GONZALES — The tourist destinations of Tanger Outlet Center and, nearby, a Cabela’s location fronted by a slew of hotels and restaurants continues to be a draw for new business in Gonzales, especially when it comes to food.
Two new locations of national chain restaurants are coming to the area along La. 30 — already home to numerous national and local eateries — that runs in front of Tanger.
Two other businesses established elsewhere in Gonzales have moved — or will soon — to the busy highway that runs to the east to Airline Highway and to the west to Interstate 10.
José and Veronica Chavés, owners of La Mexicana, a restaurant, bakery and grocery business established 16 years ago in a shopping center set back from La. 30, are building their own shopping center — also to be named La Mexicana — in a spot that’s much more visible and closer to the highway.
“It’s exciting,” said Veronica Chavés. “It’s been a lot of work for long, long years.”
The couple hopes to open the shopping center in August.
In addition to the restaurant and grocery store, the Chavés’s will be leasing space to two other businesses, an ice cream shop and a hair salon.
Just a little east of the shopping center, a freestanding Smoothie King drive-thru location — relocated from elsewhere in the city — is going gangbusters since it opened on La. 30 in March, said franchisee Roger Wilder.
Wilder and his business partner J.T. Davidson own 11 Smoothie King locations in the area, including a second one in Gonzales, and others in Baton Rouge, Denham Springs, Watson, Walker and Zachary.
“Gonzales is a city we see as growing,” Wilder said.
His and Davidson’s other Smoothie King location in the city, also a drive-thru, at Airline and La. 44, is in the top 10 U.S. Smoothie King franchise stores for sales volume, Wilder said.
Also in the works along La. 30 in Gonzales is a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant coming to Tanger in the space that’s now the visitors center, which will move to a new space at the shopping outlet, said Gonzales City Clerk Clay Stafford.
And new to the city and the South will be a location of the Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery — think Hooter’s with a Scottish plaid theme — to be built near Cabela’s off La. 30.
“It’s the first in Louisiana, the first in the Southern region,” said Michael Johnson, vice-president of the Acadiana Development company, based in Central, that’s working with a franchisee to open the business.
Especially in an area that’s home to hotels and visitors, it’s “nice to see different types of restaurants,” said Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux.
But it’s also nice, he said, “for the workers that come in and the citizens that live here to have different places to choose from.”