Ward Parkway Shopping Center’s South End features outdoor music, fountains, bonfire and jobs

Billed as a perfect date night destination, the South End Restaurant Pavilion at Ward Parkway gets started with outdoor music and grilled burgers.

Ward Parkway south end

The South End Restaurant Pavilion at Ward Parkway Shopping Center is ready to go except for one thing–lack of employees. Photo by Jill Draper.


Ward Parkway Shopping Center opens newly constructed South End Restaurant Pavilion

Restaurants and mall still in need of employees

By Jill Draper

As October rolls in, the Ward Parkway Shopping Center is offering new places to eat at, live outdoor music to enjoy and fire pits to warm the brisk autumn air.

Opening dates for three restaurants and a full lineup of free patio concerts have been announced for the $16 million courtyard development that has been under construction at the south end of the shopping center for the past 18 months.


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Doors open on Oct. 9 for Smitty’s Garage and early November for MidiCi Pizza. Smitty’s, which specializes in burgers and beers, features an extensive craft beer list, fresh-cut fries, and burgers ranging from bison to turkey to Angus beef.

MidiCi offers authentic Neapolitan pizza, appetizers, salads and gelato. The pizza is assembled and baked in an open kitchen in wood-fired ovens.


A third restaurant, Charleston’s, will open on Oct. 23. Its menu focuses on traditional American classics prepared daily from scratch.

The shopping center will celebrate these new businesses with a ribbon cutting on Oct. 26. Two additional restaurants are planned, with announcements expected later in the year.

Employees are needed for all the new restaurants. There also are security positions and ongoing job openings at the shopping center’s established businesses. To speed up the hiring process, job fairs are scheduled inside the center next to the AMC Box Office on Saturday, Oct. 7 The Saturday, Oct. 14 job fair has been canceled. Job seekers will have the opportunity to interview for several positions during the afternoon and meet the people making decisions. More information is at wardparkwaycenter.com/about/employment.


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The courtyard project has been named the South End Restaurant Pavilion, and is being managed by Legacy Development. Dave Claflin, who handles their marketing, describes the shopping center’s new addition as a perfect date night destination. The development’s 22,235-square-foot patio space is covered by a sunshade and will be decorated with water features and sculptures. A lighting ceremony for a 30-foot Christmas tree is slated for Nov. 17.

A walkway connects the upper level of the shopping center to the new restaurants.  Photo by Bill Rankin.

Located where the former Dillard’s Department Store and parking lot once stood, the restaurant pavilion is just east of State Line Road at 8600 Ward Parkway. The project includes the addition of a ring road to the center that allows shoppers to drive around the entire mall without leaving the property. It also includes a walkway from the upper level to the new restaurants. Surface parking is available and valet parking will be another option.


Here’s the October schedule for the outdoor stage:

Oct. 13 – Roger Wilder Duo – Jazz

Oct. 14 – Rick Bacus – Classic Rock

Oct. 20 – Jonathan Ramsey – Irish

Oct. 21 – Casey Brett – Country

Oct. 27 – Rick Bacus – Classic Rock

Oct. 28 – Valentine & EuDaly – Classic Rock

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