New restaurants provide variety

Photo by Katy Murray
Katy Murray
Staff Writer

   Huddle House, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell are changing the menu in Monticello. These establishments are offering some new eating choices by opening, re-opening and moving their places of business.

   The brand new Huddle House is located on Highway 425. It opened its doors Sept. 6 and is still planning the grand opening. The KFC reopened with a bang Aug. 22 in its old location. They gave away free food that night from 5-7 p.m. Finally the Taco Bell will move into its new home right in front of Wal-Mart on Sept. 27.

    The Huddle House, still somewhat of a novelty franchise in Arkansas, and its owner, Earl Freeland, expect a good welcome from the people of Monticello.

   “It is a 24-hour-a-day family restaurant with a wide variety menu,” Freeland said.

   Although the chain is celebrating their 40th anniversary, the restaurant is relatively new to the Natural State. Only four other locations exist in the state, including those in Crossett, El Dorado, Paragould and Clinton. The Southeastern-based restaurant is located right on the highway. It is also perfect for late-night college-style study breaks because they’re one of the only restaurants in town that stay open around the clock. Freeland said Monticello provides a good fit for the bustling Huddle House.

Photo by Katy Murray
   “There’s a big high school and college base, it’s a good town, there’s little competition and its only 45 miles away from my home in Crossett,” he said.

    KFC decided to reopen its doors Aug. 22 after being closed for quite some time.

   “The old store was shut down because the previous owner of the KFC stores in Dumas, McGhee and Monticello decided to sell the stores as opposed to remodeling them,” manager Franklin Gilmore said.

    The new owner, Raheel Foods, remodeled the store and brought the chain back to Monticello. The “new and improved” store is receiving a great reception this time around and business has been booming, Gilmore said..

Photo by Katy Murray
    Finally to dispatch with the rumor that many college students at UAM are spreading: no, there will not be two Taco Bells in Monticello, even though it is a favorite of many young people. They will simply be moving to a new location in what's now the busiest part of town.

   There will be a grand opening for the new store either on or following their Sept. 27 opening. They expect to increase their business a great deal by moving to a new area, which just happens to be nestled beside many of the other popular fast-food restaurants in town. These stores provide the main competition of Taco Bell and moving should definitely increase their sales.

   “The current store has been in the same location for nearly 20 years and the building is pretty antiquated,” assistant manager Ann Thomason said. “The new store is in a much better location and the building will have more space, it will be a bigger Taco Bell.”

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