April 30, 2013

Interurban still coming

The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — With each passing month, residents have grown increasingly curious about the status of the new Interurban restaurant that was expected to be taking shape by now near the intersection of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike and Highway 81.

Its owners promise the restaurant chain will open Chickasha.

“We’re still coming,” Zachary Johnson, co-owner alongside Josh Woods, said. “Everybody’s been asking us about it, too.”

Last fall, Interurban was named by the Chickasha Area Economic Development Council (EDC) as part of a group of businesses that would be opening in town within the next year. Videogame store Game Stop and restaurant Boomerang were on that list and have already begun operating in town.

Christy Elkins, EDC president and CEO, also said the restaurant will be opening. Her organization gave Chickasha natives Johnson and Woods $50,000 to aid their efforts to bring in the restaurant.

April was the expected opening date, but unanticipated delays to construction have pushed it back to as late as October, Johnson said.

“We ran into some unexpected construction issues, but that’s been taken care of,” Johnson said. “We’ll be ready to begin construction any day now. The work will probably take between four or five months, so I would say we expect to open by late September or early October.”

Woods said it has been frustrating at times, but everything is in line to begin construction. The only thing left to do before breaking ground on the newest Interurban branch is to collect and analyze soil test samples to determine if any extra dirt needs to be brought in to make the ground suitable for building.

“It’s just been a lot of little speed bumps,” Woods, who resides in Ninnekah, said. “It’s frustrating at times, because we know people are interested in the restaurant coming in. We would’ve loved to have been here yesterday, but we want to make sure this is done right.”

Johnson added the extra delay has not affected the budget of the project or the planned layout of the building.

“Nothing has changed, we just have to wait for the soil test results,” Johnson said.

Local contractor Tony Tuthill was granted the bid to build the restaurant. Interurban serves a variety of dishes ranging from steaks to seafood and Tex-Mex. Other locations include Ardmore, Norman, Edmond and Tulsa.