New restaurants plan openings

Andraea Aguilera

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   Fort Smith progressively grows in the food industry with plans to open several new chains. Restaurants currently under construction include Sumo Japanese Steakhouse, Gusano’s Chicago Style Pizzeria, along with popular ice cream parlor Baskin Robbins and Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.

   The 2.71 acre lot for Sumo Japanese Steakhouse runs on Phoenix Avenue between Starbucks and Academy Sports. Sumo maintains restaurants in Jonesboro and Russellville which feature several hibachi grills, and private hibachi and dining rooms. The company anticipates hiring about 60 employees. Construction costs total to about $2 million, and the build begins in the first quarter of 2018.

   Ground work for a new Phoenix Avenue retail outlet including Gusano’s Chicago Style Pizzeria and Baskin-Robbins began next to Sodie’s Wine and Spirit. Gusano’s became a popular regional chain after being founded in Little Rock in 2004. Features include deep dish pizzas, sandwiches, a full bar, and patio. The partners in charge of the Gusano’s also own the Baskin-Robbins franchise in Greenwood. The goal sets the spaces finished by this February.

   Arkansas already houses several Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers locations in Fayetteville, Springdale, and Rogers, with dozens in Oklahoma and more than 240 restaurants nationwide in 30 states. Their specialty concretes—fresh and creamy frozen custard blended with fudge, caramel, candy, or fruit—get served upside down due to the thickness. The chain ended 2016 with 59 new restaurants. The Wichita, Kansas-based restaurant chain plans to move into the former KFC building at 7719 Rogers Ave. towards the end of this year.

   With a variety of different options to choose from, Fort Smith welcomes the new businesses and the job opportunities they provide. Check online for applications and more information.

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New restaurants plan openings