Arby’s grand reopening celebrates Boardman heritage

By Amanda Tonoli


Township Trustee Larry Moliterno renamed Boardman as “Meat Town USA” on Wednesday for Arby’s grand reopening on U.S. Route 224.

The fast-food restaurant got its start in Boardman 52 years ago.

“Today’s grand opening celebrates the restaurant chain’s rich heritage and brings together the many dedicated employees who were instrumental in building the foundation of one of the country’s leading restaurant chains,” he said. “We are very, very proud of the history and partnership with Arby’s.”

Arby’s, 29 Boardman-Canfield Road, was first opened in 1964 by brothers Forrest and Leroy Raffel of New Castle., Pa., across from the current location on Market Street and Route 224 – where Wild Birds Unlimited is now.

Moliterno said the trustees are working diligently toward putting a historical marker on the original property to represent the start of the restaurant chain which was originally named RB’s for the Raffel brothers.

The restaurant had a soft opening Nov. 28 and gave the first 50 guests free Arby’s meals.

Arby’s CEO Paul Brown said the restaurant’s upgrade has been something long awaited.

“It’s great to finally see the excitement from the community that it has around it,” he said.

Brown was excited about the new look – the “Inspire” design.

A high-topped wood surfaced table in the center of the restaurant offsets red metal chairs and black accents on the walls and floor. Large open windows allow an abundance of natural light in, giving the room a bright glow.

As far as windows, Brown laughed that the infamously difficult drive-thru of that location – the drive-thru window was on the opposite side of most drive thru restaurants – is corrected.

“You can finally go the right direction,” he said.

Ken Hannaman, senior director of operations, said getting the building restructured was one of his top-tier goals when he came into his position three years prior.

“I was told countless people before me could not get this done, and I said, ‘Unless [Arby’s] fires me or I quit, I’m going to get this done one way or the other,’” he said.

“We just couldn’t have that building represent our brand.”

The amount of money invested in the rebuilt eatery was not disclosed by the company. Construction started in August and was finished by November.

Hannaman said he was proud to have “ruffled a few feathers” for the better of the business.

“We finally got it done and I’m happy,” he said.