West side attracting business

Restaurants and an MRI center plan openings on West Broadway.
Monday, October 18, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:00 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

West Columbia is growing, and local businesses want to be a part of it. Broadfield Properties made deals with three more businesses this week that will plan to open in the Broadway Broadfield Shopping Center, next to Hy-Vee, 3120 W. Broadway.

Tuesday, the developer signed leases with Chinese restaurant Mandarin House, Mexican eatery Rio Grande and a new University Hospital MRI center, said Roger Thomas, a partner in Broadfield Properties.

The first building in the shopping center was finished about a year and a half ago, and Shakespeare’s Pizza and Natural Nail Care were the first to move in. With the leases signed this week, Thomas said two spaces remain — a total of 2,000 square feet. Thomas and partners Jack Rader and Russell Starr also own five acres of land to the west where they hope to construct more retail and office space.

When Mandarin House opens after the first of the year, it will mark its return to Columbia after it moved out of Columbia Mall last year. Its owners, the Chang family, moved to St. Louis and opened a restaurant last year after 16 years in Columbia. But Jang Chang, who helps run his parents’ businesses, said his parents missed Columbia and started looking for a location a few months ago.

The West Broadway location is “still a central area and close to the mall,” he said. “Hy-Vee is attracting a lot of people to the area.”

Rio Grande, David Lang’s first restaurant, will also open around the first of the year. Lang said he picked the location because of the development in the area.

“There are lots of other restaurants in the shopping center,” Lang said. “And there isn’t a Mexican restaurant on that side of town.”

Additionally, University Hospital has leased 4,500 square feet of space in the center for an MRI center.

Rendezvous, a new coffeehouse in the center, just opened last month, and partners Stacey Slaughter, Kim Leach and Lori Sander have been pleased with the foot traffic.

The three women said they chose the West Broadway location because there are no coffeehouses on that side of town.

“This specific location just seemed ideal to have a coffeehouse with businesses and residences coming in and the development in general,” Slaughter said.

The coffeehouse serves bakery items and sandwiches from the Upper Crust as well as coffee, tea and smoothies. In the evenings, customers can buy bottled beer or daiquiris.

The next opening in the shopping center will be filled in a few weeks when Russell Fischer and Jon Abernathy open Truman’s Bar and Grill. Fischer said he and Abernathy have been doing the construction themselves, so it’s been slow going.

“It’s more than just putting drywall up and painting,” he said. “It involves a lot of handiwork and craftsmanship.”

A man of all trades, Fischer, who among other things has been a truck driver and a loan officer, cut all the wood for the bar himself. When he cleared part of his property a few years ago, he ran the wood through his sawmill and is now putting the wood to use creating a rustic atmosphere in the bar.

And it may just be the first sports bar in town with televisions in the bathroom, in spite of its log cabin appearance.

Fischer said he picked the location because it’s growing and fit his target demographic: adults over 25, as opposed to the college crowd.

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