By Michael C. Juliano

The Friendly's Restaurant on the Post Road in Southport has closed after almost a quarter-century.

The eatery's sign has been taken down from the building exterior near the Westport line at 3671 Post Road. A sign on the front door tells visitors to go to Friendly's other locations in Darien and Bridgeport.

The closure comes amidst recent reports that Friendly Ice Cream Corp., a Wilbraham, Mass.-based company that owns some of Friendly's roughly 500 locations nationwide, is filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Other outlets are franchise-owned.

The company built and opened the Southport venue in June 1987.

A representative for Friendly Ice Cream Corp. confirmed that the Southport location is owned by Ronkonkama, N.Y.-based franchisee J&B Restaurant Partners, but deferred further questions about the outlet to the owner. J&B in May bought 32 Friendly's locations, including several Connecticut stores, with the plan of building 19 more outlets in seven years.

A call to J&B, which owns 65 Friendly's outlets, was not returned.