Quadarius Whitson, Staff Reporter
Incoming Jacksonville “Hybrid” restaurant Heirloom Taco took a big step toward opening last week.
On Thursday night, building plans for the new restaurant as well as a full-service Chick-fil-A were approved by the Jacksonville Planning Commission at their meeting.
Renovation of the old Jacksonville Fire Station into Heirloom Taco began in October and is still vigorously being worked on by the owners, Shane & Aurella Gowens.
Although the opening date isn’t set in stone, the owners are now aiming for some time in late April after the approval of the plans on Thursday. With their street-style approach to the restaurant, the Gowens’ plan on keeping the fire station’s old water pipes. They’re also adding a neon sign and light fixtures.
The Mexican inspired food truck and traditional restaurant hybrids plan to keep a simple menu that primarily sales beef, chicken, shrimp and fish tacos with an assortment of toppings. They also plan to serve alcoholic beverages like beer, wine and cocktails.
With both Mr. and Mrs. Gowens being JSU Alumni, they both hope to build a place where college kids, as well as other people in the community, feel welcomed.
“It feels like there is something missing to tie the entire community together,” Gowens said. “I feel like this could be the perfect medium for the community.”
Soon Jacksonville residents will no longer have to travel almost 30 minutes in order to enjoy the full-fledged version of America’s famous chicken restaurant.
Chick-fil-A is planning to open in the vacant building located between Cook Out and Jack’s at 500 Pelham Road. The lot is being developed by a New Urban Development Corporation LLC, that is based out of Atlanta, Georgia. This real estate development division regularly develops land not only for Chick-fil-A franchises but also Artist Square, a 14 million dollar, 76-loft-style apartment building, as well as the Sky Lofts, a 31.3 million dollar, 207-unit mixed-use development.
The restaurant will have two drive-thru lanes, with coverings that employees can take orders from customers. The development company also wants to get a traffic signal installed at the intersection of Vann Street and Pelham Road to enable customers to exit and enter more effectively from the restaurant.
The new Chick-fil-a will join the retail location of the restaurant inside Jacksonville State’s Theron Montgomery Building Food Court.
As of now, there has been no indication of exactly when Chick-fil-A will be opening.