by Samantha Lund, News Editor and Steven McGrain, Guest Writer
Less than a block away on Garfield street, M&J’s Spirits and Eatery is joining the Pacific Lutheran University community and hopes to be a campus favorite starting in 2015.
After four years, $45,000 of debt and countless beers served to students, The Last Exit has shut down and made room for a new restaurant on Garfield.
The owner of The Last Exit owed $45,000 to the owner of the complex on Garfield Street. It is also widely known that the owner served alcohol to minors and since then has been forced out of the complex. According to the new owner, the former Last Exit owner fled to Canada and will not be allowed to come back into the United States because that is when the statute of limitations runs out for hid debt.
With The Last Exit owner fleeing the scene, Marco Gonzalez opened a hookah lounge in its place. His intention was to mainly target PLU students, but the turnout was a completely different demographic that Gonzalez was not proud of.
“I was blinded by the $2,000 in revenue brought in on a Friday and Saturday night that I did not stop the issue, when it was presented,” Hernandez said.
The Director of Campus Safety, Greg Premo, told Gonzalez there were issues regarding the kind of people the hookah lounge was attracting. Premo was concerned about the students’ safety on campus with the lounge being so close.
After the meeting, Gonzalez raised his price of entry from $5 to $17 but it didn’t stop bad publicity campus wide. Gonzalez chose to close his doors but retain the space with the hopes of starting something new.
With two small businesses failing in that location in the past three years, Gonzalez has set his sights on bringing a fresh new look to the space on Garfield Street. Gonzalez said his intentions are to have involvement with PLU students because the revenue that could come from students would be monetarily good.
This time, his attempt is M&J Spirits and Eatery, a restaurant and bar with a “family feel.” Gonzalez hopes the restaurant will thrive in the location.
“I want it to be able to be a place that Lutes want to go to,” Gonzalez said. “Since I am close to campus, it will be safe for them to get home. I am hopefully here to stay.”
The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and the bar will open at night. Hernandez is also installing a mechanical bull that he thinks will bring many students in.
Construction is still underway. Gonzalez is still installing outlets and trying to install a working Xbox for customers to enjoy.
If all goes as planned, M&J’s should be open by January, just in time for students to get back from winter break.