Northwest Arkansas’ leisure and hospitality sector continues to expand. The Pinnacle Hills boardwalk is getting its first aquarium as the interactive petting zoo and water fun venue is set to open in September.
Blue Zoo Aquarium the founder said the business is investing $3.5 million in the 22,000-square-foot Rogers location. The venue will feature a fish petting zoo, a shark diving experience, along with bird, butterfly and reptile exhibits.
“Interactive water tables and games and lots of opportunities to feed and interact with the 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 picks places with at least a million people, and while Northwest Arkansas isn’t quite there yet, he said the region is booming with continued growth potential for years to come.
“We’re looking for a September timeframe, of course. If you talk to any business now, they’ll tell you how hard it is to get supplies and get things together on time,” Haws added.
Tickets for the Blue Zoo Aquarium will cost $19.95 for adults and $16.95 for children.
Zaxby’s is set to open a new location at 4301 S. Pleasant Crossing Blvd., southwest of Rogers. The business will be across from 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 across from Sam’s Club in Springdale and is scheduled to open by September. Cronut Donuts is coming to Farmington at 80 W. Main Street. This restaurant is scheduled to open in the next two months.
A Jersey Mike’s restaurant opened this month in Fayetteville at 160 E. Joyce Blvd., next door to Guitar Center. This is the fourth Jersey Mike’s location in the region and the first in Fayetteville. The fast-casual sandwich shop was supposed to open in December, but plans were delayed due to supply chain setbacks.
“We are excited to be in Fayetteville. We chose this location because we felt it was the perfect place to serve Jersey Mike’s fans in the greater Fayetteville area,” said Nick Morgan, franchise owner.
Also coming south of Fayetteville in early 2023 will be legendary Memphis-based Central BBQ. Construction is underway at 417 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., at the corner of South School Avenue on the site of the old Fayetteville Farmers Cooperative. It is part of one 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 love for Razorback Nation and it was only a matter of time before the Memphis restaurant expanded here. Wyatt said the restaurant will open sometime next year and will serve all the BBQ items customers expect.
Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux is closing its south Fayetteville location at 1199 N. Shiloh Drive. The Louisiana-based Cajun cuisine restaurant is expected to open this fall.