It's been some time since a major construction project has taken place in the tornado zone along South Main Street. That is about to change in a big way.

Braum's is ready to begin construction of a new restaurant at the northwest corner of 26th and Main streets, according to Helen Pacione, director of real estate for Braum's.

The company in January filed for a permit from the city to build an $800,000 structure at the site. The tract has been empty since the 2011 tornado.

The city has had the plans for the restaurant for some time. The company closed on the property in October 2016, but no construction date was set at that time.

Braum's plans to construct its "XL'' model at the site. The 5,862-square-foot brick building will have double drive-thru windows and a dining room that can seat about 75 to 80 people. An outdoor dining area will be on the south side of the building. The new store also will have a large Fresh Market area with more than 100 fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

Braum's restaurants specialize in hamburgers and sandwiches as well as frozen yogurt and ice cream. The store will be the third in the area, joining two on Range Line Road. Braum's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Braum’s has stores in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.

Most of the food products sold at Braum's are processed or manufactured directly by the company. The company does not operate stores outside of a 300-mile radius of its home farm in Tuttle, Oklahoma. Bill and Mary Braum opened their first Braum’s store in 1968. The company is still family-owned and -operated.

I have been told that some power lines on the property need to be relocated before construction can begin.

Coffee shop opens

The 7 Brew Drive-Thru Coffee Shop, which recently opened at 3347 S. Range Line Road, is seeing brisk business.

I visited the shop on Tuesday between last week's winter storms. I was surprised to see a line of vehicles in the drive-thru. A young fellow came out into the bitter cold and took my order so it would be ready when I pulled up to the window. I ordered a small green tea latte, a concoction that I would normally order at Starbucks. It cost $2.45 with tax.

When I arrived at the window, my drink was not quite ready. In fact, there was a bit of discussion among the workers inside about what I had ordered. Did I want a shot of espresso with that? Did I want it sweetened? I just told them I wanted a green tea latte. They figured it out. Because of the delay, they gave me a card for a free drink in connection with my next visit. Nice touch.

The green tea latte was not quite what I was expecting. It was still good but different. The main thing was that it was hot. With the mercury at 12 degrees outside, it was perfect.

The shop offers an espresso that is derived from a three-bean blend that is made specifically for the company. The shop offers decaffeinated versions, chai teas, blended drinks, smoothies and shakes, among other things. Ask for a paper copy of the menu to take home with you. This place offers a lot more than you might think.

7 Brew opened its first shop in February 2017 at Rogers, Arkansas. There are now eight storefronts in that region. The Joplin store is the first to be built outside of Arkansas.

Easy peasy

When I heard that Walmart would be offering the COVID-19 vaccine, I sprang into action — well, as best as I can at age 68. I went to on Feb. 13, answered some online questions and booked an appointment. Four days later, I was sitting for my first dose of the Moderna vaccine in a little cubicle in the Walmart Neighborhood Market pharmacy at 26th Street and Maiden Lane.

I am familiar with this cubicle, having previously received a single dose of the pneumonia vaccine and two doses of the shingles vaccine there. The folks at this pharmacy are pretty good about giving shots.

No complaints here. I joked that with all of these vaccines of late I was beginning to feel like a dog going to the vet.

I was touched when I saw a young woman there who had brought two older people for their early morning appointments for the vaccine. The temperatures outside were in the teens, and several inches of new snow had fallen. No one in the group I saw that morning was going to be deterred from getting their shots. In fact, I was prepared to walk miles in the snow — uphill both ways — to get my shot.

A fellow in our group who had taken off work to get his shot was so disappointed when he learned he had not fully completed the appointment online. He had the time and place, but they didn't. Make sure you hit that last prompt online to seal the deal. The folks at the pharmacy said: "No problem.'' They took care of him. You could not have asked for better service.

Talk about psychological relief. You could see it on the face of every single person who got their shot that morning. I felt relief, too, but I also felt some guilt. I would have much rather seen a teacher get a shot before me.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 417-623-3480, ext. 7250, or send an email to

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