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Dining options increasing in South Hall

Fast-food restaurants booming in Oakwood, Flowery Branch

POSTED: August 20, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Seeing the Oakwood area as a growth hot spot, Jim and Val McClure wanted to launch their fifth Captain D’s Seafood Restaurant in the South Hall County city when the time was right.

The couple, making up Dahlonega-based VJM Seafood Inc., saw their opportunity when they signed a three-unit expansion deal for North Georgia with the national chain.

“There’s not another seafood-type restaurant in Oakwood, so we thought it would be a good location for us and be an added benefit for that community,” said Jim McClure, who owns Captain D’s in Dahlonega, Cleveland, Cornelia and Toccoa and has yet to decide on the two remaining future locations.

The project off Thurmon Tanner Parkway continues a spate of recent restaurant growth in Oakwood, with Steak ‘n Shake opening to huge crowds in June and hamburger archrivals McDonald’s and Burger King each tearing down and rebuilding their establishments on Mundy Mill Road.

Also, in the past year or so, Napoli’s Pizza opened off Mundy Mill, expanding from its Flowery Branch site.

Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown said he doesn’t expect the trend to slow, fueled by other changes in the area, such as the Northeast Georgia Health System’s plans to convert the old Sam’s Club into a corporate support service center.

“That’s going to bring a number of employees and more activity down there,” he said.

The city gets some inquiries on available space, including a lot behind Steak ‘n Shake and the long-vacant Hardees’s restaurant off Mundy Mill northwest of Interstate 985.

Overall, the area’s current fare tends to be more oriented to fast food.

“We’d like to see more sit-down, chain-type (casual dining) restaurants,” Brown said.

For years, South Hall wasn’t exactly a dining mecca, even as its population was growing rapidly. Residents often have opted for the booming eatery scenes in Gainesville — such as along Ga. 53/Dawsonville Highway and Browns Bridge Road — and the Mall of Georgia in Buford.

Eating out improved with the opening of the regional Stonebridge Village Shopping Center in Flowery Branch off Spout Springs Road at I-985. Recent openings in the city include Planet Smoothie off Spout Springs Road and Antebellum restaurant off Main Street downtown.

Also, Block ‘n Blade Butcher Shoppe is opening off Atlanta Highway, expanding from its Braselton store.

“And the city is in the process of doing a redevelopment plan, so we certainly want to see more restaurants and retail opportunities,” said John McHenry, Flowery Branch city planner. “We’d love to get a broad array of lunchtime and evening eating spots.”

As for the Captain D’s, the McClures plan to break ground today on the restaurant between United Community Bank and Jameson Inn, with completion set for early November, Jim McClure said.


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