Mansfield cooking with new restaurants

08/04/2014 8:30 PM

08/04/2014 8:31 PM

The aroma of pepperoni could be wafting through downtown Mansfield by the end of August if the owners of the new Mellow Mushroom pizzeria meet their newest self-imposed deadline to open the doors.

“We do expect to open in August, but we’re a few weeks behind,” said Kim Slawson, who co-owns the restaurant with husband Montie Slawson. She tamped down the latest rumor of an Aug. 11 opening.

The restaurant site, at the southeast corner of Main and Broad Streets, would be the couple’s third Mellow Mushroom. They opened their first – it’s also the national chain’s first in Texas, Kim Slawson said – on the Bluebonnet Circle in Fort Worth in 2006, and followed with their second in Arlington, at 200 N. Center St. in Arlington.

Amid the delays, the $1.8 million project in Mansfield has become $2.5 million, by far the couple’s most ambitious project, Kim Slawson said. But she said they are working to make the Mansfield Mushroom special.

It’s their biggest restaurant and will be the flagship, filling 6,000 square feet and employing about 125 full-time and part-time workers. It includes a large party room called “The Boat,” whose ceiling appears to be the hull of a large vessel, as well as a 1,000-square-foot patio out back with a stage for live entertainment.

And the Slawsons, aiming to pay tribute to Mansfield history, have commissioned several area artists to create paintings and a large mural over the cook line and even to build a trio of eight-foot-tall guitars.

“To have a restaurant with a national presence in downtown is huge,” said Richard Nevins, the city’s assistant economic development director. “That says a lot about what people think about the community and what they think about the downtown.”

But Mellow Mushroom isn’t the only retail newcomer to Mansfield.

Good news for chicken lovers: a coming-soon sign for a Golden Chick restaurant has been posted on Turner Warnell Road near FM 157. And last month the city approved plans for a Chicken Express across East Broad Street form the Mansfield High School.

A building permit has been approved for a Dairy Queen next door to the Express, but construction on neither business has begun.

A Jason’s Deli sandwich shop should open “certainly by the end of this fall,” Nevins estimated. A tenant space in a shopping center, 1718 U.S. 287 North, in front of Lowe’s Home Improvement Store, is under renovation. “They’ve completely gutted that building and are redoing the interior,” Nevins added.

A Panera Bread bakery-café has city approval for a site next to IHOP in front of Lowe’s, but construction has not yet begun, Nevins said.

Sprouts has filed a permit with the city to build at 27,634-square-foot grocery at 1550 E. Debbie Lane. Plans for the shopping center also include Firehouse Subs and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Reporter Amanda Rogers contributed to this article.

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