Expect announcements at any time with regard to some big changes that are in the works for the east side of the 3000 block of South Range Line Road.

The internet has been buzzing of late with all sorts of speculation about the future of Derailed Commodity and its motel neighbor to the south. Some of it is correct; some of it is not. Most of it cannot be confirmed at this time because of pending contracts.

We do know one thing: Derailed Commodity will continue to have a presence in Joplin.

“No matter what happens, we are not leaving Joplin,” said Keith Smith, president of HMS Enterprises, of Girard, Kansas, the parent company of Derailed Commodity. “Joplin has been a really good market for us and for a long time.”

In response to the internet buzz, the Joplin store posted this statement on its Facebook page:

“Exciting things are on the horizon. Derailed Commodity was established over 53 years ago, and we plan to continue to serve our Joplin-area customers for many years to come. We are currently in negotiations with a developer, and hope to be moving to a larger facility and be bigger and better than ever. This move will enable us to have both the flooring and the furniture showrooms under one roof.

“Negotiations for a developer to purchase our existing property have been in the works for many months. Regardless of the outcome, we will remain in Joplin to serve our customers.”

The company, which specializes in carpet, floor coverings and furniture, opened its first storefront in Joplin in the early 1970s.

It now operates 15 stores, Smith said in a telephone interview last week.

This development, of course, raises the question: What’s coming to the east side of the 3000 block of South Range Line? Stay tuned because if the rumors are true, it will be fantastic news for Joplin.

Restaurant opens

Beast and Barrel opened on Feb. 10 in the former Infuxion bar and restaurant at 530 S. Main St. The opening got off to a slippery start because of a severe winter storm, but that gave the owners, Suzanne Miller and Brian Cole, an opportunity to work out some kinks and perfect the menu.

Miller has had a long association with two Joplin restaurants, Instant Karma and The Eagle Drive-In. She wants to create a place where people can gather for good food.

“I love being part of the downtown. I want this to be a place where people can come together in a friendly atmosphere and enjoy themselves,’’ she said.

Miller said the menu is evolving and that items will be added and deleted, and she appreciates feedback.

I visited the restaurant for the first time with some friends on Feb. 20. The tables are set up to promote social distancing. A party of four, as an example, can have their own private bubble.

We ordered several things from the menu to sample what was being offered. For appetizers, we had the blistered shishito peppers; the Brussels sprouts with bacon, balsamic and blue cheese; and the chickpeas. The peppers and Brussels sprouts got two thumbs up. The chickpeas not so much.

From the small plates, we ordered the tomato curry meatballs, the fried chicken sandwich and the classic Italian club. My sandwich came with two thin pieces of chicken with all of the trimmings on a brioche-like bun. The crust on the chicken was perfect.

With the desserts, we ordered the creme brulee, the deep-fried bread pudding and the mango cake. They were all tasty, but the mango cake with coconut-cherry sauce was outstanding.

Hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Virtual Artwalk resumes

The First Thursday Artwalk, now in its 14th year, will take place online starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. To see the artists and musicians, and view their work, visit the art walk’s Facebook page at firstthursdayartwalkjoplin.

The art walk on April 1 also will be virtual. The organizers hope to return to the original format of art and music in downtown restaurants and storefronts with the art walk in May and continue with that format through October. About a dozen downtown businesses are providing the artists with wall space this month.

On tap for Thursday’s virtual tour will be music by the Ozark Bards and Dwayne and Barbara Smith, photography by Shawn Riley, jewelry by Kristin Girard, and art by Donna Roberts, Barbara Hicklin and Paula Giltner at Local Color Art Gallery.

Also on tap will be painter Nicole Garner at Club 609, painter Deborah Reed at Beast and Barrel, music by Dawn Sticklen, artist Holly Gomez at Urban Art Gallery, photographer Sarah Clements at Joplin Avenue Coffee Co., Andrew Batcheller at Chaos Brewery, and photographer Koral Martin.

The main gallery at Spiva Center for the Arts will feature “Route 66: Crossing Cultural Lines.” Also featured will be “Journey Of East Town” and “Through the Mind’s Eye.”

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 wkennedy@joplinglobe.com.

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