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On the menu: Economic development
Restaurant options grow along NW Corridor
 
Published Thursday, January 30, 2014 7:41 am
by Herbert L. White

Historic West End is becoming a restaurant magnet. 

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PHOTO/CURTIS WILSON
Johnson C. Smith University hosted a public grand opening of its Burger King franchise on Jan. 20. It is the only Burger King franchise on a college campus in North Carolina. It’s part of a push by JCSU to bring more choice to Historic West End.

Last week’s opening of a Burger King franchise at Johnson C. Smith University was the latest in a series of restaurant unveilings in the Northwest Corridor. In October, Laurene’s Cafeteria opened at the site of the former McDonald’s Cafeteria on Beatties Ford Road. Red Mango Frozen Yogurt and Salad Works will open on the JCSU campus later this year. Blu Bayou, a Creole-style eatery, will open at JCSU’s Mosaic Village on West Trade Street.

The restaurants, all owned by Perkins Management Services of Charlotte, will create an estimated 150 jobs in the corridor.

“I’m very pleased that 10 of our students have already been hired to work in the JCSU Burger King franchise,” President Ronald Carter said. “Many of our students from (economically-challenged) families, and they’re always looking for resources to close that financial gap.”

JCSU’s Burger King, located in the Mary Joyce Taylor Crisp Student Union, is the only Burger King franchise located on a college campus in North Carolina. The restaurant is open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and weekends from 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. 

“The opening of the Burger King on campus is the first step in the transformation of the dining service experience at JCSU,” said Nicholas Perkins, CEO and president of Perkins Management Services. “We are excited about the future and the many great things we have in store for the campus and the community.”

The widening restaurant choices also addresses the corridor’s designation as a “food desert” where organic sources are in short supply. In addition to the eateries, JCSU also maintains community gardens where food is harvested for local neighborhoods through its Sustainability Village initiative.

Carter praised Perkins’ ambition to enhance the corridor’s economic base through the partnership with JCSU.

“He has a deep commitment to building assets in historic black communities,” Carter said. “He’s unwavering on that and I just admire him for being that bold to address these issues."

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