The next pieces of Michael Ng’s Jackson Ward food court are sliding into place.
Ng, a landlord and owner of the Thai Cabin food carts and Thai Corner restaurant, has leased space to a mobile food business looking to put down roots and is working to launch another restaurant on North Second Street.
Slideways Bistro plans to open next month in Ng’s 700-square-foot space at 317 N. Second St. The restaurant will be a brick-and-mortar incarnation of Garret Walker’s Slideways Mobile Bistro, which, as its name implies, specializes in sliders or mini sandwiches.
The eatery signed a one-year lease for the storefront that was briefly home to Estes BBQ’s first try at a stationary restaurant. Estes closed in November after what Ng described as a trial period.
Slideways joins a growing list of restaurants to set up shop in Jackson Ward.
“More people are realizing that going downtown is not a bad idea anymore,” Slideways director of operations and head chef Mike Siler said of the decision to open in the neighborhood.
Walker launched Slideways Mobile in April 2013 with a single food trailer and has added two more to his fleet. Slideways has between $20,000 and $25,000 budgeted for the new restaurant, Walker said. He is financing his efforts with personal savings and a loan.
In addition to signing his new tenant, Ng is working to open Ándale, a taco shop, in the 700-square-foot space at 325 N. Second St.
He has owned the property since 2006 and has used it as a commissary for Thai Cabin and Thai Corner. He expects it to cost between $20,000 and $25,000 to open his taco shop.
Ándale will sit next to Thai Corner at 327 N. Second St. Ng owns that space, along with 315 N. Second St., which is occupied by Big Herm’s Kitchen.
“I like variety,” Ng said. “As long as no one is opening a Thai restaurant across the street, I’m okay.”
He said it’s long been his hope that the corner at East Marshall and North Second streets would become a dining destination.
Ng said he paid $85,000 for the property at 325 N. Second St. almost eight years ago and has put $150,000 into it. The news that more than 200 apartments are planned for the nearby Central National Bank building renewed his confidence in Jackson Ward.
For now, the eateries planned for and already open on North Second serve lunch only. Ng, who started Thai Cabin with food carts downtown in 2000, said he is hoping to begin dinner service at Thai Corner in 2014.