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Convenience store ready to open with local country cooking

January 11, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — It’s taken a few more months than originally anticipated, but the first and only convenience store in the Columbus Park Crossing development on the city’s north side is close to opening, bringing with it a tasty helping of country cooking.

The Falcon store at 6597 Whittlesey Blvd., which cost just over $2 million to construct, is scheduled to open Jan. 17. The location is across from the new Academy Sports and Outdoors store and situated between a Dairy Queen and the new Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom restaurant.

“The inside is pretty much done. They’re actually loading all the groceries and tobaccos and what not tomorrow,” Columbus businessman Sanjay Choudhury said Wednesday.

A promotional carrot for those who might consider the outlet just another convenience store will be its opening-day, 5-to-7 p.m. discount on gas purchases by customers. Choudhury said it’s possible the price per gallon for those two hours will be around $1.75, although the reduced cost has yet to be set.

As for the country cooking, fans of the popular downtown Columbus eatery, Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant, will have another outlet from which to satisfy their cravings for foods such as fried chicken, sweet potato souffle and sloppy joe mac ‘n’ cheese.

What will be called The Chicken Lady’s Coop, a brand launched by the owners of Minnie’s, will initially offer to-go items next week, including lunch boxes, with an expanded breakfast, lunch and dinner menu planned when the eatery’s full space is completed sometime this spring, Choudhury said.

“They are going to bring breakfast and lunch and deliver it here until the building is actually open right beside the Falcon gas station. It will be attached to the building on the side close to Dairy Queen,” he said. “Until that’s ready, customers can come and just buy and go, or we’ll have a little lounge area where they can sit down and eat.”

Choudhury, who already owns Wild Wing Cafe at Columbus Park Crossing, said the northeastern end of the shopping area is now becoming congested with businesses. He pointed to the Homewood Suites and Candlewood Suites nearby, as well as Kia, BMW and Acura dealerships in the area.

There has been a proliferation of retail stores and restaurants along most of Whittlesey Boulevard through the years, with only three entrances to the shopping and dining hub. There also are two major apartment complexes inside Columbus Park. But the latest influx of new businesses on the northeast end looks to complement those that have been in the center for several years.

The clincher was the 64,266-square-foot Academy Sports and Outdoors store that opened last summer. Another strip shopping center is planned in front of that large store, while an outparcel space is apparently being reserved for yet another restaurant.

“It’s going to be a very high volume store because the traffic count is so high there,” said Choudhury of Falcon, which will sell Liberty-branded gas.

Just as the convenience store is nearing its debut, so is another restaurant being launched by Choudhury and his partner, Chef Trevor Morris. The two are getting very close to opening what will be called Hudson’s. The full-service restaurant is going in the former Main Street Grill & Bar space at 6298 Veterans Parkway, which is inside the Main Street Village business development.

“We’ve already got our certificate of occupancy and local license, but we just applied for the state license, which will take a week or two. Then we’ll be all set,” Choudhury said. “We’re going to have a friends and family event in a couple of weeks, then probably have a grand opening at the end of January or the beginning of February.”

When its doors do open for hungry customers, the menu is expected to have a mix of seafood, steaks, burgers and tacos. It will not be dominated by the Italian fare that the two businessmen now serve at Trevioli Italian Kitchen on Blackmon Road, a location that added a pizza lounge next door recently.

The duo also are working toward opening yet another restaurant at The Rapids, a condo rental complex now being developed by Columbus-based W.C. Bradley Co. That residential project, which overlooks the Chattahoochee River downtown, is moving toward completion this spring and summer, with Choudhury and Morris just one of a handful of retail and food tenants planned.

“Actually, we are now in the architecture plans (stage) of that and tentatively looking at a June-July opening,” Choudhury said.

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Information from: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, http://ledger-enquirer.com

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