Soon after , mysterious signs appeared on the building that read ""
Specualtions, for what would move in ranged from Outback, to Souplantation to a movie theater (like that would fit in there).
The thing is, Santee may not have known it was waiting for this, but Landre Malone is sure they are.
"I've always known I've wanted to open a sports bar and grill, and Santee needs something like this," said Malone, the new business operator in the old Panda Garden space.
To be completely accurate the banner should probably have read "Landre Malone has been waiting for this ..." because he is downright giddy about this project and has been planning it to some degree for about 10 years.
OK, so maybe all of Santee hasn't been waiting for this, but he deeply identifies himself and his family with Santee, and when you hear him talk about the plans, well, let's just say he's convincing.
Malone, whose favorite sport is baseball (can you tell by the logo?), is excited by the attention the banner has drawn to the building and the new business that is coming in. And so he wanted to give Santee a preview of what's in store.
Malone described the project, Landre's Sports Bar & Grill, as a family-oriented bar and restaurant where you can bring the wife and kids to have dinner but also to watch the game on Sunday.
He said the place will be decorated to the nines: lockers, cleats, Qualcomm seats, sports memorabilia—you get the picture. He also said that they will emphasize the local high school sports teams and colors.
"I think Santee needs more places where teams can come to eat and have fun after a game, and Landre's can be that, especially because it's close to ."
There are three distinct aspects of the new business: the bar, restaurant and arcade areas.
The "Penalty Box," an area separate from the bar and restaurant, will be just for kids and include an arcade with all sorts of entertainment.
Contractors are currently remodeling the space and Malone is interviewing chefs. He is aware that the quality of the food is key.
Tables will have sports cards embedded in them and are being created by a local soccer coach (see media box for photo).
"Want to give back to the community," said Malone. "We're keeping it local."
His wife has lived in Santee most of her life, and he's spent a decade here and isn't planning on going anywhere anytime soon.
Landre's is shooting for a full liquor license, has already been picked in the ABC lotto, and is now going through the approval process. They plan on having liquor, bottled beer and eight taps. Malone said he is fully expecting a fight against the liquor license.
"I have been told there is a group in Santee that protests every new liquor license in town. So we're ready for that."
Malone said he's not looking for the sports bar to be a late night place; weekday hours would likely be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., opening up earlier on the weekends for breakfast.
Malone plans on opening at the end of April or beginning of May.
He said he doesn't think there needs to be fighting among the bars and restaurants in Santee; each one serves its purpose and there is a space open for his project.
Malone hopes Landre's will become a Santee institution, something he, his family and the community will be involved with many years in the future.