From Ming to King: Longtime Chinese restaurant to be replaced by Burger King
A longtime Cottonwood restaurant has closed — but its building won’t be empty for long.
Ming House, a Chinese restaurant that had been a fixture on South Main Street for many years, closed in mid-August. The owner has sold the building, and it is in escrow now, with a Phoenix-area development company planning to replace the building with a Burger King restaurant with a drive-through.
“Nothing has been formally submitted yet,” said Jim Padgett, a planner with the City of Cottonwood. “One of the first steps would be code review.”
Laird Management, LLC, is the franchise firm working on the planning stages for the store. According to the website, lairdmgt.com, the family owned company that manages and operates more than 30 Burger King restaurants statewide, Laird Management’s founder, Mitchell C. Laird, is a practicing attorney with 40 years in that business, along with 20 years’ experience as a Burger King franchisee.
Michael Laird later purchased the company from his father. Laird Management has more than 600 employees.
The owner of Ming House couldn’t be reached as of this writing.
Susan Esgar, a legal assistant for Laird Management, LLC, told the Verde Independent that the new Burger King likely will be completed sometime in 2020, provided it clears all the necessary planning, review and approval stages.
“The owner will be making a substantial investment in the property,” Esgar said. “He will be working with ADOT and the city to ensure appropriate traffic flow. We are still in the planning stages, but the site will be significantly reconfigured.”
Esgar said Michael Laird is a U.S. Army veteran and a second-generation Arizona Burger King franchisee. She said he also involved with the Anytime Fitness that is planned for the intersection of South Main and Cherry streets.
This will not be the first time a Burger King has been established in Cottonwood. The restaurant will be close to other burger chain stores that offer similar food, in addition to other fast-food and other eating establishments.
Esgar said Michael Laird is confident his store will be successful.
“The owner believes that the time is right for Cottonwood to have a Burger King restaurant,” Esgar said. “We may be biased, but we do not believe other chains match Burger King’s combination of quality and value. We know that some Cottonwood residents currently travel all the way to Camp Verde to enjoy Burger King fare.”