”

The community response has been great and Khosa said she belives it will only get stronger as the stop-in becomes more established.

“We are trying to make it a nice place for people to hang out.” she said. “All this is to make a hub, or pitstop for everyone. To provide a good restaurant with good service to develop a captive audience.”

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