By Karen Welch — Senior Content Producer
The Lost Cajun's landing at The Shoppes at Wolflin Square returns a Cajun dimension to Amarillo's cuisine, but it also represents a piece of the larger renaissance of a 1960s-era shopping center.
In March 2014, Wolflin Square owner Mays Group embarked on a $6-million facelift for the shopping center, putting on an entirely new facade, adding landscaping and curb appeal for Interstate 40 drivers.
Mays Group also added a stand-alone building for Texas Tea, Premium Water and Ice, and began planning ways to add hours to Wolflin Square's day, traffic-wise.
The Lost Cajun fits into that strategy quite well.
The new restaurant, spearheaded by Amarillo restaurateur Mike Fogiel, puts a tenant active into the evenings into the northeast corner of the square — a space that, until now, was occupied by a wholesale warehouse business. It brings a still corner of the shopping center to life right along I-40.
"I think it’s going to revitalize that whole corner," said Mays Group's Austin Sharp. We have great daytime traffic, so what we're focusing on now is the evenings and that weekend traffic — getting the restaurants and some of the retailers that provide and experience. That's what ge's people off of their couch. And I think that's what you're really fighting for now, with retail, their time.
"We’re working with a really cool kind of nicer, high-end gym. They're not signed yet, so I can't really give you any details. But we're looking at things that offer a little different experience for people."
Consider that strategy when you think that many of the retailers added to Wolflin Square in recent years have been food- and beverage-centered: Texas Tea, Sushi House, Domino's, the Lost Cajun and Firehouse Subs, which will be opening later this year in the space formerly occupied by Baker Brothers American Deli.
There's still no word on a retailer for the vacant Furr's Cafeteria space. But the search is ongoing, Sharp said.
"We had a cool restaurant concept (in talks) that fell through," he said. "It was a funding issue on their side. So we're kind of back to the drawing board."
The Lost Cajun will open around the first of the year, Sharp said.
"It just depends on city permitting," he said. "But my guess is early 2018."
The Wolflin Square transformation also includes programming — more special events that will attract shoppers, such as the Aug. 5 Summer Sidewalk Sale & Festival. The gathering will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include live music, food trucks, popup vendors, sidewalk sales by all tenants, children's activities and even a mimosa station from Taste Dessert Bar.