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New restaurant choices dotting Longview roads

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LONGVIEW (KYTX) - New restaurants are popping all over Longview, and it seems like it's by the day.

People in the business say it's a great time to cater East Texas.

Hajalmer's is one of several restaurants that has either opened or is planning to open here in the Longview market over the past six months, and it's coinciding with a huge growth spurt for the city and the metropolitan area

The restaurant business can be trial by fire. But people are sampling the Longview food service market now more than ever. For hungry East Texans like Lannie Watkins and his colleagues, it's more options, especially on the weekends.

"It's horrible," Watkins says about eating out on Friday nights and Saturday nights. "It takes you an hour and a half sometimes to get seated. If you have plans for a movie or anything, they're pretty much shot after that."

Today was Watkins' first time to try out Hajalmer's Seafood and Steaks.

It's a quarter-mile down Interstate 20 from this Cracker Barrel restaurant, which opens Monday, February 10th.

And this morning, right across town, Adam's Rib restaurant opened on Marshall Avenue.It's the second franchise for Rickey and Laura Cox, who opened Adam's Rib Barbecue in Lakeport several years ago.

"We thought our food was good enough," Adam's Rib owner Rickey Cox said," so we wanted to venture out and come into the city."

Cox isn't alone. La Carretta Mexican Restaurant opened two months ago on West Loop 281.
Copeland's New Orleans Restaurant and Bar is pursuing property in a mixed-use development on Fourth Street.

And along North Eastman Road, Fuji's Asian Restaurant opens its doors Tuesday, Birmingham-based Cajun Steamer Bar and Grill is taking over the former Fish City Grill structure later this spring, and construction is finishing up on Salsarita's Fresh Cantina.

This comes on the heels of a big year in Longview, as it eclipsed Tyler as the East Texas metro area with the highest per capita household income. Voters here also expanded beer and wine sales across the city, lighting up more economic progress. But the good news in Longview benefits the entire region's economy, and it's great news for East t=Texans like Watkins, who lives in Kilgore but works in Longview.

"If you happen to have to have a quick lunch or something like that, less restaurants means longer lunches, and you can't get back to work," Watkins said.

That's changing with more options. In the end, it's more construction, more jobs and more growth for the city of Longview.

According to Longview City Planner Michael Shirley, plans are to build franchise restaurants such as Golden Corral, Raising Cane's, and Chipotle's Mexican Grill on East Loop 281, and there's construction on Gilmer Road for another Chicken Express restaurant.
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