Liberty Burger co-owner Mariel Street awaits the keys for her new restaurant in the Lakewood Shopping Center. Photo by Kim Ritzenthaler Leeson

Liberty Burger co-owner Mariel Street awaits the keys for her new restaurant in the Lakewood Shopping Center. Photo by Kim Ritzenthaler Leeson

Restaurateurs and business owners rush to Lakewood

The dust is stirring at Lakewood Shopping Center. The two vacant spaces that, once upon a time, housed Catalina 5G Boutique and the School of Contemporary Ballet Dallas are being gutted and chopped up to make room for a new burger haven.

Liberty Burger co-owner Mariel Street signed a lease with Lincoln Property Co. in mid-March. She will be overseeing the Lakewood branch of Liberty Burger from here on out, and she says she hopes to make it “very Lakewood.”

“I’ve hired some great designers who have really unique touches, so we’re actually going to break down some of the Liberty Burger design a little bit and make it very Lakewood — nothing cookie-cutter. We’re going to really tailor it to the neighborhood,” Street says.

There’s still a bit of work to be done before Lincoln hands the keys over to Liberty Burger. They’re going to knock down some major walls and put in a breezeway connecting the front of the building to the back. Liberty Burger will take up part of the Catalina space and part of the Contemporary Ballet Dallas space. Beside it, between Liberty Burger and Beads of Splendor, will be a vacant spot that Lincoln is looking to fill.

After Lincoln finishes the initial overhaul, Street and her team will start their phase of the construction. “I’m hoping [the Liberty Burger construction] will start in July, and from there it should probably take 90 days. Hopefully 60, but realistically more like 90,” Street says.

In 2012, the UPS store was moved from the Lakewood Shopping Center to a new location at Gaston and Garland. In January, FLOSS dental put up a sign announcing their upcoming arrival in the vacant UPS spot.

Most of the other tenants in the Lakewood Shopping Center have leases for at least a couple of years, so we might not see any more big changes for a while. Some rumors have circulated about the possibility of Lincoln building a parking garage near or in Lakewood Shopping Center, but we’ve heard that’s not on Lincoln’s to-do list at this point.

In the Gaston-Garland shopping center, Lincoln should start renovations on the old YMCA building any day now. Although we don’t know exactly what that will look like, we do know it’s going to be retail, not a multi-family building as some rumors have suggested. According to plans Lincoln revealed in February, they hope to anchor the shopping center with a major grocer in the original YMCA space, and then slice and dice the Far West building into three or four smaller shops.

In other important restaurant news, Chipotle is officially coming to Lakewood at the northwest corner of Abrams and Richmond, according to a Chipotle spokesperson. At this point, they are not able to tell us when they expect to open.

Also, it seems Italian local mini-chain Patrizio has been snooping around Lakewood trying to find the ideal location for a new restaurant.

The most recent possibility Patrizio considered was the former Rocket Science Salon in the Wells Fargo building at Gaston and Abrams. The Rocket Science space looks out on Dixie House on the lower/plaza floor of the building.

Outside is a large, somewhat recessed patio area that would have been dynamic for a restaurant, but the deal didn’t go through, and the Rocket Science space reportedly has been leased to a general practitioner, with Patrizio’s still on the hunt for a space somewhere.

And last but not least, the Genaro’s of yesteryear is making a comeback. The old Washington Mutual Bank building at Abrams and Mockingbird is now sporting a “Genaro’s coming soon” sign.

If you have been around for a while, you might recall Genaro’s Tropical Mexican Restaurant in the Skillman and La Vista shopping center, or the various Moctezuma’s on McKinney Avenue. Genaro Silva is back in the restaurant biz, although he says he isn’t quite ready to reveal what sort of food and experience we can expect at the new location. If it’s anything like the old place, it’ll be fine-dining Tex-Mex, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

For now, Silva’s fixing up the place, which will be a chore considering that the location has been a bank building for the past couple of tenants — a Washington Mutual, and then most recently a Chase. It’s been vacant for the past three years, though. So, if nothing else, it’s nice to see a little life in the windows.

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