Tanger Outlet Center will be operating at 100 percent capacity when a second La Familia Mexican restaurant opens at the center in August.
The restaurant has been in operation in Lawrence for nine years. Owner Juanita (Jenny) G. Reyes-Hepner, broke out on her own in 1987 after working with her family for many years at El Matador restaurant, 446 Locust, which was owned by her parents and is now operated by her brother.
At the same time the new Tanger restaurant opens, Reyes-Hepner plans to open a third site at the junction of U.S. Highways 56 and 59 near Baldwin.
"I tried this once before when I went into partnerships with someone else and I had to pull back," she said. "This time I'm doing it all on my own."
In addition to the downtown location, Reyes-Hepner opened two other La Familia restaurants several years ago: at the Pool Room, 925 Iowa, and at 2424 Iowa. A short time later she closed both locations.
"It was a matter of spreading myself too thin."
This time, Reyes-Hepner said she plans to hire about 40 additional employees to work at the two new restaurants, both scheduled to open in August.
"There's just not enough room here (at the downtown restaurant) for all the customers we have. People just don't have time to stand around and wait," she said.
La Familia will be the only restaurant in the Tanger center, replacing Main Street Eatery.
"We really needed a food service on site. ... A lot of customers have been requesting one," said Sonya Woertz, general manager of the Lawrence Tanger center.
Woertz said now that the current retail space is full, Tanger executives can turn their attention to the planned development and construction of the center's phase two. Tanger's second phase includes about 10 new stores to be built south of the existing center.