MR FARRIS GOES TO CITY HALL: JANUARY

 Artist's rendering of the upcoming Urban Square development at Unicorn Lake. 

Artist's rendering of the upcoming Urban Square development at Unicorn Lake. 

Welcome back to Mr. Farris Goes to City Hall, our monthly look into the business developments happening in the city of Denton. Earlier this month, we highlighted our most anticipated things of 2014. We're only a few weeks into the year and a lot of 'em are pretty close to happening. Let's go ahead and jump into it. 

We've already had a few major openings in 2014. Waffle Wagon showed up pretty quick and excited folks. Another would be the new restaurant, Thai Square, that opened in place of the late, great Siam Off the Square. Some great renovations have been done to the space and there is a beautiful menu boasting tantalizing flavors and exciting combinations. We can’t wait to make this a regular spot on our Thai-rotation. 

Speaking of closings, boy have there been a lot of those lately. One in particular was Burguesa, the famous "stick a taco on your burger" concept. Apparently, there are plenty of people trying to get into that space. We’re just hoping for something other than a pizza, taco, or burger place to go in. Maybe some open-pit BBQ if they can get a pit in there somewhere. How about a killer Italian joint? Or Alyssa's dream could come true and a legit French bistro would open up with a menu boasting mussels in white wine, a roast chicken to die for and maybe some badass pastries (we'd kill for a kouign amman over here). We also saw the closing of Gerhard’s, we hear the owner is headed back overseas. Another couple headed back overseas are the owners of Sukhothai off Hickory thanks to a payday from the incoming CVS. Another business gone because of the CVS buyout was Treehouse Restaurant and Grill. 

Incoming, we’ve got a few businesses that we’ve been waiting a while for. Cafe Herrera, who finally has an opening date that we’ve got some confidence in - February 5th. Mark it on your calendars, y’all. We’ve got some Tex-Mex judging to do when those doors open. Hypnotic Donuts and Cultivar Coffee are well underway and will be joining us shortly, but only after they get some construction snags out of the way. A new code is causing them to rethink their flooring and do some massive replacing to their foundation. Either way, we can’t wait to grab a chicken biscuit, loaded donut and a cup of freshly roasted coffee on our way home from Dan’s. 

West Oak Coffee Bar will also be joining the square with some third wave coffee, a growler station, and a decent wine selection. In addition, fresh made, in-house pastries will be an option to go alongside your pour-over. What we really think is cool, though, is the fact that the facade of their building is about to see a major renovation, with the stucco coming off to expose the brick to take the building back to reflect a more historic image. 

Cupcakes are making their way to the square in the form of NV Cupcakes and Sprockets joining forces and bringing us one big happy fixed gear cupcake haven. Oh, and we all already know that Cafe Brazil will be moving into the old Pizza Inn spot on University and bringing all of the breakfast food with them. We haven't heard about hours yet, but we hope they're open into the wee hours of the night. Joining the late night bites crowd will be the second Viet Bites location on Hickory across from the Sterling development near the Fry Street bars. Their late night menu will include pho for all at two in the morning. 

The Martino Group has been busy prepping and building some new apartments. They have a massive complex going into Unicorn Lake, and have a loft style apartment complex going in at 321 W. Hickory called H Squared. High-end living for a young professional who digs a balcony overlooking Hickory and a pet friendly space. Last but definitely not least, the CVS is finally making its way to the Fry Street area and building a pharmacy on the corner of Hickory and Avenue B. At least there will now be a place for the college kids to find an enormous selection of knock-off gummy bears and Advil Cold and Sinus next to campus. 

There's no end in sight for Hickory St. construction that has now officially begun. We never know if the street will be closed or not, but we see plenty of those bright orange cones and hard hats and are getting used to a pretty ragged street while it’s being torn up. Right now they are in Phase 1 of construction and Phase 2 is on deck. Which means before we know it Williams Square will be destroyed and re-built. Check out our twitter to keep up with closures and parking hints as the construction continues.

City councilman of district 2, Dalton Gregory, announced that he will be running for Pete Kamp’s at-large seat as she terms out. Which means his spot in city council will be open in the coming election. Mayor Mark Burroughs will also be terming out of his position, so there will be plenty of excitement as we edge toward the May 10th local election. Keep your eyes peeled for our local political coverage as things heat up and seats go up for grabs.

Speaking of elections, in November this year you'll have more to vote on than just a new governor of Texas. There's a ginormous new bond package. 51 citizens have been nominated for a committee to help decide what the bond ballot should include, what projects should be prioritized and how much money should be asked for. The committee is considering a large range of projects, from street repairs and new fire stations to water park upgrades. Several citizen input meetings are being held and we encourage you to go to any that you can to learn about different projects from city staff and to let your voice be heard about what you think is a priority for the ballot. 

On a final note, did you know that the dog with the mohawk in the "Denton Independent Original" campaign is named Lil’D? Neither did we. Weird, huh?