Support What We Have and Remain Hopeful for More

Recently, the City Council approved the sale of a plot of city land to a developer on the North side of town. This sale also led to an agreement to build the latest McDonald’s in our community. While some are excited to have another fast-food option on the North side, others are not so thrilled; stating they wish a family-owned restaurant or a new-to-us restaurant would find its way to that side of town. This has led to several conversations about how new restaurants are brought to our city. Full disclosure: I personally try to limit my fast-food consumption because I’m not necessarily able to walk off an unhealthy meal. Therefore, I wasn’t overly excited to have the opportunity awarded to build a new restaurant for McDonald’s. However, I recognize that this new business will bring benefits to our community.

Per our development agreement, McDonald’s is going to purchase the property for $500,000, hire approximately 72 full-time and part-time employees at this location, and invest a total of $4.9 million. This generates taxes that we can use for future developments and to offset property tax increases. Other restaurants that showed interest in this location were Domino’s and Arby’s; however, neither of their proposals came close to the overall investment that was proposed by McDonald’s. I feared that if we denied the bids of these fast-food chains in hopes that a different restaurant would be interested, the market could turn down, and we would be left unable to recruit any viable option – let alone one that would provide as much revenue as McDonald’s. 

I have read your comments and heard your frustrations, and frankly, I wish there was more I could do. I have spoken with developers, realtors, and our economic development staff about intentionally recruiting specific restaurants and businesses that I have heard a great deal of support for, such as Cracker Barrel, Costco, and Trader Joe’s, which have been highly requested by community members for years. Contrary to what the comment section on SCJ posts have said, the City Council has very little control over which businesses are developed and where. Car washes, banks, hotels, and the eighth McDonald’s in the metro all invest millions into our community, and the only reason they do so is because they have calculated that there is a profit to be made here in Siouxland.

So, what’s new and noteworthy? I am excited about some of the new chain restaurants the Siouxland Metro will welcome in 2024. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is currently being constructed between Fleet Farm and Target. Chick-fil-A is finalizing its plans for a Hamilton location, where down the road Wing Stop recently opened its doors. Don’t forget about Wahlburgers in the Hamilton Hy-Vee, which opened last year. I haven’t heard an update on PepperJax, but I remain optimistic. Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Holstein, and I hope we can entice them to come to Sioux City as well. I have heard that Jersey Mike’s could be on the horizon, and I am happy to confirm that Raising Canes is actively working on at least one location in our community. 

Aside from all these additions, we have so many amazing local establishments that I encourage you to support. When restaurants and/or businesses are looking to open a new location in our community, they look at how strongly we have supported similar businesses. I urge you to get out of your comfort zone; consider trying a new restaurant, explore food from a different culture, and bring your friends and family along with you. I recommend checking out Siouxland Local Eats, a page on Facebook dedicated to local restaurant recommendations. Other foodie-friendly opportunities in Siouxland include Restaurant Week, featuring various downtown restaurants, as well as Food Truck Fridays, held throughout the summer at Pearl Street Park. You never know when you may find a new favorite local spot or what your support could do to draw future options to the area. 

By Alex Watters

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