New restaurants hitting Columbus: What would you like to see?

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - With more people moving to the Columbus area and the dinner wait at local restaurants already long, many folks say we need more places to eat in town.

There are some new restaurants coming, but not yet at the Peachtree Mall where the General Manager knows there has been talk about adding P.F. Chang's and The Cheesecake Factory, but he says it is just rumors, for now.  However, Columbus is looking at several new restaurants that could still curb your appetite.

Ma' Dear's may be empty right now, but Marcel Crawford and his staff are getting ready for the crowds to roll in Friday morning when the new restaurant opens in the old Shoney's building on Airport Thruway.

"We will offer fresh vegetables.  Also, we wanted to offer a fresh quality meat to our customers.  We know that Columbus needs this," said Crawford.

He is not alone.  Developer Ben Billings says you can look to see an IHOP popping up near the Super Wal-Mart on Gateway Road.  He says the contract deal with the restaurant may be finished up by August.

Just up the street in Midland, the new Chick-fil-A in Midland is booming with customers.  It has been in business for about a month, and the Woodruff Company who owns the land around the restaurants says it might not be alone for long.  They told News Leader 9 different sandwich shops and an ice cream shop have also shown interest in that area.

While all you see right now when you drive by the lot across from Cheddars on Veteran's Parkway is concrete and dirt, be ready to see a Bonefish Grill.  One source says the restaurant should be set to open sometime in early September.

We talked with Michael Dunbar from the Columbus Chamber of Commerce about all the new restaurants and what this means for our area.

"It's not just one place, its growth throughout the community, and I think that just shows how strong people believe our community is."

Dunbar points to several factors that play into this, and he says a big one is soldiers.

"The growth coming with BRAC, and the growth we've had over the last two decades in job and employment, all of those and population growth lead to more restaurants opening and more opportunities," said Dunbar.

Opportunities like Crawford giving 45 people jobs and getting a chance to live his dream.

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