Thursday , 22 March 2018

Chatterbox: ‘Little Italy’ Comes to MacTown

chattycathy1As I write this, we are definitely in the dog days of summer here in McKinney, peeps, and if any of you are like me, you are probably feeling a bit drained by the heat! It makes me feel like heading for the mountains or the beach this weekend, but I can’t get away for another week, so it’s turn up (or down) the air to full blast and put my head to the grindstone as I finish some freelancing projects and look forward to a high of 99 early next week!

Enough on the topic of the heat — there is a ton of cool stuff going on around town, so let’s get to it.

It’s often at this time of year that we see turnover in the downtown area as businesses move in and out when their lease is up. This summer is no different. Lots of exciting changes are on tap in downtown McKinney!

Comings and Goings

Ruggeri’s Restaurante, 119 W. Virginia, is closing and moving into that space is Bien Salsa. The concept from a former executive chef at La Duni is going to be Mexican food, which my peeps and I say is absolutely awesome! Since Aparicio’s closed more than a year ago I have been missing a spot to grab Mexican food in downtown McKinney. The goal is to open their new digs by the end of September.

Speaking of Aparicio’s former space on Virginia St., the Sidestreet Cafe will not be opening there after all. I understand that the owners ran into a problem with the city requiring the addition of a sprinkler system to the building. But, the original owner of the Amato’s Italian Restorante in Stonebridge Ranch will open Amato’s in the space that was formerly Aparicio’s at 216 E. Virginia in downtwon McKinney. Yes! One Italian place goes out, another one opens.

And yes, downtown McKinney is sort of becoming its own “Little Italy!” Brother’s Pizza (the same owner and same great menu as the one in Stonebridge Ranch) is going into the location that was occupied by Peachy Keen Yogurt, 224 E. Virginia Street. Mellow Mushroom, located in the former Boyd Veigel building on E. Louisiana (218) will be open by the end of September as well. Specializing in gourmet pizzas, I personally am looking forward to trying the Magical Mystery Tour pizza. What’s not to like about a pesto base with button and Portobello mushrooms?

Of course we already have pizza at Cadillac Pizza Pub on South Kentucky St. and  more Italian fare at Sauce on the Square.

I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the opening of Emporium Pies at 107 S Tennessee St., (formerly Laura Moore’s Art Studio), and yes, girlfriends, any of you who also have a thing for chocolate must try the Smooth Operator. It’s a French Silk Chocolate filling nestled in a pretzel crust — that salty, sweet combination which is simply bliss! Gnarly!!!

Oh and in case you’ve developed a thirst while consuming all the delicious dishes in the downtown McKinney vicinity, the McKinney Wine Merchant is now carrying McKinney’s own Franconia beer in six packs, in case you are looking for something other than wine. Stay thirsty my friends.

But food aside, the McKinney Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is now housing the Made in McKinney store featuring all things McKinney. Stop in and check out the T-shirts, collectable flour sack towels,  shot glasses, items for kids and more. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and online shopping will be available soon. The MCVB is located at 200 W. Virginia next to The Pub.

Made in McKinney features all things McKinney, such as these T-shirts.
Made in McKinney features all things McKinney, such as these T-shirts.

Speaking of The Pub, exciting changes are taking place at the former gas station to the west of the restaurant. Under construction, the building is being transformed into something that will gossip has it may bring a little Texas back to the downtown area. Yep, looks like we may be getting a BBQ restaurant combined with a dance hall to add to the entertainment possibilities around town. Yahoo!

In case you missed it, the Blue Goose Cantina has opened in McKinney. Although they experienced a problem with the air conditioner early on, things are up and running. Happy hour runs most nights from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. so you might want to stop by to sample some queso and a margarita. The restaurant is located at 2020 N. Central Expressway on the access road north of Hwy. 380.

On a completely different tangent, I’m not sure what’s going on in the world of business in the McKinney Chamber of Commerce, but Cathy hears it has had nearly complete turnover in staff since the current president took the helm some three years ago. Word on the street is that it is a difficult work environment. Hope they get their act together soon!

Another zig zag in the topics of the day – paving on the portion of E. Virginia St. in downtown McKinney that has been under construction should begin next week. That will be quite a relief, I’m assuming, for the shop owners in that area of downtown.

On the West Side:

The new Sprouts grocery opens Sept. 18 at 7 a.m. Who will be there when the doors open?
Located at 9241 Virginia Parkway at Custer, Sprouts is probably best known for their large selection of bulk items (some 200 according to their website).

Activity in the Village of Adriatica has been moving full speed ahead. The Riva Harbor Luxury Condominiums are going up and are available for sale. I’ve toured the condos during the early stages of construction and they appear to be a quality product with some of which offer stunning views overlooking Stonebridge Lake.

Marianne’s Custom Florals is coming to the Village of Adriatica. The new shoppe will be located in the Riva Harbor and will be opening October 1.

Well, that’s it for this time, peeps.
Stay cool my friends.


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