LAYTON -- One of Layton's more visible vacant commercial buildings is being renovated in preparation for a Chinese buffet-style restaurant to move in.
Hibachi Grill Buffet, owned by Ivan Foo, will occupy the north side of the building that formerly served as home to the Hometown Buffet restaurant at 1120 N. Main St.
Foo said his restaurant, to open in mid-February, will feature about 100 buffet menu items.
The new restaurant will employ between eight to 10 workers and feature Chinese, hibachi grill, sushi and buffet dining, said Layton Economic Specialist Kent G. Andersen.
"Layton city is excited about the new Hibachi Grill Buffet. We believe that Layton's Main Street has a lot to offer to patrons, and this investment by (the restaurant owners) helps to promote positive commercial activity in the area," Andersen said of the new business to fill about 3,300 square feet of the 5,500-square-foot structure.
Because the former dine-in restaurant consisted of such a large space, he said, the new owners are in the process of renovating the building to allow them to occupy only a portion of it.
But city leaders are just glad to have the tenant and the activity the business will bring to that area of the city.
The restaurant building has sat empty for a few years, Andersen said, sticking out like a "sore thumb" along the city's Main Street.
The empty restaurant had become an eyesore for the area because the building fronts property occupied by other successful commercial businesses in the city, officials said.
"We're wanting to see Main Street improve," Andersen said, and having a business move into that building is going to improve the overall aesthetics of that area.
"I am pleased to see there is activity there," in a piece of property that has sat vacant for a few years, said Layton Mayor Steve Curtis.
"(It) was an unsightly piece of property for a while."
Having another new business open also continues to show the "vibrancy" of Layton city, Curtis said.
Foo said he also owns a restaurant under a different name in the Ogden area.