The former Queen City Family Restaurant at Route 10 and Lancaster Avenue in Reading is set to become a medical marijuana dispensary following the property's sale in January.

The new dispensary, Goodblend, is expected to open later this year after renovations to the 4,500-square-foot building are complete, according to a news release.

Queen City announced its closure on Jan. 6, one day ahead of the completed sale to Vision Development & Management, a commercial real estate firm based in Orlando.

Elsayed "Steve" Elmarzouky, who owned the restaurant for 30 years, sold the property for more than $1.9 million.

Two weeks later, Vision announced a long-term lease agreement with Goodblend, a subsidiary of Parallel, a cannabis company headquartered in Atlanta.

Representatives for Parallel and Vision did not respond to inquiries about the transaction or dispensary.

Elmarzouky continues to operate the Heidelberg Family Restaurant near Robesonia.

The sale could be construed as a sign of the times, in terms of both the challenges restaurants — and diners in particular — continue to face from the pandemic, as well as the high visibility such a prominent location will give a pot brand.

The building is at the busy intersection and is one of the first things drivers see when heading south after exiting Route 422 or coming over the Bingaman Street Bridge.

Parallel has been laying the groundwork for Goodblend's entry into the Pennsylvania market, though.

In August, the Pennsylvania Department of Health gave approval for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Goodblend to conduct a clinical research program to study the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Parallel will provide the university $3 million in funding as part of the 10-year agreement — the first state research program to pair academia and a certified grower and dispensary.

While Queen City did not explicitly point to COVID as the reason for the restaurant's closure and sale, numerous Berks County diners have ceased operations in the past year.

Some shut their doors permanently, while others are trying to wait out pandemic-imposed occupancy restrictions and general consumer concern over going out to eat.

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