The Duncan Banner

May 23, 2013

Restaurant rumors remain on the hot plate

Rebeka Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — From IHOP and HomeTown Buffet to Chili’s and Olive Garden, restaurant whisperings have been running rampant in the community since the arrival of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar.

Although there are a few open spaces such as the old Golden Corral location and the soon-to-close Honda site, none of these rumors can be confirmed at this point according to Chris Deal, Duncan Chamber of Commerce president. No information on any of the businesses’ websites points to them opening a new location in the area.

“The IHOP in Lawton is moving into their old Golden Corral but that doesn’t mean that’s what will happen here,” Deal said. “Also, Ryan’s and HomeTown Buffet do go into old Golden Corrals sometimes but the price has to be right.”

Duncan’s Golden Corral closed in December 2012 and has sat empty since then. With the high reception of new restaurants such as Applebee’s and Billy Sims, the community has expressed hopes that more are on their way.

“The lease price on Golden Corral is a good price but there is an amount of renovations to be done,” said Deal. “I don’t anticipate anyone buying it right now, it’s all theories.”

Deal did say that retail studies of Duncan show that the area could handle up to three or possibly more restaurant facilities of Applebee’s size. Deal said that coming out of the recession, some companies are just now looking to expand in the smaller markets.

“We have a good retail environment, we just don’t have a lot of the name brands that people like to see,” he said. “Some major operations have just emerged and are just now looking around.”

One problem is that retailers want to be where other businesses are and most of the spaces in the Duncan clusterings are taken. The only real open spot is at the old Goody’s and while it has companies looking into it, Deal said he could not comment on them officially yet.

“All the rumors are good because that gets people talking,” he said.

One other site that has generated some talk is the Honda site at U.S. 81 near Sonic. Some of the before mentioned restaurant names have been mentioned in connection with that location. However, Ed Morgan, owner of Stockman’s, has purchased the lot. Morgan plans to move his business there as soon as Honda has vacated the area and he can make some remodels to the building. This may take up to as much as six months or more.

“I don’t own the building I am in; it is owned by the same family who owns the Walmart lot and all the developments on it,” Morgan said. “I’ve tried to buy it but they won’t sell, so when I move out, this building will be up for grabs.”

On hold is the fate of Cedar Street Grill, which is still listed for sale. One change that can be confirmed is that Goodner’s Big G Smokehouse on Main has been sold and is now Steve’s BBQ and Catfish. The Big G Express is still open and going strong on U.S. 81.