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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Restaurants

Buffalo Wild Wings Open

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Buffalo Wild Wings has opened in Poplar Bluff in the Mansion Mall shopping center. The first 150 customers won free wings for a year. The restaurant seas 215 diners, and will be open seven days a week. The staff numbers 110 including cooks, cashiers, bartenders and servers. The restaurant is the fourth Buffalo Wild Wings franchise to open in the area since 2002. Other franchises are in Cape Girardeau, Sikeston and Carbondale, Ill.

New owners, new look for B&B

The Bellevue Bed and Breakfast is getting a makeover, thanks to new owners Brian Langlois, his wife Linda Dolan and his aunt, Pat Delks, who have moved to Cape Girardeau from Cape Coral, Fla., after a nationwide search for just the right place.

Part of the makeover, Langlois said, will be an all-vegetarian menu for breakfast. Even if you are the type who can't get going without a few strips of bacon, you won't miss it, Langlois promised. "Most people don't eat a lot of meat for breakfast," Langlois noted. "The meals will be very hearty, very elegant and very well presented."

Langlois and Dolan will occupy one room and Delks will take the carriage house apartment, so the B&B will have three sleeping rooms upstairs and a large master bedroom downstairs, Langlois said.

The partners settled on Cape Girardeau after looking extensively for a business to run that will give them an opportunity to settle into a comfortable lifestyle, he said.

Langlois said their first trip to Cape Girardeau was in October to look over the property, with negotiations for the final purchase beginning after a second visit in April.

The partners bought the Bellevue unfurnished from former owner Marsha Toll, and hope that the antique furnishings with just enough new accents will keep people coming back.

Beef'O'Brady's looks to move to Cape

New restaurant seeking a home: One of the partners in the planned Beef'O'Brady's restaurant franchise in Cape Girardeau said he needs a location for the new restaurant. Robert M. MacGillivray of Sikeston, Mo., and Lee Hillman of Cape Girardeau are partnering in the new venture under the corporate name of Hill-Mac Inc., formed April 10. Beef'O'Brady's is a "family sports pub," McGillivray said. The ambience and competitive pricing will provide the support to make the restaurant a success, McGillivray said. There's no set timetable for opening the restaurant, but he said he hopes to be in business by Christmas.

Pizza Hut closes in Ste. Genevieve; remodels in other locations

STE. GENEVIEVE, Mo. -- Ste. Genevieve has lost one of its eateries with the closing of the Pizza Hut restaurant located on Ste. Genevieve Drive. The restaurant -- along with 10 other franchises -- was purchased by an Iowa-based company, A&D, just two years ago. The company's Missouri Pizza Hut stores in Festus, De Soto, Desloge, Farmington, Fredericktown, Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Sikeston and Poplar Bluff will remain open, and significant improvements and a new location are promised for the Perryville operation.

Pizza Hut has operated in Ste. Genevieve for nearly three decades.

More than half of the employees of the local store will be transferring to other locations, including the Perryville store. That store will be moving from its present location to a site near the new Walgreen's in Perryville.

The Jackson store also has been upgraded, and there will be improvements made to some other stores among those A&D operates in Festus, De Soto, Desloge, Farmington, Fredericktown, Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Sikeston and Poplar Bluff. No other closings are slated.

Nehemiah's diner opens

Nehemiah's Diner, 707 Broadway, has opened in the former Rose of Broadway location. New owners are Shauna Watson and Loyce Poole.

Watson brings the restaurant experience to the partnership -- she owned Drue's Place in Scott City and her aunt owned Nan's in Chaffee, Mo. She's also worked in several restaurants, including the Rose of Broadway.

Poole brings managerial experience. After working many years in the medical field in Southern Illinois, she took a job at Fred's Discount in Anna, Ill., then transferred to be a manager at the Cape Girardeau store on South Sprigg Street.

Poole met Watson while working at Fred's, where they became such fast friends that they often finish each other's sentences. Both explained that they've had some hard knocks, alluding to divorces, children who are dealing with problems and other instances where they stumbled. Both, for example, have been homeless.

Now they are entrepreneurs, a position that seemed unlikely a short time ago, they said.

All the old decor is gone. The walls have been painted, new tile was installed, tables had to be found and everything they needed, from glassware to kitchen equipment, had to be gathered on a tight budget.

But they've had help as well. Don Gannim, owner of Jeremiah's in downtown Cape Girardeau, came through with glassware, Watson said. Old martini glasses have become dishes to serve deserts, for example.

And Watson thanks her landlord, Craig Horky, for giving her a break on the cost of an apartment above the restaurant during the nine months spent remodeling the storefront.

The menu at Nehemiah's will feature sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts, all reasonably priced, the partners said. But simple fare doesn't mean bland, as evidenced by the "equator wings" which Poole described as "really hot, hot, hot wings."

The Rose of Broadway closed in August 2005, followed by the short-lived Chez Natchez.

Transportation

Enterprise to offer deal for airport travelers

Enterprise Rent-A-Car will offer another means of transportation to and from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport toward the end of August at a similar cost of BART's service, according to company officials.

The car rental service is putting together an all-inclusive package so customers in Cape Girardeau can drive back and forth to the St. Louis airport at a lower rate because the company won't have to pay a drop-off fee, which costs between $75 and $100.

When flights touch down, passengers will be able to leave at their leisure, according to Bill Scott, area manager for Enterprise in Southern Missouri. He said travelers have expressed interest in commuting without having to wait up to 90 minutes before or after a flight.

BART travelers are given a tentative pickup time which may or may not have a buffer zone, depending on how busy the shuttle service is that day.

Scott said the company is not trying to take all of BART's business. "It's just an alternative," he said.

Some people would rather be driven and not hassle with parking at the airport.

BART president Kathy Hecht, who acquired the corporation in 2005, said travelers with early flights have been known to take a nap in the van or do work on their laptops. "A lot of people don't feel comfortable driving in the traffic," Hecht said.

Hecht said there's recently been a noticeable increase in BART's business, which can be attributed to Tennessee-based RegionsAir commercial airline terminating its flight service out of the Cape Girardeau airport earlier this year.

In June, BART had 1,232 passengers in Missouri. That number was 998 during the same month in 2006.

The shuttle service also has two locations in Illinois.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car has a location within 15 miles of more than 90 percent of Americans. There is a location on North Kingshighway as well as one at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

October the earliest date for air service

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation, which awarded the contract for air service to Big Sky in March as part of the Essential Air Service program, said that the earliest date for the likely resumption of service in Cape Girardeau is October. RegionsAir, the area's previous air carrier, suspended operations in March under orders from the Federal Aviation Administration over maintenance issues.

Big Sky's president, Fred DeLeeuw, said a lack of qualified pilots is the biggest obstacle to beginning service in Cape Girardeau. Bill Moseley of the U.S. Department of Transportation said the problem of finding pilots is hurting air service throughout the industry.

Under normal circumstances, when the contract for subsidized service is switched to a new company, the previous contract holder continues service until the new carrier can become established, Moseley said. Big Sky, based in Billings, Mont., has told the transportation agency that "their best projection is October," Moseley said.

Several factors play into the pilot shortage, said Tim Bradshaw, airport manager in Owensboro, Ky. AirTran, a low-cost carrier running on major routes, is hiring a lot of pilots, Bradshaw said. Many other qualified pilots who are members of the National Guard or the reserves have been called to active duty with the military in Iraq, he said.

Route AB plan ready, officials say

After years of discussion and planning, the extension of Nash Road through undeveloped land to Blomeyer appears ready to happen, say Missouri Department of Transportation and Cape Girardeau County officials.

The project has been talked about since the time Route AB was extended to the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority in 1999. In those years, the route for the westward expansion has changed, most recently to avoid cutting a piece of prime industrial real estate in two.

MoDOT reached an agreement with the county on the joint project in 2001. Public meetings were held and plans were drawn up before county commissioners expressed concern about cutting the industrial property in two, creating the need to change the route. The project was originally scheduled for completion last year.

County government has already taken the first steps to build the route, which will take Nash Road about 4.25 miles to an intersection with Highway 77/25 at Blomeyer. As part of the project, County Road 220 will be dead-ended at its crossing on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway line, but MoDOT project manager Andy Meyer said the property owners adjacent to the road will have easy access to Route AB.

The road had to be dead-ended because the AB extension will cross the tracks, and federal regulators wouldn't allow a rail crossing to be added in the area.

The county is putting together a legal description of the property it needs to acquire to make the road a reality. Commissioner Larry Bock said he hopes that process will take no more than six months.

The county is responsible for building embankments that will protect the road from flooding and for laying down a gravel roadbed, after which MoDOT will pave the road and accept it into the state road system.

Property at Blomeyer has already been acquired, said Meyer, but MoDOT will hold off on the work until all the needed property is acquired.

MoDOT will pay $800,000 to build the intersection at Highway 25/77 and $3 million for paving, while the county is responsible for the estimated $2 million to purchase rights of way and build the embankments.

U.S. Sen. Kit Bond announced he had inserted $760,000 for the project and $1 million for improvements at the SEMO Port into a Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee spending bill, citing the potential for industrial growth. The money made it out of committee intact and now must be voted on by the full Senate. Bond's office said it's unknown when that vote will take place.

Under the agreement struck between MoDOT and Cape Girardeau County for construction of the road, the county will take over maintenance of the outer road on the southwest part of I-55 at the Route AB exit, and MoDOT will take over maintenance of the extended portion of Route AB.

SEMO Port director Dan Overbey said the port's part of Bond's funds would pay for expansion of the port's River Road, which runs along the Mississippi River to the north and west of the main port facilities and currently serves SEMO Milling's corn milling operation. The money also will be used to pave other existing roads.

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson also secured $1 million for the Nash Road project in fiscal year 2005.

Mitch Robinson, director of the industrial recruiting group Cape Girardeau Area Magnet, said the extension could open up land for an unknown number of new industries at the industrial park, provide improved access to more than 1,000 acres in the area and allow continued growth to the west, since the industrial park is bordered by I-55 on the east.

Contract awarded for U.S. 67 project

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- R. L. Persons Construction of Poplar Bluff was awarded a contract of $1.03 million by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to clear trees along U.S. 67 where two lanes will be added. The project extends from Silva 1.6 miles to Route F in Wayne County. Tree clearing is necessary to prepare the right-of-way for the future grading and paving contract. Work is expected to begin in the fall.

Road to link Kingshighway, LaSalle Avenue

The city of Cape Girardeau is rolling toward a major road project aimed at easing traffic congestion.

The Lewis and Clark Parkway -- a virtual road formerly known as Technology Drive -- will materialize in three phases, with the goal of linking Kingshighway to another yet-to-be-built road, LaSalle Avenue. Lewis and Clark Parkway will cost an estimated $2.4 million.

LaSalle Avenue will give Cape Girardeau drivers access to Interstate 55 at Jackson's East Main Street interchange, which is under construction. LaSalle Avenue, which will cost an estimated $1.2 million to build, will stretch from the 102 mile marker on I-55 to Route W. Lewis and Clark Parkway won't get underway until LaSalle Avenue is at least begun, Green said. That won't happen until engineers complete environmental and cultural studies of the area to meet federal funding guidelines.

Lewis and Clark Parkway will help develop the northwest corner of Cape Girardeau much the way the Siemers Drive area has grown, according to city engineer Kelly Green.


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