News and notes from around town:
• It looks like buffet lovers in Lawrence soon will have another choice. There is a new sign out in the Pine Ridge Plaza at 31st and Iowa (the center that houses Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and others) that says a Hibachi Grill Supreme Buffet will soon be opening. The restaurant is taking space in the same strip center that houses Jason’s Deli and Hurst’s Fine Diamonds at 3140 Iowa St.
I haven’t been able to get in touch yet with the owners of the new restaurant, but according to the Internet there are several Hibachi Grill Supreme Buffet restaurants across the country. According to the websites, it looks like they are independently owned and operated, but follow a similar theme. That theme is Asian food and lots of it. Many of the restaurants boasts 12 different buffet tables, plus a hibachi grill where you can watch a chef prepare your order. I’ll let you know if I hear more.
By the way, that was the last vacant space in the Pine Ridge Plaza shopping district, the largest shopping center in the city. To be 100 percent leased in this environment, is pretty rare.
• First Watch restaurant, a popular breakfast spot at 2540 Iowa St., has closed within the last few days. But don’t fear, breakfast fans, a source says it will reopen. Bob Hopkins, the owner of the shopping center, says the corporate offices for First Watch already have agreed to take over the location. But the change in ownership from a longtime local operator to a corporate operator is expected to take 10 days to two weeks to complete, Hopkins said. Hopkins said business at the restaurant had been strong, but other factors led to its sudden closing. He said he’s optimistic about the future of the restaurant.
• Less certain is when or if Quiznos will reopen in the same shopping center that houses First Watch. Hopkins said Quizno’s corporate office has taken over the lease of the restaurant, but it remains closed. He said the company hasn’t indicated to him when it may reopen. Speculation is that Quiznos is perhaps looking for a new franchisee to open the restaurant.
• While we're on that end of town, it is indeed true that the longtime Phillips 66 station at 25th and Iowa streets has closed. A sign on the door doesn’t offer any more explanation than that, but it is just the latest change in what seems to be a quickly changing gasoline station market in Lawrence. Among the changes that we’ve reported recently are: The Pantry, a major convenience store chain bought all the Presto locations; Haag Oil Company bought several BP stations in Lawrence and then closed the BP station near Ninth and Iowa streets, although it now says it has a deal to sell the location; and the Shell station on south Massachusetts closes and then reopens under new management. I don’t know what it means. All I know is filling up my truck is less fun than ever.