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A franchisee of a Baton Rouge, La., restaurant chain has purchased the former Ryan's Family Steakhouse property on Collins Road NE with plans to open a new restaurant in late 2020.
Raising Cane's, founded 1996 in Baton Rouge, primarily sells chicken fingers at more than 450 locations in 27 states as well as operating 22 restaurants in the Middle East.
Southern Hospitality Ventures of Lincoln, Neb., owns and operates Raising Cane's locations in Altoona, Cedar Falls and West Des Moines. A Davenport store will open late next month.
Justin Jones, co-owner and CEO of Southern Hospitality Ventures, said the purchase of the two-and-a-half-acre former Ryan's site at 230 Collins Rd. NE was finalized on Tuesday.
'We are going to construct a Raising Cane's on one acre and we do not have a tenant lined up for other acre yet,” Jones said.
'We plan to demolish the existing building toward the end of this year or early next year. Construction will slow down in the January-February transition and we expect to get better prices.”
Construction will begin in June 2020 on a 3,100-square-foot Raising Cane's virtually identical to the company's Altoona location, with completion projected for December 2020.
He said the restaurant, which will be open every day for lunch and dinner, will have six full-time managers and about 60 employees.
'The Raising Cane's will have inside and outside seating as well as a drive-up window,” Jones said. 'It will have an overhead door that we can open for access to the outdoor seating area.
'We will have a huge patio out front with a lot of landscaping. We invest heavily in beautifying the areas where we have restaurants.”
Raising Cane's has been growing aggressively in the Midwest in recent years. Jones and his wife, Jennifer, launched Southern Hospitality Ventures in 2006 and filled out the Nebraska market by 2008.
'Our focus is to fill out the Iowa market over the next four years,” Jones said. 'We will probably be opening another 12 or 13 restaurants, including two in Cedar Rapids, one or two more in the Quad Cities as well as locations in Coralville, Dubuque and Iowa City.
'We will probably round out everything with more restaurants in the Des Moines area.”
Jones said he has been looking for a suitable location in the Cedar Rapids market for the past two years.
'We had two spots at Lindale Mall that we were looking at, but there were restrictions because of Chick-fil-A,” he said. 'We pursued the sale of the Ryan's Steakhouse property 18 months ago, but the deal fell through.
'We came back recently and the REIT (real estate investment trust) that owned the property was ready to sell.”
Southern Hospitality Ventures, which has given back more than $1.8 million to the communities where it has restaurants, received the 2019 Restaurant Neighbor award from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
Jones said the company plans to be active in the Cedar Rapids community.