A family-owned restaurant on North Main Street has closed its doors less than a year after opening, but a franchise pizza operation is working to open its second location in Roswell and its seventh in southeast New Mexico.
Cosmic Salad, owned by Sean Clark and wife Jené Simpson, announced on Facebook Feb. 25 that the business was closing permanently.
The couple had opened their soup, sandwich and salad bar restaurant in August in a rented space just north of Second Street at 209 N. Main St., decorating their windows with colorful western-themed alien characters. Dozens of people posted their upset or sadness at the closing announcement.
Clark and Simpson did not respond to requests for comment by press time, but they had said in an interview prior to the restaurant opening that they were building on their business and food service backgrounds to offer nutritional, affordable, quality food in the downtown area.
While one restaurant has shut down, another food service business is opening a second location a couple miles north.
Vibe Restaurants of Houston, Texas, a franchisee of Little Caesars Pizza, plans to be ready for business at its second site in Roswell in April. The restaurant will be located in what was once the Hasting’s Entertainment coffee shop at 1705B N. Main St., across the street from the New Mexico Military Institute.
John Polchinski, operations coach, said that Vibe Restaurants purchased a Little Caesars franchise operation in southeast New Mexico in November, which included six existing stores in Roswell, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Portales, Artesia and Clovis.
The south Main Street Little Caesars location, at the corner of West Wildy Street, has been successful for more than 20 years, Polchinski said, and the Roswell expansion is one of several planned in the region for the coming years.
“Little Caesars has been well-received for a long time,” Polchinski said, “and we just thought we would better serve our customer base here in Roswell by opening another restaurant that is on the other side of town, closer to the north, where there is a lot of housing and shopping, all the things that will draw people to this area.”
Polchinski said that he expects the new restaurant to employ about 20 to 25 people, a similar number to the existing store.
The company is renting the restaurant space, which is being renovated.
“They pretty much gutted the inside,” he said, “and they did that fairly quickly and they are now rebuilding it into a typical Little Caesars layout.”
Little Caesars emphasizes fast service and take-home food, so the stores in this region feature a drive-through and a few seats for waiting customers, but no in-store dining, Polchinski said.
Vibe Restaurants’ corporate website indicates it owns Little Caesars restaurants and Which Wich sandwich shops and operates in eight states.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.