More restaurants, a zoo set to open in Northwest Arkansas


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The leisure and hospitality sector in Northwest Arkansas continues to expand. Pinnacle Hills Promenade is getting its first aquarium as The Blue Zoo interactive petting zoo and aquatic entertainment venue is expected to open in September.

Blue Zoo Aquarium founder said the business is investing $3.5 million into the 22,000-square-foot Rogers location. The venue will feature a fish petting zoo, a diving experience with sharks, along with bird, butterfly and reptile exhibits.

“Interactive water tables and games and a lot of opportunities to feed and interact with animals as well,” said Wesley Haws, founder of Blue Zoo Aquarium, which has locations in Spokane, Wash., Oklahoma City, Okla., Baton Rouge, La. ., and Boise, Idaho.

The Rogers location would be its fifth location. Haws said he typically chooses sites with at least one million people, and while Northwest Arkansas is not there yet, he said the region is booming with continued growth potential for years to come.

“We are looking for a September timeline, obviously. If you talk to any business right now, they’ll tell you how hard it is to get the supplies in and get things put together in time,” Haws added.

Tickets for the Blue Zoo Aquarium will cost $19.95 for adults and $16.95 for kids.

Zaxby’s is set to open a new location at 4301 S. Pleasant Crossing Blvd., in southwest Rogers. The business will be across the street from the Walmart Store #5260 auto center.

Bentonville/Centerton also recently welcomed a Schlotzsky’s sandwich shop at 1626 E. Centerton Blvd. and an Andy’s Frozen Custard at 1644 E. Centerton Blvd., just inside the Bentonville city limits.

Andy’s Frozen Custard is under construction on West Sunset in front of Sam’s Club in Springdale and is slated to open by September. Cronut Donuts is coming to Farmington at 80 W. Main Street. This eatery is slated to open in the next couple of months.

A Jersey Mike’s restaurant opened this month in Fayetteville at 160 E. Joyce Blvd., next to Guitar Center. This is the fourth location for Jersey Mike’s in the region and the first in Fayetteville. The fast-casual sandwich shop was supposed to open in December, but plans were delayed because of supply chain setbacks.

“We are excited to be in Fayetteville. We chose this location as we felt it is the perfect spot to serve our Jersey Mike’s fans in the greater Fayetteville area,” said Nick Morgan, franchise owner.

Also coming to south Fayetteville in early 2023 will be the legendary Central BBQ, based in Memphis. Construction is underway at 417 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., at the corner of South School Avenue on the site of the old Farmers’ Co-Op in Fayetteville. It’s part of a new mixed-use development by Fayetteville developer Specialized Real Estate Group called South Yard Lofts.

Central BBQ COO Brian Wyatt said Memphis has always had a love for the Razorback Nation, and it was just a matter of time before the Memphis eatery expanded here. Wyatt said the restaurant will open sometime next year and serve all the BBQ staples customers expect.

Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux is finishing up its south Fayetteville location at 1199 N. Shiloh Drive. The Louisiana-based Cajun cuisine eatery is expected to open this fall.


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