Dining and dressing: Hospitality center home to restaurant row, will add clothing stores

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Before the former Holiday Inn was demolished on William Street in Cape Girardeau, officials with MidAmerica Hotels of Cape Girardeau knew its replacement -- Holiday Inn Express & Suites -- would be a magnet for numerous retail outlets, especially restaurants.

What some people are calling restaurant row Bob Hahn prefers to call a hospitality center. Although seven restaurants will be in operation in the area by the end of the year, Hahn, MidAmerica Hotels' vice president of development, said the 18,000-square-foot Park West Centre at 201 S. Mount Auburn Road also will be home to some nationally known clothing stores.

"We had this all planned out when we tore down the Holiday Inn," said Hahn. "We planned to add more restaurants but also the Park West Centre. He said the retail project should be finished by April.

The anchor store will be Talbots, which sells fashionable clothing for women and girls. But an eatery, Honey Baked Ham and Cafe, formerly Heavenly Ham, will soon relocate to the L-shaped building being built directly south of the new Panera Bread restaurant.

MidAmerica Hotels began developing the area in the 1990s. Cracker Barrel was the first restaurant to open, followed by Red Lobster. Texas Roadhouse opened last fall. Panera Bread opened in December, and the Italian restaurant Olive Garden is looking at a March 13 opening.

Hahn said Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits will begin operations before the end of the year. It will be built on William Street between Panera Bread and Olive Garden.

"It will be another restaurant opportunity for the community and the surrounding area," said Hahn, adding that MidAmerica Hotels will own and operate the New Orleans-based franchise. Popeyes specializes in Cajun food such as spicy chicken, butterfly shrimp and jambalaya.

Hahn said Popeyes will be the seventh restaurant to locate in the commercial area near the Holiday Inn Express & Suites and the Victorian Inn & Suites.

"That's why we call the area a hospitality center," Hahn said. "We'll have seven restaurants there, but also two hotels and the Park West Centre. There's variety there."

jobert@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 251

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