Restaurant no longer opening

The former Portales Dairy Queen building is remaining vacant because Roma's Italian Restaurant will no longer be coming to Portales, Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation Director Doug Redmond said Tuesday.

Mario Arjula, owner of Clovis' Roma's, had plans to open up a cafe-style restaurant, which would have served pasta and pizza, in late October.

Redmond confirmed that Arjula will no longer bring his business here but declined to say why. Arjula was not immediately available.

With this new vacancy, Redmond said he's looking into other businesses to attract to the area.

"We are working on some things but nothing I can call a prospect at this point," Redmond said. "We always take public input. A lot of people would really like to see a Dairy Queen come back. A lot of people commented on that."

Redmond said although the building on First Street the Dairy Queen occupied isn't ideal for a 24-hour restaurant, he is working to bring one to the area.

"It's one of the things the community identified three or four years ago as definitely a desire or a need," Redmond said.

Redmond says a 24-hour restaurant such as a Denny's would appeal to a variety of groups in the area.

"Most restaurants do close typically after the dinner hour," Redmond said.

But with truck traffic and Eastern New Mexico University's student population, he feels a 24-hour restaurant would be ideal. He said a 24-hour restaurant also attracts the party crowd on weekends.

"There are people on the weekends who go out and enjoy themselves and would like to have a meal after doing that," Redmond said.

Redmond said in order to attract such a restaurant, he's using figures such as Portales' population and traffic count to solidify his argument.

Redmond said this isn't the first time someone has looked to bring a restaurant of this type to the area.

"My predecessor has done the same thing," Redmond said.

But he feels things have changed since the first proposal was done including the growing population of military personnel.

"It's too soon to say, but I've had some good conversations," Redmond said about bringing the restaurant here.

As far as a family fun center, Redmond said that is still a priority for the area.

They are currently conducting an in-house feasibility study, which they have been working on since Thanksgiving.

The proposed center would include a movie theater, bowling alley, arcade games and a restaurant of some type.

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