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News and notes from around town:
• For those of you who were worried that the General’s Chicken was serving as the general contractor on the project to re-open the popular Peking Taste restaurant, worry no more. We reported in early August that Peking Taste was moving from its longtime home near 23rd and Iowa streets to a new location in the Louisiana Purchase shopping center near 23rd and Louisiana. But then not much happened. Well, now a sign is hung at the location, and interior work on the restaurant is underway. Tony Wang, a friend and translator for the Zheng family that owns the restaurant, said the current schedule calls for the restaurant to be open by the end of October. But for those of you who loved the Peking Taste buffet, I’ve got some news for you. A little bit yin and yang, a little bit sweet and sour, a little bit Charlie’s Angels and Charlie Sheen. (Old school Charlie’s Angels, that is.) The Peking Taste buffet won’t be making the move to the new location. Instead, Wang said, the restaurant will be only carry out, delivery and catering. Wang said the restaurant’s owners were worried that parking in the Louisiana Purchase center was too limited to operate a buffet-style restaurant. But there is a twist to this (actually, a chocolate and vanilla twist.) The Zheng family plans to use part of the space they’re taking over (the former Scarlet Orchid location), to start a new frozen yogurt store. Wang said the company recently decided to get into that business, although the frozen yogurt shop won’t be open by the end of the month.
• Last week I told you about signs that Title Boxing is moving into the shopping center at Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive. (I’m still working on talking to the franchisee.) Well, if your hands need something to do in between jabs and hooks, there’s a new option in the same shopping center — piano. Keys of Joy! Piano Studio opened in the shopping center last month. Evan Hunter — who co-owns the business with his sister Paige Hunter — said the business is trying to popularize a unique Australian-method of teaching piano. The method, called Simply Music, de-emphasizes the need to read music in order to play the piano. Hunter said reading music places such a high emphasis on memorization skills that it leads to a high failure rate.
“When you are reading music, your ability to play the piano often is determined by how well you are able to do all this mental math,” Hunter said.
The Simply Music program, though, emphasizes certain patterns and repetition that gets beginners comfortable with the piano. Then, after about a year, students begin learning to read sheet music. Hunter said you can learn to play a lot even before you learn to read music. In fact, that’s part of the reason the brother and sister duo decided to open the business. Their father had long failed to learn to play the piano, but then took lessons from a Simply Music teacher. He started in January, and already knows 15 to 20 songs.
“Once we saw that, we saw the potential for a business like that in Lawrence,” Hunter said.
The business teaches classes in a group setting. It charges $85 per month for weekly, 50-minute lessons.
• Look for Lawrence’s The Eldridge Hotel to be featured on national television this Saturday. The hotel will be featured on My Ghost Story, a new show airing on A&E’s Biography Channel. The Eldridge will be one of six stories to be showcased on the premier. The show will feature interviews with David Longhurst, the assistant general manager at the hotel, and Vincent Porter, a paranormal investigator who apparently caught some interesting paranormal activity at The Eldridge on tape. You’ll have to tune in for specifics, but I’m told the producers took an interest because of the hotel’s history with Col. Shaylor Eldridge and the part the hotel played in the days leading up to the Civil War. Saturday will be a big night for national exposure for Lawrence. The KU football team will be hosting Oklahoma at 8:15 p.m. in a game that will be shown to a national audience on ESPN 2. Here’s betting that one may scare you too.