The owner of the popular Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop in the Crossroads is hoping to open a new restaurant at 47th and Belinder in Westwood.
Malisa Monyakula received approval of a preliminary site plan from the Westwood Planning Commission Monday for Lulu’s Asian Bistro, which would occupy the building on 47th Street that now houses Charlie Williams Import Car repair shop.
Monyakula, who has lived in Westwood for several years, told the commission that the menu at the new 82-seat restaurant would reflect all southeast Asia. She started Lulu’s in Lawrence in 1997, she said, moved to the Crossroads in 2000 and then doubled the size in the Crossroads in 2010.
Included in the plan drawings are a future patio for outdoor dining on the west side of the building and a children’s play area. Monyakula said she hopes the new restaurant will be a walkable place for families. Among other future plans are to put an herb garden on the northeast corner of the property. A detached residence on the property that is west of the car repair shop could become a coffee shop in a future phase, she said.
The property was a gas station for years before it became an auto repair shop. It has passed an environmental review. The current entrance off 47th Street would be closed under the plan and parking would be expanded in the rear where a detached storage building would be removed.
The proposal still faces budget challenges to become a reality, Monyakula told the commission. Original construction bids were over budget, she said, but they included items which have been scaled back and she is working with a kitchen consultant. She has not yet closed on the property, so the restaurant plan could still be scuttled if renovation is too costly.
Plan commission members were enthusiastic about the proposal, but noted some issues on curbs, lighting and roof screening that need more detail in a final plan.