We've seen them popping up all over town, but it seems Lubbock's restaurant boom has just begun. We start tonight with the growing waistline of Lubbock's restaurant scene. For the third year in a row, City officials say restaurant construction has seen unprecedented growth and on Monday another chain opened its doors to Lubbockites. So what does a restaurant boom mean for the Lubbock economy?
Rib Crib, a barbecue hot spot opened at 11 am on Monday, and like most new restaurants in this town, they've been busy ever since. Rib Crib originated in Tulsa, Oklahoma and 27 locations later they finally made it to Texas.
"I decided to centralize our corporation in Lubbock and we are going to be developing our center around Lubbock. I really like the market. It has excellent statistics for Lubbock and I'm so excited we moved here," says Rib Crib Owner Mike Knight.
This is just one of a number of chains headed our way. You will soon be able to sip on a Starbucks Java in the area of 4th and Slide. And we've already told you Hooters is expected to move into the Old Gateway Country store off of Loop 289, and open this fall.
"If you look at the fact that all of these chain restaurants are doing their market analysis, they aren't coming in here dumb. They are coming here with the opportunity to make money and satisfy needs. I think they are coming here to offer more opportunities for our dining and I think it's a good deal," said Lubbock Chamber of Commerce President Eddie McBride.
Taco Bueno will be opening next month off of University and 82nd street. It's the first of four in the works for the Hub City over the next two years. Then just past 82nd street on University, a Ruby Tequilas is under construction. It's a popular hang out in Amarillo, that'll open here in July.
"Firewater is a concept that we felt is time to come to Lubbock. What we want to do is introduce to Lubbock a high degree of service, of cuisine, a better price and a degree of casual elegance that Lubbock deserves," said Cy Young, Manager of Firewater.
Firewater Cafe', which isn't a chain, has been highly anticipated. The restaurant, located in The Falls in South Lubbock will feature European cuisine, with a French influence and a flare of Southwestern flavors.
"Expect to be spoiled, honestly. Not only is our menu designed to spoil you with food, but the selections of wine and atmosphere, with European style services will be beyond compare. There will be many that will try to imitate us but we are going to set the standard for Lubbock," Young added.
In case you wondered, we got a sneak peak inside Firewater as they were doing practice runs. They are scheduled to open in two weeks.
Overall, these new restaurants are great news for our economy. Of the restaurants already under construction, they've created more than 600 jobs for people here on the South Plains.