Just a few steel beams remain of Boulevard Mall’s food court as demolition crews make way for a new Dick’s Sporting Goods store to take its place this fall.
Inside, two restaurants that once occupied the food court are waiting for permit approvals from the town before they begin divvying up the former Honey’s location to start their respective remodeling projects to relocate there. The owners of Cajun Quarters, a popular fast casual restaurant serving Asian cuisine, will occupy half of the space. It will reopen under the banner “Taste of China.” The Subway restaurant will relocate in the other half of the former Honey’s.
A new children’s play area has been installed in a corridor at the mall’s north end outside J. C. Penney Co., replacing one that had lost sponsorship in the food court. A carousel, which was operated by a third-party tenant, will not return.
The 55,000-square-foot, full-service Dick’s Sporting Goods will jut out from the rear of the mall, with its main entrance facing Macy’s. Once constructed, it will form a sort of cul-de-sac of stores including H&M. The current Dick’s location just north of the mall on Meyer Road will close.
The 38,000-square-foot food court was built in 1994 and quickly became a favored destination for shoppers and families. Many of the mall’s customers have expressed their displeasure with the mall’s decision to get rid of it, and Boulevard’s social media channels have been flooded with negative comments about the change.
Mall officials said they made the decision that would best strengthen the mall and give it longevity in the market.
“We’ve had both positive and negative feedback,” said Brian Calvert, the mall’s general manager.
Mall food courts have been shrinking across Western New York and the country for several years. Walden Galleria’s food court is half its original size. Eastern Hills Mall’s food court has gone from 12 restaurants to seven.