Monday, August 1, 2011
Aparicio’s closes, new places abound in McKinney Historic District
The McKinney Historic District is becoming more like the M streets in Dallas.
As reported in Town Square Buzz, Aparicio’s has shut its doors in downtown McKinney. If you haven’t been keeping up with Town Square Buzz, they have added a lot of features and more are coming. One feature you should know about is their “Chatterbox: The Lowdown Around Town.” They are doing a lot of what I have been doing, trying to keep up with downtown, but they do this full time and I just do it for fun. They are also keeping up with Adriatica and StoneBridge, so they are definitely something to look into to keep informed.
It’s always sad to lose a business on the square, and this part of Virginia Street really could use a vibrant business a lot more than an empty storefront. The building next to it that was previously McKinney Title is under construction, and it is my understanding that this will eventually house the Wormington Law Firm, which currently offices just off the square.
One thing that would certainly help Virginia Street businesses in general is if someone could swing a deal with the parking lot across the street. I’ve often wondered why this part of Virginia always seems so ... for lack of a better word, “calm,” in comparison to the same stretch on Louisiana. I personally think it’s the restricted parking lots on the north side of Virginia. I bet someone could offer paid parking in this lot, either the owner or a subletter at night, and do reasonably well while still reserving the needed number of parking spaces during the day. I could be wrong. It’s just a thought. I had to park two blocks away today at lunchtime (though that was mainly because I cause fits of hysterical laughter or cursing when I try to parallel park, depending on my audience).
Thanks to Town Square Buzz, we also now know which jewelry store is coming in on Virginia Street next to Tom Levy’s Stonewood Creations and Special Things ... Nan Lee Jewelry. I’ve heard of Nan Lee because they advertised on the Adriatica blog. The building is coming along well and it looks like it should be ready to open soon. This will be our third jewelry store on the square, joining Facets on Louisiana Street and The Jewelry Fix in the old Ritz building.
I went by the new shop opening by Mom & POPcorn Candy Company and they are quickly approaching their opening date, August 5. That’s a soft opening. The grand opening will probably be the week after. The shop’s name is Artisanal. The paper is down from the windows, and interested shoppers have kept owner Gregory Reel very busy even though he’s not officially open yet.
When I stopped by today, I happened to catch him explaining the store to a group of ladies and he gave me a few minutes of his time to showcase what the store has to offer. He said that the Dallas Morning News had been in this morning so I’ll be on the look out for that article and post a link to it on the blog’s Facebook page as soon as I see that it’s been published. The store’s website will come online after the shop’s grand opening.
Artisanal is going to fit right in here on the McKinney Square. The owner travels approximately six weeks out of the year finding the very best, most unique wares from around the world. This is at least the third business on the square that I know does this, but the first for food. Both Chase Hall and Patina Green travel through Europe to bring back the neatest antique finds. Petals and Vine also travels to get unique finds, but I think they travel mostly in the U.S..
The owner is a wonderfully friendly man and exceedingly knowledgable about all of his products. Get him going and you can easily take a trip around the world while still standing in McKinney. For instance, Artisanal imports Halutza olives from Israel, where he says the Dead Sea provides the perfect environment for the best tasting olives in the world.
From Abruzzo (and, no, I don’t know where that is), they have Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta. According to the product’s website, they use special bronze molds that give the pasta the perfect coarseness for sauces. That is just something I would never have thought about.
Outside of Michigan, Artisanal may be one of the only places where you can get American Spoon products like their featured Farmhouse Tomato Relish. I’m getting confirmation on that but, really, where else would you rather go?
There is so much in the store ... too many things to list them all. I’ve got to go back when they open and get one of the serving trays they have there. It has a little hole on it where you can attach different ceramic accent pieces for different themes. The attachments are collectible and they make the tray perfect for use at a bridal shower one night and a football party the next just by changing out the decorative attachment. (Not that I do a lot of that, but it would be very cool for taking hors d’oeuvres to different parties.) The more I think about it, the more I absolutely have to have one.
In other news downtown, there is major construction going on at the old bakery on Tennessee Street.
This building was a neighborhood bakery for most of its life, most recently housing a church, a Latin comedy club, a taqueria, and a convenience store. While I don’t know what is going in, a mention was made in the Town Square Buzz recently about a club called “The Lazy Lizard” to come in somewhere on Tennessee street. I asked one of the construction workers, and while he didn’t know specifically what was coming in or when their project would be done, he was under the impression that it would be some type of dance hall. Taking into consideration cultural and language differences, I think we were on the same subject.
Whoever it is means business and appears to have the money to back it up. They have torn out the old parking lot around the whole building. What they’ve done so far has got to be incredibly expensive.
There are literally tons of heavy machinery on hand too. With this kind of approach, I’d bet that we’ll see the eventual “shape of things” within a very short time.
My husband and I have often compared the McKinney Historic District with the M streets in Dallas. My grandmother used to live on Vanderbilt in a beautiful 1920s brick Tudor. (I realize Vanderbilt doesn’t start with “M” but it was next to McCommas and Monticello). She was a little further away from Greenville Avenue than we will be from Tennessee Street. I was hoping for boutiques along Tennessee Street (more like Snider Plaza than Lower Greenville), but I guess we’ll deal with it. With all of our restaurants and artists, maybe I should have seen the potential for a more “Deep Ellum” feel. Maybe we’ll end up somewhere in between ... like Knox-Henderson.
This could be fun. Maybe we should get a big dog. One thing is for certain -- Tennessee Street is going to be developed. There’s also a large new sign up across the street from Diggin’ It advertising that there are five commercial lots available for sale.
There are tons of things going on in the area – National Night Out on August 2 and the Melon Dash 5k on August 6, just to name a couple. Be sure to check the McKinney Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s website for details on all events.
Pegasus News Content partner - On The Square
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