Seven Things That Could Replace the Old Pizza Hut in Westbrook, Maine
The longtime Pizza Hut location in the Westbrook Crossing Plaza is officially relocating. The move will be a downsizing of operations for the Westbrook Pizza Hut, turning it from a dine-in location to more of a carryout and delivery option. The good news for Pizza Hut fans is that it's moving right next door. Pizza Hut will occupy the old Supercuts location inside the mini mall right next to their current location.
What will replace Pizza Hut? Unlike the Shaw's location in the same plaza that has been vacant for more than a year, the Pizza Hut space is far more likely to be filled and be filled quickly. But with what? Because Pizza Hut's older buildings were customized, there's only a handful of businesses that can take over the space and use it effectively.
Here are seven ideas for what could replace the old Pizza Hut location in Westbrook, Maine.
Another obvious vacancy that would check the boxes for the drive-in franchise Sonic. Sonic locations typically require a handful of things, like lots of space for both a drive-thru lane and a drive-in area. Not only that, Sonic likes to be near a highway or busy stretch of road. There's plenty of parking space around the old Pizza Hut building, and while a few things would definitely need to be reconfigured, it would be a perfect landing spot of Maine's first Sonic.
New England certainly runs on Dunkin', and while there is a Dunkin' location that already exists inside Westbrook Crossing, this would give them a chance to spread out. Many Dunkin' locations in the northeast have become more expansive, with multiple drive-thru lanes that feature app order pickups. The Dunkin' at Westbrook Crossing is busy, and moving into the old Pizza Hut would give them more space to spread out traffic.
Sea Dog Brewing
If you haven't noticed, Sea Dog Brewing Company has been aggressive in recent years with their expansion. Sea Dog purchased the old Easy Day location in South Portland, and most recently moved into the former Famous Dave's in Scarborough. The old Pizza Hut building checks a lot of boxes for a restaurant/brew pub like Sea Dog to consider. The one question mark is whether there would be an embargo, since the new Rio Bravo restaurant would be right next door.
This will probably strike most people as a boring option, but gas stations remain needed, especially directly off the Maine Turnpike. In this particular area of Portland and Westbrook, there's only a pair of gas stations nearby. Given the amount of space available, an ambitious entrepreneur could open a hybrid gas station that features a food option or two inside. It's not sexy, but it's needed.
If you've ever stood in line for seemingly forever at the Panda Express location inside the Maine Mall, then you know this is a viable option. Mainers love Chinese food and yet, there's no standalone Panda Express location in all of southern Maine. In other states, Panda typically teams up with another restaurant to take over a vacant space like the old Pizza Hut building, so they probably wouldn't come alone.
This pipe dream is almost certain to not happen, but it would be a great place for Blaze Pizza to land. The fast growing chain plans to open three locations in Maine, and Westbrook Crossing would be ideal for many reasons like its proximity to the highway, being close to several towns like Gorham and Windham, and more. And the transition from one pizza restaurant to another makes too much sense. Since Pizza Hut isn't leaving Westbrook Crossing altogether, this makes it highly unlikely.
Housing is always needed, and while Westbrook continues to be one of the most aggressive cities in southern Maine to approve developments, more housing is always needed. As the neighboring Rock Row development builds out, Westbrook Crossing may need to adapt their large plot of space. With Shaw's gone, the back half of Westbrook Crossing could be seen as an opportunity to build up. A mixed-use development could fetch big bucks and draw more people to the area.