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Business - New restaurant on its way
Krystal - old building.jpg
Many years ago, Krystal operated from this building at Plaza Shopping Center. It is scheduled to be torn down in the coming weeks with a 1,500-square-foot restaurant built in its place.

It’s been more than 20 years since Krystal operated from that tall and narrow structure in the middle of the Plaza Shopping Center parking lot. 

It was way back in 1998 when our current Krystal opened its drive-thru window at the Plaza. It was a day so long ago, the Tennessee Titans didn’t even exist and the Class of 2020 wasn't born.

But an odd thing happened when our current Krystal opened. The old building remained in place and somehow it’s managed to weather the test of time. It’s stood tall and proud all of these years, perhaps for no other reason than to be painted different colors.

Now it appears ready to return to the earth. According to Plaza Shopping Center manager Tommy Duggin, the old Krystal building will soon be demolished and a national restaurant chain will locate in that spot.

“It will be a chain everybody is familiar with,” said Tommy. “We’re just waiting to get the old building torn down to start construction.”

Built in that spot will be a 1,500-square-foot restaurant that offers drive-thru and dining room service. Tommy said the company doesn’t want to reveal its identity at this point, but he has been given the go ahead to make an announcement once construction starts. He said he expects the restaurant to be up and running this year, which is an ambitious plan considering August looms.

Speculation is always wild and crazy every time a new restaurant is on the verge of locating here. Think of the community-wide joy when we landed Zaxby’s! 

I should say, for the record, I have no idea what restaurant it will be. People often tell me their plans and ask me to keep them out of the paper. I always abide by those wishes. But that’s not the case this time as I know as much, or less than, the doorknob.

What would work well in that spot? I think a Starbucks would hit the spot. Customer access would be a breeze in what’s a very high-traffic area. Starbucks would thrive and the shopping center would benefit too.

Remember, 1,500 square feet is not a ton of space when factoring in a kitchen, dining room and drive-thru operation. It will have to be a restaurant that’s relatively small. I will provide more information when it becomes available.

New bank


The reason I called Tommy Duggin in the first place was to ask him about the Regions Bank location at Plaza Shopping Center. The branch closed Friday at 2 p.m. and is now available for rent.

Tommy said he’s received interest in the location and a deal may soon materialize.

“Another bank has been in talks with us and I think they’re going to take it,” said Tommy.

Like the restaurant, Tommy wouldn’t reveal the name of the bank. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a deal happen fairly fast.

That’s a fabulous location and it’s set up well for ATM and drive-thru traffic. Most of all, that location allows customers to do their banking without ever leaving their vehicle, which is crucial in today’s world where no one really likes to move.

As far as the rumor mill goes, I’ve heard two rumors about that spot. These are just rumors, which means I’m basically talking out loud.

One rumor is that Ascend is looking to leave the mall and locate in its own building. If that is in fact the case, the old Regions Bank facility is a great spot.

The second rumor is that Wilson County Bank is looking to expand and establish a footprint in McMinnville. If that’s the case, the old Regions Bank facility is the perfect location.

We’ll have to wait and see if either of those scenarios occur. My guess is that building, which is move-in ready for a bank, won’t stay empty for long.

Long live


Our bodies need vitamins, nutrients and occasionally chocolate cake. To help with two of those things, McMinnville Nutrition has opened on The Strip in the shopping center with Warehouse Discount Groceries.

“People are looking for healthier alternatives,” said Brandon Eckel, whose wife Cassie owns the new business with her mother, Teresa Paris. “If you're in a hurry and you run to a fast-food place to grab a burger, you get 800 to 1,200 calories in a hurry. We have a 190-calorie, meal replacement shake. Most people have a sweet tooth and this is a guilt-free shake.”

The shakes come in 17 different flavors and contain 24-27 grams of protein. Flavors include banana caramel, strawberry cheesecake, cake batter and mint chocolate chip. In the interest of full disclosure, I tried the pralines and cream shake and it was like a party for my mouth.

McMinnville Nutrition opened Tuesday and has been plenty busy. Cassie says they served 120 customers on their second day as word has spread quickly around town.

Shakes are prepared faster than you can get your food from a drive-thru window. All the ingredients are mixed ahead of time so the process goes fast.

There’s also a wide selection of 24-calorie teas that contain no sugar and plenty of B vitamins. Flavors include strawberry lemonade, watermelon, grape, cucumber lime and Wonder Woman (magic lasso not included).

“We sell a shake and tea together as a combo,” said Teresa. “People will drink the shake right away as a meal then sip on the tea.”

In this day when many folks are more concerned with scarfing down large fries than they are about their health, I’m glad to see businesses like McMinnville Nutrition provide another alternative. 

Business hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the phone number is (931) 414-4394. As you’re facing the shopping center, McMinnville Nutrition is located in the far left storefront behind Sonic.

So what

About Ming’s?

Since China Wok reopened several weeks ago, I’ve been getting questions about Ming’s Buffet and Grill in the Lowe’s Shopping Center. I guess because they are both Chinese restaurants folks are thinking Ming’s should be reopening too.

The big difference here is China Wok has always been mainly a take-out restaurant. Ming’s is a buffet where hundreds of people put their hands all over the same serving tongs. In today’s climate, this doesn’t seem like the best idea.

The Health Department doesn’t think so either and buffet dining is something that’s been declared as taboo. This means salad bars and hot bars are now off limits for the general public. The only way around this is to have an employee handle the serving utensils and dish out the food.

Best I remember, Ming’s has four buffet hot bars and a grill in the back. If the restaurant wanted to station employees at each hot bar to serve the food, it would be acceptable to operate under that format. However, allowing the customers to serve themselves is off limits.

I don’t have a contact number for Ming’s ownership so I can’t say what plans may be in store for the restaurant. I would think, and this is just my opinion, that buffet-style restaurants would be frowned upon for some time to come.

I don’t see a scenario where buffets would be allowed to open up and operate in September, or even November. Perhaps I’m wrong, but that’s my guess.

If I was the operator of Ming’s, I would change my business model. Perhaps allow customers to still eat all they want, if that’s your goal, but have a waiter bring plate after plate of food to the table.

Or the transition could be made to a more traditional restaurant that’s not all you can eat. Customers could order a regular meal like they do everywhere else.

I think waiting for the green light for buffets to reopen again is kind of like Waiting for Godot, for anyone who remembers the two-person play that’s peppered with lively dialogue. I hate to spoil the ending, but here’s a hint. Godot never arrives.

It’s time for

Splish Splash

Splish Splash Mobile Detailing has opened for all your pressure washing and car cleanup needs. Rodrick Cook is the owner and he brings a wealth of experience to the job.

If you’re looking to bring new life to a surface, especially a concrete sidewalk or patio, Rodrick is a good person to call. In addition to having a traditional pressure washing hose, he also has a concrete buffing machine that will really remove all the caked-in dirt and grime.

If you’re wanting to get your car sparkling like it never has before don’t worry about driving across town. Rodrick will come to you.

“I go to the customer for their convenience,” said Rodrick. “It can be day or night, whatever works best for them.”

Rodrick can clean your vehicle in the parking lot while you’re at work. He brings everything he needs with him, including his own generator and his own water supply. He has a 100-gallon tank and a 225-gallon tank for really large jobs.

“I have several different fragrances and offer a full detail service,” said Rodrick. “I can also clean vinyl on houses.”

Rodrick offers free estimates if you want to see how much it will cost to have your vehicle look like new. Obviously large vehicles will cost a little more than small cars. To give Rodrick a call, his number is (931) 259-5083.

That’s all folks

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With COVID numbers continuing to rise, I fear we may have more business closings looming in the future. The governor may decide it's best for restaurant dining rooms to close again too. We'll see.