After months of great anticipation, shovels have dug in and construction is underway at a totally new site for Freddy's in Joplin, Missouri.

The prototype, free-standing building with a drive thru will replace the original in-line Freddy's location, which was destroyed by the May 2011 tornado.

"The Joplin tornado was a devastating experience for many members of our team, including general manager Meagan Snider, who lost her home, but is credited with saving nearly 30 people who were in the store by moving them to shelter before the restaurant was destroyed," says Freddy's COO Scott Redler."The leadership she displayed is admirable, and we are honored that she is still part of our team."

Snider has been working at the Freddy's location in Pittsburg since the tornado and plans to return to Joplin when the new Freddy's is ready to open.

After the tragic event, Meagan, along with Freddy Simon (cofounder of Freddy's), directed systemwide fundraising efforts, which resulted in a donation to local relief efforts in excess of $19,000 from the Freddy's family and their guests.

The 3,500-square-foot location is on a pad site in a new shopping district that boasts high traffic volumes, a strong mix of family demographics in the area, and quick access from various regions of the city.

Freddy's veteran operator jason Ingermanson leads the project with years of experience in constructing, opening, and managing Freddy's restaurants.

"We have literally heard from hundreds of guests in Joplin wondering when they will be able to sink their teeth into our most popular steakburger offering, the Original Double," Ingermanson says. "We are happy to report that Freddy's Joplin is under construction, and we're hoping to reopen in May.

"We are counting the days now until we are able to again serve our loyal guests in this great Freddy's community," he adds. "The fresh, cooked-to-order food and the full-service feel of Freddy's is the perfect fit for the Joplin market, and we look forward to serving our friends and neighbors at the opening this spring."

Burgers, Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Growth, News, Freddy's