A new place for sports fans to gather

Monday, August 18, 2008

Football season is almost here, and that means long Saturday and Sunday afternoons spent with friends eating bratwurst, pizza and potato chips in front of the TV. For those looking for a place other than a living room to cheer on your favorite team, check out the new sports pub at 1812 Carondelet Ave. off North Kingshighway.

Beef O'Bradys is planning to move into the 3,510-square-foot restaurant, near Casa Mexicana. The first such franchise in the state, the family sports pub will feature 21 big-screen LCD televisions and memorabilia from Southeast Missouri sports teams. Beef O'Bradys is scheduled for a mid-to-late September opening and will operate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.

Also decorating the walls of the business will be a Perryville (Mo.) High School football jersey, an autographed Scott City High School state championship baseball jersey, a Cape Girardeau youth soccer league team jersey and other items.

"We are wanting to stress a community atmosphere here," co-owner Lee Hillman of Cape Girardeau said. "We'll try our best to put up on our walls any sports jerseys or items from people in this area."

Though Hillman never has owned a restaurant before, he has experience working in the food industry. When Hillman and co-owner Robert McGillivray of Sikeston, Mo., first explored the idea in January 2007, they believed Beef O'Brady's would thrive in Cape Girardeau. While delays prevented the restaurant from its planned December 2007 opening, the owners were able to obtain a building permit in June for the $160,000 project.

"This is a restaurant badly needed in Cape Girardeau," Hillman said. "We hope that folks will one day say that B's is the place to meet."

* General store to open in Jackson: As a small lad, I spent many lazy summer afternoons drinking slushes and eating old-fashioned candy at a local general store in Clinton, Miss., so when I heard that a general store was opening in Jackson I naturally felt a bit excited.

Gunner's General Store, 212 W. Main St., is scheduled to open Wednesday or Thursday. Among the wholesale and discounted items the store will stock are fishing equipment, tools, housewares, purses and toys. Patrons may visit Gunner's Monday through Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

* Huddle House ready for Southeast students: Roughly six weeks has passed since the area's newest restaurant specializing in breakfast opened at the corner of Broadway and Kingshighway and co-owner Robin Goehman said business has increased since its June 30 opening. As a recent college grad who frequented late-night eateries while at the University of Nebraska, I can attest to the popularity of such 24-hour restaurants. While the hours of 3 to 5 a.m. are normally dead, the rest of the day keeps the crew of 35 fairly busy.

"We offer quality food at a fast-food price," Goehman said. "One feature that's entertaining is that our customers can see the food fixed before their eyes at our grill. But more importantly, our crew who cares about the food and the customers has been the secret to our success."

* Cars galore: A recent announcement by VanMatre Buick Pontiac GMC Cadillac, 511 S. Kingshighway, brought back fond memories of my first car, a 1989 Buick Skyhawk I drove in 1993 as a sophomore while in an Alabama high school. While it's been years since I owned that car, I'll always associate the Buick brand with a positive time in my life.

The folks at the dealership also hope to leave a favorable impression with customers through an expansion of the service department and body shop, now complete after two years. Customers may notice extra parking, a Buick Pontiac GMC Cadillac tower, a new reception area and an area for the display of 18 more cars and trucks.

"It's more than doubled my business," owner Mark VanMatre said. "Our service and parts business has tripled.

"It's been phenomenal," he said. "Now that the renovation is complete, it's like the gates have been opened."

* Transmission speciality shop opens: Speaking of the car business, Darryl and Gina LeGrand have opened a transmission speciality shop 135 LaSalle St. in Cape Girardeau. DL Transmissions offers remanufactured transmissions available for any make and model. The shop specializes in custom-built, heavy-duty and high-performance applications that need more than a "factory-built" transmission.

Business reporter Brian Blackwell can be reached at 335-6611, extension 137, or bblackwell@semissourian.com.

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