Even if you aren’t as navigationally challenged as I am, Oakley Station is a bit of a temporary labyrinth.
I say “temporary” because Oakley Station is new, and not everyone has familiarized themselves with it yet. That will change over time, and perhaps in some glorious future, I’ll stop being so bumfuzzled by the roads.
Still, my bumfuzzlement persisted as I spent an afternoon there, and now I’ve decided to tell you about it, just in case you're ever stranded on Marburg and need a bite... or a haircut.
A SMIDGEN OF HISTORY
In 2001, plans surfaced to transform the old Milacron factory into a 74-acre mixed-use development. At the time, the Planning Department explicitly recommended against “piecemeal strip-like retail development” and “islands of box-like structures in a sea of asphalt parking lots.”
That plan obviously fizzled, and the $120-million-dollar plan that took its place broke ground in 2013. Years later, it's finally starting to come together.
Cinemark and Kroger, basically. But these are different beasts. The Kroger Marketplace is the largest such store the company has ever built at more than 145,000 square feet.
The Cinemark, meanwhile, is a “NextGen” theater which uses 4K Barco DLP projectors, RealD 3D, 7.1 JBL sound systems, and beer you can drink during the movie.
Then, there's the non-anchor tenants: The Tile Shop, Pet Supplies Plus, Bear Paddle Swim School, Ambiance Nail Salon, and Orange Theory Fitness. Suffice to say, Oakley Station isn't just an entertainment/food destination. Then again, if food is more your thing...
EATS N’ DRANK
I’ll first direct you to The Casual Pint, which specializes in craft beer. You can get it by the pint (duh), by the growler, or by the six-pack.
Then head to Bar Louie. It has a good burger & fries and a solid happy hour – $3.25 draughts, $4.25 wines, and half-price apps n’ flatbreads. (Wait, flatbreads aren’t apps?)
Ladles’ Oakley Station location is the fast casual restaurant’s first outside South Carolina. Although not overly large, Ladles dishes out the flavor in its soups, and salads, and sandwiches. They allow samples, which you should take advantage of.
A Forkable Feast has an interesting name. It's also awesome. Have lunch at the cafe where they serve pizza, sandwiches, salads, and more. Or grab a to-go gourmet meal that you can take home and pop in the oven for the fam. This is Oakley Station's secret and most delicious weapon.
We continue our fast-casual trend with MOD Pizza, a chain that specializes in individual pizzas but excels in the milkshake game. That is to say, they have milkshakes, which is good enough by itself. Get the Caspian with a vanilla shake and die happy.
...But not before you get to the last stop on our restaurant safari: Wild Eggs. It’s a breakfast place that has some of the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had. Perfect for when the line outside the Sleepy Bee reaches “outside-the-Louvre-in-June” levels. (So, basically every weekend.)
The Boulevard apartments were completed in 2013, and once the 300+ units hit the market, they were among the hottest living options in the area. That’s due to the pool and deck, fitness center, fire pit, bocce ball court, game room, and 8,000 square feet of indoor common space. (A second phase that will add 160+ units was proposed in 2015 and its construction is ongoing.)
Okay, this isn’t technically in Oakley Station, but MadTree Brewing’s new location is opening right across the street in February. So you’ll always be well-lubricated in the event of a grocery-shopping or movie-going emergency.
Aaaaaaaaaand, that’s all folks. We could go into the Anthem deal and a few other things, but I suspect they wouldn’t interest you. Besides, I ran out of space up near Ladles, so...
- - -
What do you want to see at Oakley Station? Let us know in the comments.