Mexican eatery taking place of Shangrila

Monday, March 21, 2005


It's the only Indian restaurant around here that I know of. And now Shangrila is closing.

It opened more than a year ago at Westfield Shoppingtown West Park, featuring tasty dishes like tandoori chicken. Owner Raj Marasini is closing the restaurant at the end of the month, the victim of sparse customers.

Marasini's father-in-law, Jerel Lichtenegger, who helped manage the restaurant, said that they're working out a deal with a man from Chicago, Jose Martin Morales, who plans to put a Mexican restaurant in the spot, hopefully in early April.

But what happened to Shangrila?

"Not enough customers, I guess," Lichtenegger said. "I know we had good customers, and they were special, but there just wasn't enough flow to pay the bills."

Lichtenegger said a lot of people mentioned that the mall may not have been the best location for such a restaurant. Maybe downtown would have been better, he said.

"But I go with the theory that if you have a good product people will come," he said. "We have a good product, but just not enough people came."

"Raj sure tried hard," he said. "He went there seven days a week and put in long hours. It was a hard decision, but we were losing quite a bit of money, actually."

Right now, the plan is just to close and switch over to the new owner.

But don't be surprised if Shangrila pops up somewhere else.

"He still could possibly open up again," he said. "We've got some ideas in the back of our minds. Anything's possible."

* Car-Mart to move to old Breadeaux location: Car-Mart is moving. Tracy Martin, senior account representative, told me last week that the used car dealership was moving from its current location at 134 S. Sprigg St. to the old Breadeaux Pizza building at 1455 N. Kingshighway.

The move will probably take place this week, she said. They have gutted the new building and are making some renovations. They don't expect the business to have to close for the move.

"The new location is going to be a lot better," she said. "There's a lot more traffic out there."

Martin said the new spot will have 20 to 30 cars for sale at a time. The grand opening will be in April.

Car-Mart is a publicly traded company that was founded in 1981, when the first location was opened in Rogers, Ark. Today there are 76 Car-Marts in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana and Texas.

* New land title company: Garrett Schwartz is opening a new land title company in Cape Girardeau this week called Guardian Land Title, LLC, at 1469 N. Kingshighway.

The business will offer title insurance, real estate closings, title searches and escrow services.

"I've been doing title insurance in Cape Girardeau for nearly a decade," he said. "I started as a title searcher and worked my way up through examiner and management."

He worked at two other title companies in Cape Girardeau before starting this company. His employees will be Gail Cassout, who started in lending and then became a closing agent. Adrian Strahan will be the searcher/title examiner.

"All three of us look forward to serving the Cape Girardeau real estate market as we have for many years now," he said.

Potent quotables

* "Call me crazy, but I want ... people to be accountable for their own actions." -- state Sen. Jason Crowell, on the day the Missouri Senate signed off on a measure to overhaul the state's system for handling personal injury lawsuits.

* "This strikes me as an election where a write-in candidate without a criminal history would have a realistic chance of winning." -- Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle, in discussing the two candidates vying for a vacant Ward 3 seat on the Cape Girardeau City Council, who both have been prosecuted for felonies in the past 15 years.

* "You build your own identity by not trying to be somebody else and being yourself. If you're in a big circle, you carve out a smaller circle in that space. ... Don't try to compete, and don't get too caught up in it." -- Stedman Graham, Oprah Winfrey's longtime boyfriend, on maintaining his own identity. Graham is scheduled to give two lectures in Cape Girardeau next month.

Scott Moyers is the business editor for the Southeast Missourian. Send comments, business news, information or questions to Biz Buzz, 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, call 335-6611, extension 137 or e-mail

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