And one week from today, its first new restaurant -- El Fenix -- will open its doors.
Katie Crosbie joins us now with an update on the local restaurant outlook.
Ann, ask anybody and you'll get a different opinion on whether we have too many restaurants that are too similar ... too many choices ... not enough choices ... too many chains ... not enough chains ... but the bottom line is, most people are excited to see the jobs and choices that come with new restaurants.
How is Wichita Falls doing when it comes to restaurant selection? Well, like most things in life, it comes down to perspective --
"By comparison to Poland, they are marvelous, because I came from communist Poland a long time ago, & we had just a few restaurants. And they were rather unattainable. At the time, my parents could not afford to go to the restaurants. That was for elite society. But by comparison to Dallas -- in which i lived for a long time -- it's getting better & better - we're getting more restaurants, more variety."
"We've got too many Mexican restaurants - Kemp - Southwest Parkway here is notorious for em, I mean, you got em side by side up the way. But ... I'm not a real ... fond of all Mexican food. I like a variety, & we just don't have it."
Scott Plowman, who is president-elect of the Texas Restaurant Association, weighed in:
TX Restaurant Assoc. President-Elect
"I think restaurants in general, they're gonna keep coming in - because chains have to grow, & we're at that 100-thousand mark that they look at & think they can do well. They will continue to come, probably a few a year -- I think it's good for the city. If you're doing a good job & taking care of your customers, I think there's enough business to go around."
We wondered if any aspects of the restaurant industry are over-saturated.
"Well, I know we don't need any more sports bars, cause we have plenty of those!" (laugh)
In all seriousness, though --
"Competition makes it better, & I think it's good for the city."
And by the way, Parkway Grill is in the midst of construction to open a second location near Cracker Barrel off I-44.
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