Lenny's News and Interviews

Old Memories, New Restaurants for Region

October 20, 2008

By Kimberly Morrison
THE MORNING NEWS, Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Apart from my birthday party at a McDonald's as a child, I don't have just a lot of fond memories attached to restaurants. But this week is full of them.

There's a Taco Bueno in store for south Fayetteville -- a place I remember fondly as a child in Oklahoma City as the only place I could get a strawberry Fanta fountain soda. Then there's the newly opened Einstein Bros. Bagels, where I stopped by daily for coffee, a bagel and a "schmear" (their cutesy word for cream cheese) before heading to morning class at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Lenny's is a special place because a gang of us reporters at the Northwest Arkansas Times, the place that gave me my first journalism job, would walk there from the office for a lunchtime sub. Guido's marks another phase in my career -- my return to reporting in Northwest Arkansas. It was the first place my new colleagues took me for a beer, pizza and some getting-to-know you talk.

They were good times, so it's great to see those businesses flourishing in the region.

PIZZA AND BAGELS

Einstein Bros. Bagels on Friday opened the first of four Northwest Arkansas locations.

Mike Philip, the local franchise owner, is considering Fayetteville, Springdale and Bentonville for additional locations.

The first location, at 1728 S. 46th St. in Rogers, neighbors the Olive Garden and an upcoming Red Lobster.

Guido's Pizza, housed in the same building as Lakewood, Colo.-based Einstein Bros., opened Oct. 7.

The bagel and pizza neighbors lease the 6,500-square-foot building from the Pinnacle Group.

The newest Guido's Pizza is the area's fifth location for the family-run, local pizzeria, according to owner Mike Bariola.

Guido's is a 140-seat restaurant that employs about 40 people.

The adjacent bagel shop is a bit smaller, with seating for up to 40 and a staff of 20.

Einstein Bros. Bagels requires a total investment of up to $757,700, according to the International Franchise Association.

LENNY'S IS BACK

A familiar face will soon reappear in Fayetteville, again bestowing its signature Philly cheesesteaks and hot pepper relish on area sub-lovers.

A new 1,600-square-foot, 50-seat location will open Nov. 16 at 160 E. Joyce Blvd.

The 10-year-old franchise opened a location in Fayetteville just two years after it opened its first location in Memphis suburb Bartlett, Tenn. The shop went into a then-new Three Sisters building on Dickson Street and quickly became a local favorite.

But the location closed in 2003, along with the second location in Fayetteville on Joyce Blvd. Holly Baker, spokeswoman for Lenny's, declined to comment on why the stores closed, but said new franchisees Michael and Karen Timbes are not affiliated with the former franchisees.

Startup costs for a Lenny's franchise can range up to $348,500, according to the company. The Timbes have purchased the rights to develop six locations in Washington and Benton Counties, each store employing about 15.

TACO BUENO

A second Taco Bueno is in the works for Fayetteville, only this time, the chain is heading for the city's south side.

The company recently applied for a plumbing permit for the corner of Sixth St. and Eastern Ave., the lot adjacent to Zaxby's, both which abut predominantly student housing on the outskirts of the University of Arkansas.

The location puts the growing taco chain in direct competition with rival fast-food Tex-Mex chain Taco Bell, located less than two blocks away.

Taco Bueno representatives did not return calls seeking additional information about the location.

The Farmer's Branch, Texas-based company opened its first Fayetteville location at 272 E. Joyce Blvd. and has additional locations in Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville.

The 41-year-old company began franchising in 2005, at which time it partnered with Tulsa-based U.S. Beef Corp. to expand into Arkansas and other markets.

The company lists on its Web site that financial requirements for a location is a net worth of $1 million and $300,000 liquid capital.




Contact Lenny's Public Relations:

Jenna Duett
Marketing and PR Manager
(901) 753-4002