Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

April 3, 2013

Officials: Applebee's will be here when it gets here

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Despite some perceived delays, Jacksonville city officials are assuring area residents that the proposed Applebee's restaurant is still slated to open at 1702 South Jackson at some point in the future.

While true that the restaurant opening is taking longer than originally expected, this project is certainly not dead or even stalled, City Manager Mo Raissi said.

Marcie Kuczynski, a representative of the restaurant chain to whom online inquirers are referred, did not immediately return a message for comment Tuesday.

City officials said they are not at liberty to discuss what's happening on that inside development track — other than to say the project seems to be in good shape.

“We certainly haven't been told otherwise,” Raissi said. “And there has been no negative indication at all — other than the rumors we have heard around town.”

 A reader who took notice of the issue in December expressed concern that there has been no visible progress on the move to place Applebee's into the space previously occupied by Chubby's Texas Grill.

“The old Chubby's still has a 'For Sale' sign out front, and it remains for sale on the real estate company's website,” the reader said.

On Tuesday, Will Cole, the city's public works director, mirrored Raissi's optimism about the project.

“At this time, based on conversations with the parties involved, this project is one of several planned for construction in the near future,” Cole wrote. “The city supports this project and will continue to facilitate it’s opening  in any way possible. However, this is an independent corporation and the city has no input into their internal planning.  The city has no reason to believe that this project will not happen and we do not have a timeline for when the construction will proceed.”

Cole said when  S.D. Apple Properties 1, L.L.C. requested it in December,  the Jacksonville Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of their application for a special use permit to allow the sale of alcohol for their proposed restaurant.  

The Jacksonville City Council approved that recommendation by unanimous vote, Cole said.

It is now up to Applebee's officials to formally apply for their alcohol license with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission.

Applebee's officials still haven't indicated to the city exactly when they wish to open, Raissi said. The chain itself lists a total of nearly 2,000 current locations.

Applebee’s still describes itself in literature as “the favorite neighborhood restaurant where you can come as you are to connect with those important in your life, over food and beverage you love every day.”

This Jacksonville Council's decision was the exact opposite of that of the Nacogdoches City Council, which last month, voted down the chain's request to extend hours to serve alcohol until 2 a.m. by a 4-1 vote, reports show.