JOPLIN, Mo. — If some of your favorite restaurants don’t already have a location in Joplin, it may just be a matter of time. Possible plans to build a What-A-Burger between The Big Nickel, and Enterprise Car Rental near 20th and Rangeline go before the Joplin Zoning and Planning Commission next week.

Construction is already underway on what will be a new KFC next to the Walmart Supercenter on West 7th Street. It’s set to open before Thanksgiving.

And if anything, Erin Slifka says that trend will continue as long as the population continues to grow.

“As we continue to expand and um see growth in our business community, we’ll begin to see those um brands that everyone enjoys that’s part of their lifestyle,” said Erin Slifka, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to those newcomers — other existing eateries are headed to new locations. Maria’s Mexican Grill and Cantina is going into the old Pacific Rim building off South Rangeline because it’s bigger. Panera Bread is relocating to 20th and Rangeline because its current location doesn’t have a drive-thru.

New restaurants coming into Joplin, and those already here moving to larger locations says something about the local economy.

“It’s a benefit to continue to keep people here, that contributes to the tax base, and by contributing to that tax base that improves our infrastructure so it goes full circle,” said Slifka.

And, by having many of the most popular fast food chains in Joplin, visitors traveling north and south as well as east and west on area highways are more likely to stop here to eat, instead of just driving through.