Last updated: August 24. 2013 11:13PM - 233 Views

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LIMA — One of the city’s popular east side restaurants has a new look and a new menu.

The Harding Highway Red Lobster is remodeled with the restaurant’s chain new look, inspired by the New England coast, company officials said. Also, the chain, with 700 restaurants across the country, has a new menu, with more choices beyond shellfish and lower price points.

“Now guests can see and taste what’s different at Red Lobster. We are proud to be part of the Lima community, and while guests have been enjoying our delicious seafood for years, they expressed a desire for an updated atmosphere and menu and we’re excited to offer that to them,” said Marty Gruetzmacher, Red Lobster’s senior vice president of operations.

The new restaurant design was developed by an internal team of architects and designers, and was selected after a multi-year process that included guest focus groups, surveys and market testing. The Lima location was remodeled using the new design.

The new exterior features a stone tower, similar to the architecture used throughout New England, ship lanterns to welcome guests in after dark and Adirondack-style chairs to encourage guest conversation and mingling outside. Interiors now feature expanded seating for large parties, LED lighting, additional energy-saving upgrades and nautical décor such as signal flags and seaside-inspired artwork to create an inviting atmosphere for guests, according to the company.

As part of the restaurant’s commitment to the community, Red Lobster donated its old furnishings from remodeled restaurants to local Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets, which sell items to the general public to raise funds for constructing homes in their communities for families in need. This is part of a larger partnership between Red Lobster’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, and Habitat for Humanity International.

The new menu offers more items with price points at and below $15. It also increases the number of non-seafood selections. Additionally, the menu offers lighter-style options and more fish and shrimp entrees.

Also happening on the biz beat:

Midwest Electric to pay $1.4 million to members

ST. MARYS — Midwest Electric this month is distributing more than $1.4 million in patronage capital payments to 7,319 current and former members. Eligible electric cooperative members will receive the refund either as a credit on their electric bill, mailed around Nov. 23, or as a separate check in December.

Patronage capital is the cooperative’s margins, or money left after all bills have been paid. Midwest Electric uses these margins for capital investments, such as building or replacing power lines, transformers and other electric system investment.

After being used as working capital, the money is returned to members as patronage capital refunds. It represents each co-op member’s ownership — or equity — in their cooperative. Patronage capital is allocated to members in proportion to the dollar amount of electricity used.

This month’s payment will be to those who used Midwest Electric service in 1996 and 1997. It represents a half-year of margins from 1997 and the final half-year from 1996. A typical residential customer averaging 1,300 kWh per month those years will receive a payment of about $162. Current Midwest Electric members who are receiving a patronage payment can view their individual patronage capital account online at www.midwestrec.com.

Since 1955, Midwest Electric has returned more than $24 million in patronage capital to its members.

Chamber sets holiday events

LIMA — The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce plans two holiday-related events, its quarterly Women in Business Luncheon and the second annual Tree-mendous Holiday Hoopla.

The Hoopla is from 7 to 11 p.m. Nov. 17 at The Windows on the Square and The City Club, 7 Town Square. Tickets are $50, available at the chamber. For details visit www.holidayhoopla.com. The black-tie optional event will include Christmas trees and wreaths available for purchase, live entertainment, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. The event benefits the Lima Area Chamber Foundation and the financing of the new building.

The Women in Business luncheon is from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 6 at The City Club.

“A Pintrest Christmas” will feature a program on Pintrest, “simply extravagant” holiday goodies and holiday food and wine pairing. Also, the Chamber Christmas Shoppe will be set up before and after the program. Booths are available for the event. Tickets are $25 for chamber members and $40 for nonmembers.

Call 419-222-6045 for information about either event.

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