Happy spring, everyone. I hope you’ve been enjoying the nice weather.  I have a lot of news about the downtown area this week, as well as updates and answers to some of your questions.

Lately there have been a few news items about downtown that have involved businesses leaving the area. But from what I’m hearing, there is a lot of interest from businesses wanting to locate in Conway. Downtown recently lost two restaurants, Doe’s Eat Place and Pia’s. Kim Williams, director of the Conway Downtown Partnership, said a number of restaurants have shown an interest in these two locations, although they are being cautious in making decisions because of the overall state of the economy. 

Just T’s N has closed its location in downtown, but there may be some interest in that location as well.

Also, Conway Alliance for the Arts, a not-for-profit group that promotes arts organizations and their activities, will locate downtown soon. More information on that as it becomes available.

Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese restaurant open

Not long ago, I mentioned that Sai Gon Cuisine was under construction on Oak Street near Interstate 40. The restaurant opened about two weeks ago. That was fast.

I tried it last week, undercover, of course (i.e., not introducing myself as a columnist). My husband and I shared an order of orange chicken that was enough for both of us. I’m no food critic, but I will just say I’m planning to go back and try the Thai noodles sometime.

Greenbrier says no to liquor

You may be aware that Cazuela’s Mexican Grill in Greenbrier applied to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for a private club license. This application was denied by the director of the ABC in the face of opposition from State Sen. Gilbert Baker, the city’s mayor and police chief, a petition with 301 signatures, and 572 letters. 

Your questions

I do appreciate those of you who send me questions and comments. I do my best to follow up on them. Here are a couple of recent ones.

Q. What is happening with the construction around the Cricket store at Oak and Harkrider Streets?

A. Good question. The Cricket store moved out for a while but has moved back in now. As many of you know, that building was formerly a Satterfield station, and the gas tanks apparently were removed a long time ago. However, Kim Williams tells me there were concerns that there might have been some leakage when they were removed. So, everything was dug up again, and whatever problems existed have now been corrected.

Q. I have a gift certificate to Pia’s, and now they are closed. What do I do?

A. Dan Haase, owner of Pia’s, will honor those gift certificates at his other restaurant, Ozark Country Restaurant in Little Rock. It is at 201 Keightley Drive, near Cantrell Road and Mississippi Street. He said he will be a little lenient on the expiration dates.

Have a good week, everyone. 

(Rachel Parker Dickerson is a freelance columnist/journalist. Send your questions and comments to rachelpdickerson@gmail.com)