05/18/12 — City's newest restaurants on track for opening days

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City's newest restaurants on track for opening days

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on May 18, 2012 1:46 PM

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John Runkle, general manager of East Coast Wings, assembles a table Tuesday at the restaurant at the corner of Berkeley Boulevard and Ash Street.

The first of a handful of new restaurants on and near the Berkeley Boulevard corridor opened Wednesday with another expected to follow next month.

East Coast Wings, at the corner of Berkeley Boulevard and Ash Street, is serving its wings, sandwiches and salads during its soft opening, although a grand opening is in the works for June, according to Seth Lucas who, along with brother Jared, will own and operate the Goldsboro restaurant along with two stores in Greenville and another in Kinston.

Seth said they were attracted to Goldsboro because of the location, adding that while other dining establishments have failed in the spot, he thinks his restaurant has the type of staying power to remain lucrative.

He added that he and his brother will oversee the opening along with a pair of managers to try to ease any stress on new employees and to help assure customers are served efficiently.

It also won't be long before a new restaurant pops up nearby, as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen will likely open in mid-June, said Jerry Niswonger, vice president of operations.

Niswonger said the Cajun fast-food restaurant is interviewing and making staffing moves currently, with unconfirmed plans to open sometime next month.

Seth said he welcomes the new restaurants that are opening up on Berkeley Boulevard, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, as they will bring excitement and energy to the area. Both restaurants are being built on N. Berkeley, in front of Berkeley Mall.

"It's great," he said of the influx of new eateries.

The latest news from Darden, the corporate owner of the LongHorn Steakhouse and Olive Garden brands, is that LongHorn will open in late July while Olive Garden should open the first week of December, although there are rumors those openings could come sooner.