June 15–WATERLOO, Iowa — Over the last couple of years, Cedar Falls businessman Darin Beck has closed a number of restaurants, blaming a bad economy as a major culprit behind the failures.
Those days of cutbacks are over, Beck said Wednesday in announcing he would be opening a Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise location at Crossroads Center next fall.
Beck pointed out it would not be part of Barmuda Cos., his network of seven restaurants, plus Park Place Events Centre.
The new eatery will go into a new 5,000-square-foot structure, built to West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Hurricane Grill & Wings’ specifications, at 2027 Crossroads Blvd., Beck said.
He said his business will be the “anchor tenant” of a new retail strip mall on the site of the former Crossroads Bonanza restaurant.
The new Hurricane Grill & Wings location will create 75 full- and part-time jobs, Beck said, adding that he was in the process of putting together a management staff.
Beck said it was time to stop shrinking his Barmuda Cos., which he said had peaked at 650 employees in mid-2009 but had steadily shriveled to its current roster of about 350.
“You can only shrink so far before you have to grow,” Beck said.
The Waterloo location, which will open in October or November, Beck said, will be Hurricane Grill & Wings’ first in Iowa. The tropical-themed restaurant will feature a casual dining atmosphere with chicken wings, burgers, salads, wraps, appetizers and other entrees. A bar inside will open up to an outside bar and dining area.
“It’s kind of a unique concept,” Beck said.
The chain has more than 50 units across the U.S.
“I just really excited about their future and the executive (staff) they’ve assembled,” Beck said, adding that the deal was about nine months in the making.
Beck said the Crossroads location is ideal.
“I always said if I was going to open up another restaurant in this town, I’d want to do it in a high-volume, high-traffic location, and the counts there are astronomical,” Beck said.
Another restaurant in Cedar Falls was not an option, Beck said.
“We’ve had too much density in Cedar Falls, versus Waterloo; we’re just competing against ourselves too dramatically, and the recession certainly made it more evident,” Beck said. “When times are good it’s not such a big deal.”
Beck declined to disclose the amount he is investing in the new venture.