Eatery boom near Beauty World station with Downtown Line 2

Customers at Joo Seng Teochew Porridge and Rice in Cheong Chin Nam Road on Monday evening. Since Downtown Line 2 opened late last month, business has improved for the row of eateries in Cheong Chin Nam Road (above) across the road from Beauty World C
Since Downtown Line 2 opened late last month, business has improved for the row of eateries in Cheong Chin Nam Road (above) across the road from Beauty World Centre. They had been affected during the six years that the new line was being built, with two eateries forced to close in that time.ST PHOTOS: LIM SIN THAI
Customers at Joo Seng Teochew Porridge and Rice in Cheong Chin Nam Road on Monday evening. Since Downtown Line 2 opened late last month, business has improved for the row of eateries in Cheong Chin Nam Road (above) across the road from Beauty World C
Customers at Joo Seng Teochew Porridge and Rice in Cheong Chin Nam Road on Monday evening.ST PHOTOS: LIM SIN THAI

Passengers flocking to restaurants near new Beauty World station, hawker centre at mall

Hungry passengers on Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) are flocking to eateries near the new Beauty World station and breathing new life into the 32-year-old mall it is named after.

Hawkers are reporting that since the stop opened on Dec 27, there have been so many customers at the mall's fourth-floor hawker centre that, on occasion, cleaners have not had time to wipe the tables.

They estimate that on weekends, there are 40 per cent more customers than there were before the MRT line opened.

 

Restaurants in Cheong Chin Nam Road also said they are packed on those days.

"Business is a lot better than it was before Downtown Line 2 opened, although there are always more people during the Chinese New Year period," said Mr Lai Chong Lee, 70, who owns Beauty World Niang Re Gao, which sells snacks, cakes and CNY goodies.

Mr Lai, a trustee of the food centre, said it struggled to cope during the first six days of the MRT line's opening, when train services were running for free.

Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao even ran pictures of dishes strewn across the floor.

Madam Chua Yow Ngoo, 62, who runs the Jia Jia Shu Shi stall selling fried Hokkien noodles, said in Mandarin: "There were just too many people. And look at the cleaners, many of them are old. They cannot cope with the crowd."

Hawkers said the weekday crowd has also improved, especially during lunchtime, when they see 20 per cent more customers than before the train line opened.

Some customers come from as far away as Aljunied, said Mr Lai.

Mr Kartick Saii, 23, a security officer at the mall, recounted how a man came in for the first time in a decade looking for the Indian barbershop he used to frequent. "The new train line is bringing back many old shoppers from when Beauty World used to be popular."

Across the road, business has also improved for the row of eateries in Cheong Chin Nam Road after taking a hit during the six years that the new line was being built. Two eateries were forced to close in that time.

"We definitely see more people now, even outside of the usual lunch and dinner crowds," said Mr Hafiq Khan, a 22-year-old cashier at Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant.

Mr Elwyn Chan, 34, owner of the 70-seat Stirling Bar and Grill, has also experienced large crowds on weekends. "It's not just us, all the restaurants have full houses on the weekends," he said, adding that long queues can be seen stretching out of the restaurants on weekend evenings.

Graphic designer Farhan Hassan, 33, a regular customer of Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant, said: "It's so convenient to get here now. There's no reason to drive there any more."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline 'Eatery boom with Downtown Line 2'. Print Edition | Subscribe