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Ming Wah joins Zaxby's on local restaurant scene

One of Augusta's most popular chinese restaurants is coming to Thomson.

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A sign proclaims Zaxby's coming to town.

The owners of Ming Wah, an Augusta mainstay for just over 30 years, told The McDuffie Mirror last week that they've bought the building that formerly housed Shoney's and Denny's on Washington Road and plan to open a new restaurant sometime later this summer.

"It should take three months to remodel it," said Ming Wah's Pinh Chen of the building. "It just depends on how fast they can do it."

Ms. Chen said that the lengthy remodeling process will mostly be due to the extensive work that's needed on the property's parking lot.

"We're going to have to fix that," she said.

Ming Wah's journey west will bring the number of chinese restaurants in McDuffie County to three, a total that Planning Director Fred Guerrant said should bring some changes to McDuffie's economic landscape.

"You can just imagine that (Ming Wah) is going to impact the other two. There may be enough (of a market share for all three restaurants), and they may all be busy. It's all subjective," he said.

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Cannon DeLoach cuts boards inside the under-construction Zaxby's.

Mr. Guerrant did indicate that Ming Wah may be more of a draw for people traveling along Interstate 20 and that Lucky Chinese Restaurant and Gai Lok Chinese Restaurant may be more attractive to people living in Thomson.

"And of course they'll all swap (different kinds of customers)," he said.

Ming Wah's Jian Huang said her restaurant's expansion into McDuffie County was done simply to fulfill demand.

"A lot of customers, they like us, and they're always asking us if we're going to open another (restaurant) closer to them, like in Thomson," she said. "Customers just love our food."

Only one lot removed from Ming Wah will be Zaxby's, which Mr. Guerrant said could be ready as early as late May but will probably open sometime in June.

Things are not moving as quickly with the proposed Bojangles restaurant that was set to be built in front of the old Heilig-Myers furniture building. Late last year Augusta businessman Carl Swanson applied with the local planning office for permission to build on the property in hopes of having a Bojangles built by summer of 2004.

But construction hasn't even started, and Mr. Guerrant said that he hasn't heard from Mr. Swanson in quite some time.

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Pedro Guzman nails a board into place inside the Zaxby's building on Washington Road.

"I haven't heard a word from them," said Mr. Guerrant. "They've gotten all the permissions completed. ... They're just sitting on it."

However, Mr. Guerrant did offer up a possible explanation for the delay.

"That's not uncommon for people to come in, go through all this zoning and county paperwork and sit on it for a while."

Three phone messages left for Mr. Swanson were not returned.



Web posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004


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