“Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood”

One of the battles that Hastings and its citizens seem to fight is the lack of dining options. While I do concede that Bullseye’s, Kitty’s, Murphy’s, and Rivals have tasty and filling menu options, they all seem to fall under similar dining categories. What’s more is that Hastings has quite the overabundance of restaurants in similar categories: Sports bars, fast food, Chinese and Mexican. What about seafood? Thai? Or a name restaurant?! How will we live “big” without a sit-down name restaurant? Don’t get me wrong, we have great local spots here – Back Alley, Hunan’s, and Bernardo’s – but they all close early and only give us a limited variety of options.

In the coming weeks, Hastings will finally get another small taste of living big when an Applebee’s opens up in our neighborhood. As a former employee, I know that it is not the cream of the crop but both its quality of food and recognizable name will provide a step in the right direction. The menu includes steak, burgers, seafood, pasta, and more, so there is definitely something for everyone in your party. Plus, their ad campaign says “open ‘til midnight or later” so that gives us young people a place to go – not to mention the late-night half-price appetizers! So, I think this is a positive step for Hastings and its surrounding areas in order to expand and grow. Others think it might actually hurt some of the local restaurants once the new “neighbor” moves in.

Do I think this will hurt local businesses? No. The fact of the matter is that Applebee’s will take business away from the locals initially as it is new. However, it will assimilate into the Hastings culture and will be another restaurant here. It will not be the one place to which everyone goes because familiar spots such as Murphy’s or Rivals have specials that you know and love (Murphy’s has cheap drinks; Rivals has a bunch of flat screens).

Bottom Line: Embrace Applebee’s with open arms as it moves into the neighborhood. With it brings another step towards living big in a small town. And if you don’t like it, feel free to stay home. At least we know that only one of us will be “eatin’ good in the neighborhood.”



About the author: Josh Wooster

I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, where I attended Millard West High School. I chose Hastings College because it gave students personal attention, extracurricular options, and music ensembles better than those of other colleges in the state. I am currently the leader of 1-2-5, the men’s a-cappella singing ensemble, while also being a part of the Hastings College Choir and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the men’s music fraternity. Other commitments include being an intern for the Hastings Chamber of Commerce and membership in the Student Environmental Action Coalition and Society for Collegiate Journalists. “Free time” for me involves arranging music for 1-2-5, working at the Lochland Country Club, and searching for a job. I am a jovial spirit with a diligent attitude towards work, and a keen eye for detail. I hope to stick around Hastings after college to work and give back to the city and college that have offered me so much.

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