AMANDA ROGERS, Mansfield News Mirror

New businesses that have been cooking for months are starting to be served up in Mansfield. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand for space in Mansfield,” said Scott Welmaker, the city’s economic director. “Restaurants and stores are dying to be in Mansfield.”

Assistant economics director Richard Nevins agreed. “It’s a great time in all sectors, residential, medical offices, retail and industrial,” he said.

Smokey MAE’s pit barbecue had a sizzling opening day Saturday, with people lined up around the building at 8120 Rendon Bloodworth Road. And Soulman’s Bar-B-Que won’t be far behind. The north and east Texas chain restaurant is expected to open in June inside a converted Pizza Hut at 1223 FM 157 North.

Smoothie King, 1520 E. Debbie Lane Suite 104, is already open, and nearby Bahama Buck’s, 1571 E. Debbie Lane Suite 101, should be opening soon, Welmaker said. Dirt should start moving soon on construction of the Mi Cocina Tex-Mex restaurant in front on Sprouts Farmers Market, 1550 E. Debbie Lane.

Jakes Uptown hamburgers and Slim Chickens, on East Broad Street just east of Texas 360, are waiting for construction on the East Broad Street bridge to be completed before opening, Welmaker said. He expects both to be open this summer.

Workers are busy building Twisted Root Burger Co. and Quincy’s Chicken Shack on South Main Street. The restaurants are expected to be open by fall, Nevins said.

Just down the street, Dirty Jobs Brewing, 117 N. Main St., has been renovating and owners hope to be open by the first of June, Welmaker said.

Things will be getting sweeter across town with the June opening of Hershey’s Ice Cream, 1103 Alexis Court Suite 105. The sweet shop, just east of Fire Station No. 2, will serve dipped ice cream, milkshakes, malts and sundaes.

Crafters will be excited for the long-awaiting opening of Hobby Lobby, 120 S. U.S. 287, next to Kohl’s, on May 22.

Across U.S. 287, the walls of the Mansfield Dr Pepper StarCenter, 1715 E. Broad St., are going up fast. Opening of the ice arena is set for Oct. 1. Things aren’t moving as quickly on the adjacent Shops at Broad shopping center. “We are not aware of any commitments from any specific stores at this time,” Nevins said.

Grocery stores are flocking to the city. Market Street grocery hopes to be open this time next year, just east of Mansfield High School, 3001 E. Broad St. The Market Street shopping center will also feature retail stores and sit-down restaurants.

Just east of that, at East Broad and Texas 360, Natural Grocery is ready to start building and could be open in a year, Welmaker said.

Construction of a Mansfield H-E-B grocery could get started next year and open as soon as 2019, he said.