Western Shawnee should invest in dining development

There need to be more restaurants and fewer auto centers


Nora Lucas, JagWire editor-in-chief

Western Shawnee, I love you, but you have to cool it with the auto centers. Every time I drive through our area, there’s AutoZone, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Weaver’s and many, many more. This is all well and good; I suppose it is convenient to have an auto parts store on every block. The problem is that while we’re erecting a new location for tires every year or so, there is rarely a new place to eat.

According to Google Maps, nine auto centers and nine sit-down restaurants reside within a two-mile radius from the school. For our purposes, I defined a sit-down restaurant as a local business that has a dining area. Some of these in our area include Sombrero’s, Twisted, Pizza West, etc. Jokingly, I knew there were a lot of auto centers, but I was completely surprised to find how few restaurants we really have. There is no reason we should have an auto center for every restaurant, unless you like drinking oil.

And while it may seem as though there are more than enough dining options, just think about what kind of food they serve. It’s all either Mexican, Chinese, pizza or bar food. None of these restaurants cater to any crowd that expects more from their meal than a styrofoam cup and great prices.

I’m not knocking down the places we do have; trust me, I’ve eaten nearly every breakfast option on the Pegah’s menu. They’re great places to eat, but the same scenery can get old, especially if you’ve lived in this area for most of your life. The food may be delicious, but it’s comfortable and the menus don’t change. Even places that have great potential are exhausting after eating there for 10 years.

The best thing we can do for our community is to vote with your dollar.”

It’s unclear who to blame, though. It’s not the city’s fault and maybe businesses just aren’t interested in the clientele here. Still, I’d like to think there is a faction of people in this area who would support upscale restaurants. The best thing we can do for our community is to vote with your dollar. Eat at local, sit-down restaurants and create an environment attractive to developers who may be interested in our area.

I know I sound like a snob, but it shouldn’t be too much to ask to have nice, local restaurants in our neck of the woods. I don’t enjoy driving 20 minutes down to Leawood and having to spend my money there instead of my own neighborhood. Shawnee is my hometown and I value the close-knit relationships our current business owners have with the community. It would make me so happy if our neighborhood could blossom into the happening place I know it could be.

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