Archive for Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Town Talk: Hibachi Grill coming to South Iowa; First Watch closes but plans to reopen; Quizno’s questions remain; another gasoline station shuts down

March 1, 2011, 1:24 p.m. Updated March 1, 2011, 1:40 p.m.


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.


Andini 7 years, 1 month ago

What about the 6th & Wakarusa Quiznos?

crimsonlaugh 7 years, 1 month ago

It's been closed at least a year, I believe.

boxers_or_briefs 7 years, 1 month ago

and closed a second time a month or so ago.

troll 7 years, 1 month ago

"First Watch restaurant, a popular breakfast spot at 2540 Iowa St., has closed within the last few days. "

The last few days? Its Tuesday and I just ate there on Sunday, so it must have closed yesterday or today. It was packed on Sunday though, maybe being closed will make it easier to get a seat :-D

jedifunk 7 years, 1 month ago

The staff was informed on Sunday that the owner had to sell. On Monday, corporate showed up, and by the end of the day they were closed.

pizzapete 7 years, 1 month ago

Germany isn't exactly known for its quality of food. There aren't a lot of British restaurants around either for the same reason.

LogicMan 7 years, 1 month ago

Apparently Pete only goes for Pizza ...

Try some good, true german sausage, etc. And don't forget a beer too.

The new Schlitterbahn was going to have a shopping area. Anyone know if it's been built yet, and will there be german restaurants?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

" And don't forget a beer too."

Breakfast of Champions!!!

Scott Morgan 7 years, 1 month ago

German food is very popular in other areas of the country. Dies gutte

pizzapete 7 years, 1 month ago

Hey, I'm not forgetting the beer, that and...

parrothead8 7 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence thinks it is a quaint European village?

Lori Nation 7 years, 1 month ago

so what happens to the first watch employees jobs??

LogicMan 7 years, 1 month ago

First they watch them go away, then hopefully come back under new management.

bananarepublic 7 years, 1 month ago

They are all in limbo. The building manager has no idea what he is talking about. The Journal World should do a better job of talking to the people who are actually affiliated with the restaurant and not someone who lives out of state. Corporate has taken over the restaurant but has not set any sort of time table on when they plan to reopen.

troll 7 years, 1 month ago

It is very unfortunate, but hopefully all of the First Watch employees were laid off. It would be more responsible of the management to lay off the staff with only one days notice than to tell them "you still have a job, just not right now, and we hope to be open again in between 10 days to two weeks, so don't go get another job yet, just wait and we will let you know."

Of course this "town talk" sometimes seems to be just hearsay, so hopefully the situation is better than described for the First Watch employees.

jafs 7 years, 1 month ago

I wonder why that would be the case - they're always quite busy.

jmadison 7 years, 1 month ago

Removal of $700,000 via new property taxes by our county commission is most likely not helpful to discretionary spending in Douglas County. Expect a greater number of restaurants to go under until the economy improves and people start spending again.

blindrabbit 7 years, 1 month ago

First Watch, too much like Perkins, IHOP, Cracker Barrel and the rest of the country wide chain eateries; food is kinda "plastic". What Lawrence needs is a couple of old fashioned cafes and/or diners. Now have to go to Eudora, Tongie, Grantville and beyond to get the real goods.

Fitmiss 7 years, 1 month ago

I hope it's not gone for good. It's one of the few places in town where you can get a healthy breakfast and the staff is more than happy to make it your way. I will be very sad if they don't reopen.

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