Oakhurst resident Tim Madden says, "I'm excited that there's a new business coming in to town -- a little sad the old owners are going away. They've been part of the community forever."
Officials with the Madera County Economic Development Commission are glad the building won't be closed for long and that Denny's plans to employ about 50 people. It will be the community's first national chain restaurant that's not fast food.
Bobby Kahn, the Executive Director of the Madera County Economic Development Commission says, "It's also going to bring a new element that they don't have as well as it's a 24 hour. They don't have any restaurants that stay open 24 hours, so that's going to be new. It's going to be interesting to watch to see how and hopefully it's very successful for them."
The owners of another new restaurant are also bringing something different to the community. Casey and Lindsay Hawkins are opening Oakhurst's first micro brewery and brew pub in this former car dealership building off Highway 49.
Lindsay Hawkins, owner of South Gate Brewing Company says, "We do plan to have amazing craft beer, exceptional food, and we believe that if we build it, they'll come."
The couple is planning to post hiring information on the South Gate Brewing Company Facebook page -- and is counting on residents and tourists to make the venture a success.
Casey Hawkins says, "We definitely have concerns about the economy, but I think they get overruled by the growth of the craft beer industry in and of itself and being so close to the park and having the amount of people come through here yearly, it kind of eases those concerns a bit."
The new Denny's is planning to open in May, and the South Gate Brewing Company is set to open in April or May.